April 24, 2013
To students, faculty and staff of Emory University:
Protest and dissent are essential tools for nourishing ethical engagement within our community. With opportunities for people with opposing views to civilly disagree and debate, constructive dialogue on dissent, protest, and community is and should continue to be an essential part of who we are as Emory University.
As a destination university, Emory is eager to wrestle with the need to balance our affirmation of dissent and protest with our need to acknowledge the boundaries that are created when we respect and protect our larger educational mission.
With that goal in mind, President Wagner in May 2011 commissioned the Dissent, Protest, and Community Task Force to study how to best create and encourage this balance. This committee produced a report to guide protest, dissent, and expression at Emory. In order to advance the work of the first task force, the University Senate and the President’s Cabinet charged a Stage II Task Force in September 2012 to examine the current policies that govern the University's response to dissent and protest with the goal of making recommendations and revisions.
Recommendations of the Stage II Task Force include revisions to the Respect for Freedom of Expression Policy to promote and protect free expression while creating transparent mechanisms for balancing dissent with the larger University mission. The revised policy encourages the establishment of a Committee for Open Expression charged with proactively educating community members about the rights of protesters and dissenters on our campuses and investigating concerns related to the violation of those rights.
While the Stage II Task Force is comprised of faculty, staff, and students, your insight and feedback on the revisions to the Respect for Freedom of Expression Policy will help as we continue this important work for the University. Policy changes as important as this require feedback from the larger community.
The new Respect for Freedom of Expression Policy will be available for public comment until May 30, 2013. Please submit feedback via this web form. Thank you in advance for working with the Dissent, Protest, and Community Stage II Task Force to build a better community at Emory.
Dissent, Protest, and Community Stage II Task Force Co-Chairs,
Senior Vice President & Dean of Campus Life
Frank S. Alexander
Sam Nunn Professor of Law
Emory Law School