Tag Archives: journalism

Profs in cut departments file formal grievance

18 faculty members, all from departments that are being eliminated or downsized as a result of Dean Forman’s cuts last fall, have filed a formal grievance with Emory College. The complaint, which alleges numerous violations in CFAC’s handling of the cuts, was written in consultation with a prominent Atlanta lawyer. (One professor who signed the document told us that any administrator who glances at it will know that the signatories mean business.) It demands that Emory annul the cuts and “affirm the primacy of the [Emory] Bylaws” and the official principles governing faculty regulations.

You can view the original document here [PDF], courtesy of the Wheel.

The 18 signatories are David Armstrong and Sheila Tefft (journalism); Walter Reed, Angelika Bammer, Kevin Corrigan, Sander Gilman, Anna Grimshaw, Sean Meighoo, Catherine Nickerson and Kimberly Wallace-Sanders (ILA); Juliette Apkarian, Vera Proskurina and Elena Glazov-Corrigan (Russian/REALC); Samiran (Shomu) Banerjee (economics); Jason Francisco and Julia Kjelgaard (visual arts); and Robert Jensen and Carole Hahn (Division of Educational Studies).

Needless to say, the Grievance Committee has denied the signatories’ requests to repeal the cuts and affirm the university’s commitment to uphold its own bylaws. (The only request it did grant was to respond to the grievance during this semester.) English professor Sheila Cavanagh, writing on behalf of the ten-person committee, reportedly “finds no cause to pursue this matter further.”

Faculty members, including AAUP representatives, insist that the battle isn’t over.

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Protest smashes “blandly conservative” reputation

When I came to teach at this campus—with its reputation as blandly conservative bordering on apathetic—the last thing I expected was to witness protestors rallying in the quad and staging sit-ins in the administration buildng, professors leading demonstrations, and students adopting sixties protest tactics (along with the requisite millennial Facebook pages and Tumblrs).
[…]
But what about a few years down the road? Many of the slashed programs are in the liberal arts. Will the faculty and students in the programs that remain have the same passion for advocacy and free speech? And speaking of that, without a journalism program, who will be trained to report on the changes that, inevitably, will happen?

Rebecca Burns of Atlanta Magazine covers the SCLC protest.

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Wagner censure makes NYT

Over here, we’ve been compiling media and blog coverage of Wagner’s “three-fifths” fiasco relatively quietly. The editor of STC@E is both overwhelmed and invigorated by the level of passion, insight, and wit that commentators across the country have brought to the table. But we will make a special occasion of noting that the faculty vote to censure the president made the New York Times‘s national briefing section, in both web and print editions. Look for an in-depth article about Wagner, race, and the department cuts in this Sunday’s paper. Yup, the Sunday Times.

We should also note that the reporter, Robbie Brown, was a journalism co-major at Emory (class of ’07). He currently works as the regional news assistant for the Southern bureau.

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Get your cringing muscles limbered

Evan Mah at the Wheel: Faculty Clash with Forman at Meeting.

An AAUP representative told the crowd to expect an official statement soon.

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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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More insights from the Wheel

In the jargon of the Occupy Wall Street movement, College undergraduate Egan Short writes, “In closing or downsizing the journalism major, visual arts department, and the ILA, the Emory administration has preemptively attacked potential zones of dissent on campus.”

Fiza Pirani of the journalism program reminds us that Emory was recently named the #1 American college for writers by USA Today. (Eminent enough for you?)

WGSS graduate student Mairead Sullivan, who has previously described the implicit racism behind the cuts at our rallies, brings the statistics to a wider audience: “According to Emory’s 2009 Diversity profile report [pdf], only 7 departments reported over 25% faculty of color. Of these 7 departments, 4 are up for cuts.” Moreover, since most of them are recent hires, up to 75% of the professors and lecturers of color in Educational Studies, Physical Education, Russian and East Asian Languages, and Spanish and Portuguese are liable to lose their jobs.

Finally, College junior Rhett Henry considers the #EmoryCuts student movement itself:

“I was worried that there would not be much of a response from the student body. I’m glad to have been proven wrong. What now troubles me is the nature of the reaction. It is a blend of evocative populism and calls for greater transparency in administrative decision-making. On these points I agree. What concerns me is that, in reaching for a solution to the long-term issue of student-administration communication, the immediate problems facing the student body over the next few years have fallen to the wayside.

I want to help groups like #EmoryCuts to talk about the issues in a way that goes for the gut, as it were.

I’m not entirely sure immediate, practical battles can be disentangled from ongoing questions about the culture at Emory and in the higher education world at large. In fact, being able to reach beyond one’s own moment is one of the things the liberal arts prides itself on, and, yes, one of the reasons it gets called impractical. Nonetheless, it’s worth asking ourselves: What practical, immediate strategies have already been taken? What else could we or others be doing?

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Braswell: Cuts betray students

In today’s Wheel, Harold Braswell, PhD candidate in the ILA, gets to the heart of the matter once again:

“Traditional” disciplines teach students critical skills to question, reformulate, and, if necessary, reject “tradition,” but they do not advocate an adherence to tradition for tradition’s sake. These very fields thus undermine Dean Forman’s stated reasons for preserving them.

In methodological and demographic terms, Dean Forman’s decision excises the margins from the Emory community. But the margins represent the true heart of the university tradition. The university tradition is grounded in its critical distance from both “tradition” and popular demand.

Additionally, first-year student Brett Lichtenberg shares the way he’s learned to “make the best out of the cuts.” support he’s gotten from his advisers in the journalism program. In a show of dedication, professors David Armstrong and Hank Klibanoff have tried to permit first-year journalism students to complete a minor or co-major in the program by spring 2014. Said permission isn’t official, though: Klibanoff later explained that he had merely won “the right for you to make a case” for completing the program.

Lichtenberg also remarked (in a somewhat different context) that noted Holocaust and Jewish historian Deborah Lipstadt has described Emory as “overall pretty apolitical.” The bulk of the issue and the culture around here say otherwise.

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