November 10, 2003

University statement regarding racial language incident


Nov. 7, 2003

Emory anthropology Professor Carol Worthman used a highly inappropriate and offensive racial expression during a department panel discussion on Sept. 15. A complaint was filed with the University's Office of Equal Opportunity Programs (EOP), which conducted an investigation. Worthman said she had made the statement within what she considered an academic context, that she deeply regretted having made the statement, and that she had apologized both verbally and in writing. EOP determined that the comment was inappropriate but was an isolated incident that did not indicate a pattern of workplace hostility.

As a result of its investigation, the EOP recommended a series of sanctions which have been, or are in the process of being, implemented including:

Public and written apologies from Worthman and the anthropology department chair regarding the use of this inappropriate language;

A public verbal and written response from the anthropology department chair to department members that restates the University's Policy Statement on Discriminatory Harassment and indicates that such acts help to create work and educational environments of hostility and will not be tolerated;  

Mandatory diversity training to be conducted within the anthropology department; and

The distribution of the Policy Statement on Discriminatory Harassment by the EOP to the entire campus.

In addition, EOP recommended that Worthman be sanctioned, which can include a range of actions from oral or written reprimand to suspension, as determined by the department chair and college dean. Sanctions have been taken against Worthman.

The University will continue to work to ensure all members of our community respect and embrace the diversity Emory values so highly.