Tag Archives: freedom of speech

Camp Compromise, Day 1

Welcome Prospective Students

About ten minutes after we set up camp, Dean of Campus Life Ajay Nair e-mailed the entire Emory community to inform us of a new, not yet finalized edition of the university’s Freedom of Expression Policy, a project of the “Stage 2” Task Force on Dissent, Protest, and Community. The takeaway is: Emory “values, protects, and affirms” students’ right to criticize internal or external policies, but you should probably reserve any space in advance, and Dr. Nair has the right to “observe” any student meeting or to appoint others to do so.

making buttons


But that’s just formality. See, Pat had this hat…

mushroom hat2

And Katherine had this wig…

katherine wig


I kept hearing about certain Emory faculty members who get mad when any funding goes to the humanities. In like these, what could we I except find some shade and review Dialectic of Enlightenment?
reading in tent


Later, another dean asked us if we had a permit. Not being aware that one was required for painting on the quad on a weekday afternoon, we had to say no. No hard feelings.

Painting Student Power

still here


Dusk fell. We heard there was a pink moon.

Four or five activists are spending tonight in the tents. For most of them, it’s a reminder of their own camp-outs and arrests as part of Students and Workers in Solidarity, two years ago tonight. S’mores and ghost stories are in order…

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Essence of Emory = censoring student expression

In the wake of yesterday’s Re-Visioning Symposium, which was a tremendous success (photos and reflections to come), one of our organizers received the following polite but loaded e-mail:

I hope your event went well last night and we need a favor. Can you please pull your signage and yellow ribbons from trees, poles, etc, on campus today?

We have many future college students touring campus this week and we want their “vision” of Emory to be as clean and neat as possible.

Thank you,

Jimmy Powell
Director Exterior Services
Campus Services

In fact, campus workers began tearing down our signs (none of which were as imposing as a 60-foot tall Dooley) and erasing our sidewalk chalk on Sunday night and Monday morning, before the symposium began. This was an academic conference sponsored by three Emory departments. Can’t let potential freshmen be exposed to any of that!

Powell and Exterior Services have also run into conflict with Students and Workers in Solidarity over student activists’ banners.

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Open letter from the English Dept.

Twenty-four tenured and senior professors in the English department have released a letter condemning President Wagner’s racist editorial in the Emory Magazine. They condemn Wagner’s words as “indefensible” and call on the Board of Trustees to respond

3.6.13.English Dept Open Letter 3.6.13.English Dept Open Letter-signatures











Also duly noted:

In the short term, we anticipate adverse consequences for the recruitment of faculty members and top-tier students. Serious academics will no doubt pause to question whether Emory is a suitable environment in which to pursue liberal arts training that promotes respect based on informed critical reasoning.
During this graduate admissions season, we have had to write to our admitted students to reassure them that President Wagner’s article in no way reflects our values, nor should it affect their training. Indeed, we have heard back from many of them that the article has been on their minds as they deliberate about whether to come to Emory rather than to accept other, highly competitive offers.

We thank you for your way with words and your integrity in exercising the “responsibilities” that come with tenure. We also express shame at the culture–one not unique to Emory–where junior faculty are led to believe speaking out may put their jobs on the line.

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In honor of Founders Day (Feb. 6) and the culmination of Campaign Emory, some pointed graphics:

Imagine: Why are departments being cut?

Secrecy: Why were faculty and students deceived?


Generosity/NYT student loan story

Wagner's salary, $1.2 million. [*]




These flyers were all over campus by Wednesday evening, only to be torn down before 9 the next morning. Imagination, as we know, requires constant sanitation.


* Wagner’s annual compensation was actually $1,172,397 in 2010, making him the 22nd highest paid college president in the U.S. The Chronicle’s breakdown of Wagner’s income is available to subscribers only.)

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SRC member details harassment by Wagner

Elizabeth Hennig was one of two undergraduate students present at the “negotiation” meeting with President Wagner, Dean Forman and VP Gary Hauk. Last week, she submitted an op-ed to the Emory Wheel recounting what she described as harassment during the meeting. Her article was included in Friday’s print edition, but removed from the Wheel web page the day of publication.

Here it is.

Continue reading

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Journalism students’ accomplishments

What counts as prestige for a college program in a depressed economy? Students landing high-paying jobs or being admitted to prestigious graduate programs? Celebrity professors? How about making a material contribution to the integrity of government?

David Michaels and Aaron Gregg, recent alumni, describe the work journalism courses allowed them to pursue before they even graduated. One wrote a front-page story in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution exposing legislators who accepted illegal gifts from lobbyists in 2011. Another produced a series of articles for an online news site uncovering the Georgia State Senate Minority Leader’s involvement in offshore gambling. They also mention a classmate whose web-based publication led to an ethics investigation and a criminal investigation against a state senator.

Did I mention that “before they graduated” part?

Michaels and Gregg point out that before Emory’s PR caught on to their hard work, Emory was not altogether supportive:

Not long after our class began contacting story subjects in the legislature regarding the document-based findings of our investigations, we were told by University administrators that we would not be able to publish our stories on an Emory platform. In response to a letter we wrote to Forman pleading for the University to allow us to publish our work, the dean said that it was the administration’s job to “understand that role fully before taking it on.” […] The administration also told us that our work was not covered by the University’s liability insurance, although we were not allowed to see the policy. [Cough, cough. -Ed.] Over the summer, weeks after we had already published our work with outside media outlets, the University changed its tune again and agreed that an Emory website could be set up to link to our stories. But the excitement of that development was short-lived, as the news of the department’s elimination came just two weeks into the following semester.

We wish all Emory alumni the best in their endeavours, and hope more will come forward to defend the liberal arts. Write to the press, post a #MyEmoryCutStory on YouTube, and think carefully the next time you receive a letter asking for your donations.

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