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A Statement of Emory's Continuing Commitment to Create Change and Address Social Injustices in Our Community

November 2, 2014

Dear Community Members, 

At Emory, we strive to create an interdependent, inclusive, and socially just community where individuals can reach their full potential, live in a physically and psychologically safe environment, and work collaboratively to create change. As President Wagner has stated, “we must together pledge Emory University’s continuing commitment to raise awareness and prevent all forms of violence and discrimination; to foster openness and diversity of thought, experience, spirituality, and culture; and to seek positive transformation in our community and the world.”  

As recent university notifications indicate, our basic Emory community principle of respect for others is violated on too many occasions.  In response to the recent incident and other past reports of sexual assaults in fraternity houses, the Interfraternity Council (IFC) will suspend all social events in fraternity houses until a comprehensive plan is developed to ensure the safety of our community members. Many of us joined the Emory community because we aspire to seek positive transformation in our own community and the world.  I ask for your support in ending sexual violence, acts of bias, and other social injustices that are antithetical to our notion of community. 

If you experience and/or witness an act of bias involving students, please report it as outlined in Emory’s Bias Incident Reporting process. James Francois, Director of the Office of Multicultural Programs and Services, and Scott Rausch, Director of the Office of Residence Life, lead the Bias Incident Response Team, a group of university administrators who will enact the response protocol.

 If you are a student or you know a student who has been affected by sexual or relationship violence, harassment, or stalking, we want you to receive the help and support you need. Free and confidential support is available to students by calling the Counseling and Psychological Services at 404.727.7450. Additional support resources can be found for yourself or others by visiting Emory’s sexual misconduct resources. We encourage students interested in working to end sexual and relationship violence to contact the Respect Program at respect@emory.edu or contact Drew Rizzo, Assistant Director of Health Promotion, at drew.rizzo@emory.edu

Some of the aforementioned protocols and procedures came to fruition as an outcome of the Campus Life Compact for Building an Inclusive Community at Emory, a set of recommendations developed by an ad hoc committee of students, faculty members, and Division of Campus Life administrators. Formed in December 2012, largely as a result of concerns expressed by students, the committee represents an initial step toward fully realizing a more inclusive, equitable, and just campus environment.

The Campus Life Compact’s contributions have included the implementation of educational programs (e.g., Creating Emory, Intersections), increased support for international students, establishment of the Emory Black Student Union, creation of an ombudsperson position, formation of a bias reporting team, and engagement with sororities and fraternities, among a variety of other actions to nurture a more just campus environment. 

The university remains firmly committed to the Campus Life Compact. In November, a standing Campus Life Compact Advisory Council, comprised of students, staff, and faculty, and alumni, will engage the community at large to ensure continued progress toward Emory’s goal of establishing a system for ongoing improvement in all areas of diversity and inclusion. We welcome those interested to join in this process. You may express your interest in the Advisory Council to Michael Shutt, Interim Senior Director of the Center for Diversity and Inclusion, at mshutt@emory.edu.

All forms of oppression, including sexual violence and bias incidents are pernicious and persistent issues in our society and in our global community.  The responses by the overwhelming majority of students, staff, faculty, parents, and alumni throughout the Emory community, who condemn sexual violence and bias at every turn, make it clear that we desire a community of respect.  The university will respond decisively to these acts and those responsible, while nurturing awareness and respect for the diversity that is a foundational strength of this great institution.

Sincerely,

Ajay Nair, PhD
Senior Vice President and Dean of Campus Life