Nine faculty members in the psychology department have published an open letter to the Board of Trustees in the Wheel. They write of the “shadow of racism” cast over Emory by Wagner’s statement and note that it has been “only the latest example in a series of his actions tarnishing Emory’s academic reputation and standing.” Then they exhort the Board to take action and to initiate a conversation with professors:
Public comment from the Board of Trustees is an essential first step towards undoing this damage. We also strongly encourage the Board of Trustees to reach out to Emory faculty to solicit their input concerning the implications of President Wagner’s leadership for the future of the university.
The Wheel has also received a copy of a March 7 letter sent to Ben Johnson, Chair of the Board of Trustees, on behalf of Open Door Community, a group home and outreach center in the Catholic Worker tradition “that has sought to dismantle racism, sexism and heterosexism for the past 31 years” and that has strong ties to Emory. The ODC’s representatives express their outrage over the “Three-Fifths” editorial, adding:
We would like to stress that this is not solely about President Wagner, but rather about an urgent need for intentional work on the part of Emory University toward the eradication of racism, in which all of us can play a role under your leadership as the chair of Emory’s Board of Trustees. We are also distressed about the recent department cuts at Emory, which disproportionately impact people of color. Whereas only 15 percent of the overall university faculty are of color, the affected departments contain anywhere from 20 to 48 percent faculty of color – and these decisions were made entirely by a group of eight white people.
These letters should be distributed as widely as possible before today’s faculty meeting (4:00 in White Hall), over which President Wagner will preside, and at which the resolution for a vote of no confidence will perhaps be raised.