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Campus Life Update on Bias Incidents

December 12, 2014

In response to a bias incident that occurred earlier this semester, President James W. Wagner, in a letter to the university community, stated emphatically, “Emory University will not tolerate such acts. Instead we must together pledge Emory University’s continuing commitment to raise awareness and prevent all forms of violence and discrimination.”

I want to take this opportunity to update our community regarding Emory’s actions in addressing this and one other incident that occurred during fall semester. 

On October 5, our community learned of offensive vandalism targeting the Alpha Epsilon Pi (AEPi) fraternity house, a historically Jewish fraternity at Emory. On October 21, in a separate incident, we learned that, during an intramural flag football game in which AEPi participated, some spectators reportedly directed ethnic and/or racial slurs at the opposing team.

The Emory community demonstrated great solidarity in response to each of these acts of bias. For instance, a number of students, staff, and faculty engaged in thoughtful dialogue about the vandalism by participating in a teach-in on the quadrangle and in a student forum. 

In another example, students on the two flag football teams are planning a follow-up match in which they will comingle the teams so that formerly opposing players become teammates in the new game. Clearly, our community is responding with empathy and creativity to the aforementioned acts of bias.

The FBI continues to investigate the offensive vandalism incident. On a parallel track, Emory has followed its conduct procedures, which have now concluded. The students responsible for this act of bias have received sanctions appropriate to their respective levels of involvement and culpability. Emory’s policies, which align with federal law, preclude the release of more-specific information. 

The administration also investigated the flag football incident but was unable to identify the spectators responsible for the inappropriate language. Since then, the administration has worked with both football teams to facilitate educational and community-building programming that contributed to the teams planning a follow-up game.

The university will continue to respond decisively to acts of bias and will hold accountable those responsible. If you experience and/or witness an act of bias involving students, please report it as outlined in Emory’s Bias Incident Reporting process. Suzanne Onorato, Assistant Vice President of Community, leads the Bias Incident Response Team, a group of university administrators who enact the response protocol.

We denounce all acts of bias as attacks against everything for which Emory stands. We intend to move forward together in solidarity and as a community, continuing to learn, grow, and flourish. 


Ajay Nair
Senior Vice President and Dean of Campus Life

UPDATED 11/12/15: to reflect changes to the Bias Incident Reporting Team