Press release: Emory Protests Yield Negotiations

Written by the SRC

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

On Tuesday, a coalition of students, faculty, and staff staged a massive walkout on the Emory University campus and successfully occupied the University’s administrative headquarters. That group successfully compelled President James Wagner to begin negotiations to reverse the devastating cuts Dean Robin Forman announced on September 14.

Today, Friday, December 7, formal negotiations begin in earnest. At 5PM, Student Re-Visioning Committee (SRC) representatives, faculty observers, and community stakeholders will sit down with President Wagner, Dean Robin Forman, and Vice President Gary Hauk in the Candler Library building on the main campus. The SRC’s demands remain:

1. A reversal of the cuts.

2. Formal and meaningful student, faculty and staff participation on all key decision making bodies.

3. Full disclosure and investigation of all College Financial Advisory Committee proceedings.

The close attention and supportive presence of the Emory community is vital to ensuring that the administration remains candid and that negotiations proceed in good faith. Emory community members will gather outside the Candler Library on the Quad at 4:45PM to demonstrate their investment in the negotiations, which will last one hour. Any and all attendees will be transparently kept up-to-date of negotiation developments as they happen. Remember: the administration is now willing to discuss a reversal of the cuts, and has pledged to explicitly address our specific questions about governance, cut demographics, and institutional transparency. We are moving forward in good faith – but we need your attention to keep them honest.

A full statement from the SRC regarding its expectations from these meetings is reproduced below and will soon appear in the Wheel.

Follow @EmoryCuts on Twitter for breaking news and updates on the situation. For more information and background on the cuts at Emory, including an archive of links to ongoing media coverage, visit the #EmoryCuts Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/EmoryCuts) and the Stop the Cuts at Emory Blog (https://stopthecutsemory.wordpress.com/).

STATEMENT FROM THE SRC NEGOTIATING TEAM / WHEEL OP-ED

“Dialogue” is over and negotiation has begun. Wagner and Forman have committed to good faith negotiation. They must respond to the powerful message sent by the Emory community with concessions in both policy and process.

We wish to give them a chance to fulfill their promise of genuine negotiation, open-mindedness and willingness for concession. But if these negotiations are not approached in good faith, the Emory community will continue to assert itself.

We insist that Forman’s decisions be subject to appeal. Wagner maintains that “advisory capacity” is all faculty and students can hope for. If “advisory capacity” were sufficient, the Emory community would not have had to occupy the administration building.

In our Tuesday negotiation, Wagner emphasized that Forman has sole authority over the cuts. Even the United States Congress does not have this level of budget authority. Without institutional checks and balances, all student and faculty input is completely toothless. Departmental changes that occurred as part of a illegitimate process are themselves illegitimate and must be fully reversed.

We advocate the creation of a committee that is representative of faculty, staff and students with the power to reverse the cuts.

We insist that rationale for all decisions be released. Wagner has previously maintained the specific rationale for the decisions are confidential. During our first negotiation, he reversed this position, and we hope Forman will agree.

In our teleconference with Forman, Wagner emphasized to Forman the credibility and thoughtfulness of our arguments. We believe this is to Wagner’s credit, and we hope Forman will have the courage to revisit his decisions.

We regret that Wagner and Forman refuse to allow media to be a party to these negotiations, and that they continue to forward an authoritarian vision of university governance. Discussions about failures of transparency must take place transparently.

The Emory community, and not solely administrators, deserves to decide a vision of Emory’s future. We have proven we are both willing and able to plan this vision. It is up to Wagner and Forman to revisit their decisions and help us chart a path forward.

If they do not, the Emory community will hold them accountable, and the nation will be watching. The legitimacy of Emory’s commitment to ethical inquiry hangs in the balance.

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