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November 4, 2002

Horowitz visit focus of PCSM meeting

By Stephanie Sonnenfeld

The President’s Commission on the Status of Minorities (PCSM) met Oct. 29 at 3 p.m. and spent the first portion of its meeting discussing a recent controversy involving Emory students and a guest speaker on campus.

Senior Candace Bacchus submitted a report detailing events surrounding the Oct. 9 visit of conservative columnist David Horowitz, sponsored by College Republicans. According to Bacchus, president of the Black Student Association (BSA), she sent an e-mail to BSA members and other student leaders urging them to attend the event.

In her report, Bacchus identified grievances from BSA members regarding Horowitz’s visit, noting that some students were insulted by Horowitz and that security measures at the event contributed to a hostile environment, among other charges.

Bacchus said she sent an open letter to the Emory community expressing her concerns for the event and said Horowitz published this letter on his website, including her personal contact information, which made her uncomfortable. She also said BSA and College Republican members met with Karen Salisbury, assistant dean for Campus Life and director of Student Activities, and A.W. Mellon Professor of Politics and History Harvey Klehr, faculty sponsor of College Republicans.

Bacchus said the BSA called for an apology and reallocation of funds for the event, while College Republicans said such grievances should be taken up with Horowitz. BSA members were expected to met with John Ford, senior vice president for Campus Life, and Purvi Patel, president of College Council (which funded the event), on Friday, Nov. 1, to discuss the issues further.

After much discussion among members, PCSM Chair Nagueyalti Warren referred the issue to the student concerns committee. Many of the PCSM members were interested in the issue but said they needed more information to make an informed decision.

Stanley Taylor of student concerns said the group was concerned that the political science department was losing its three African American professors: Richard Joseph, Robert Brown and visiting professor Michael Owens. Taylor said the committee is worried about how the departures will affect the teaching of African American-related class offerings.

Staff concerns committee member Donna Wong told the group about a Washington Post article concerning how universities are recruiting and retaining faculty of color.

Jody Usher presented the conference and events planning committee’s draft budget for the PCSM’s proposed “Diversity as Added Value” conference to be held next spring. She said PCSM’s cost would be $5,000 for the half-day conference (including food, speaker and incidental costs), and $2,250 would need to be raised from other campus organizations and departments. Members offered various ideas for cosponsoring the event with other organizations on and off campus, including partnering with Spelman College.

Sylvester Hopewell reported that the historical records committee individually researched PCSM records and had determined the PCSM annual report—which has not be written since 1995—needs to be reinstituted as a means of record.

Torrance Stephens of faculty concerns said he has begun working on a minority faculty and tenure study, similar to a study conducted by the President’s Commission on the Status of Women (PCSW). He has been working with Daniel Teodorescu of Institutional Planning and Research to obtain information from the different schools. Teodorescu said it would be more difficult to obtain information from the School of Medicine—an issue the PCSW faced—but directed Stephens to Claudia Adkison in the medical school for

PCSM will meet again on Nov. 25 in 400 Administration at 3 p.m.

If you have a question or concern for PCSM, e-mail Nagueyalti Warren at