The WSB-TV news site is having problems, so we’re providing a transcript of the segment, with interviews with Katherine Bryant and Vanessa Siddle Walker.
ATLANTA — Emory University is facing growing criticism from faculty and students after program cuts that critics believe disproportionately impact minority students.
“If you take the cuts together, we are losing about a quarter of the diversity of the faculty and staff that are here at Emory, and we think that is a pretty serious loss,” said opponent Katherine Bryant.
Bryant is an organizer of the Student Re-visioning Committee, which is dedicated to reversing the cuts. The group has held protests and launched campaigns against the cuts online and using social media.
In September, Dean Robin Forman announced the closure of several programs at the school, including the Division of Educational Studies, the Department of Visual Arts, and the journalism program. As a result, about 42 faculty and staff members will either lose their jobs or not have their contracts renewed, according to university officials.
Critics said some of the departments were particularly important for minorities at the school.
“The Division of Educational Studies has been a mechanism for attracting, retaining, graduating and placing scholars of color and women,” professor Vanessa Siddle Walker told Channel 2’s Rachel Stockman.
In fact, the Division of Educational Studies, which will soon be phased out, has been the top producer of African-American PhDs in the nation for the last 20 years, according to its director, Robert Jensen.
Channel 2’s request for an interview with the dean was declined, but university spokeswoman Nancy Seideman said, “Changes brought about by the plan in no way affect the university’s historical and ongoing commitment to diversity and to a shared vision of being an inquiry-driven, ethically engaged and diverse community.”
School leaders said they will now be able to grow other key departments.
“These reductions will allow us to invest in traditional strengths of the arts and sciences at Emory, building and enhancing areas of true eminence,” said Robin Forman, the undergraduate school dean.
The university plans to place a greater emphasis on enhancing programs like digital and new media studies, China studies, and neuroscience.
But Walker, who has been at Emory for 23 years, said she is concerned that administrators are not realizing the importance of educating leaders who are interested in enhancing education in the United States.
“I think by going in this direction, Emory has sacrificed its capacity to lead; that is disappointing,” Walker said.
Some students are vowing to keep fighting and get the cuts reversed.
“I don’t see how they can be committed to diversity when they institute cuts like this,” student Katherine Bryant said.