As Emory Report went to press, a Campus Life investigation
into the blackface incident at a recent student event has found
that the two students involved apparently were not Emory students.
The University is continuing to look into the incident to determine
if any further action is necessary.
On Friday, Nov. 7, the University announced that final sanctions
had been decided regarding Carol Worthman, Samuel Candler Dobbs
Professor of Anthropology, who made an inappropriate racial remark
during a department panel discussion on Sept. 15.
Worthman's remark, a complaint was filed with the Office of Equal
Opportunity Programs (EOP) by Assistant Professor Tracy Rone. EOP
conducted an investigation and determined that Worthman's remarks
were an isolated incident and did not indicate a "pattern of workplace
office recommended several actions in response to the complaint,
including public, written apologies both from Worthman and from
department chair George Armelagos; mandatory diversity training
for the entire anthropology department; dissemination of Emory's
Policy Statement on Discriminatory Harassment to the University
community; and undisclosed sanctions against Worthman ranging from
a written reprimand to suspension.
over and discussion of the incident grew far beyond the anthropology
department; a story in the Nov. 6 Atlanta Journal-Constitution detailed
the events and featured comments from several individuals involved.
On page 1 of this issue of Emory Report, President Jim Wagner delivers
an open letter to all members of the Emory community presenting
and Worthman declined comment for this article, however other individuals
did express some opinions. Emory College Dean Bobby Paul said he
could not comment on specifics of the sanctions against Worthman,
which are confidential, but he said "an appropriate sanction has
been carried out."
formal procedures for cases of this kind have been carefully followed,"
some members of the community are dissatisfied with how the University
handled the case. Nagueyalti Warren, associate dean of Emory College
and chair of the President's Commission on the Status of Minorities
(PCSM), said she does not think the investigation conducted by
EOP was sufficiently thorough, and more action by the University
commission believes the incident in the anthropology department
is not isolated; we believe it is systemic, that the climate at
Emory is conducive to acts of intolerance," Warren said. "In spite
of our rhetoric about diversity and a welcoming environment for
all people, minorities--especially African Americans--continue to
suffer insults and smart from the insensitive behavior of members
of the majority culture.
believe the environment in the anthropology department is indeed
hostile; further, we think that the silence that surrounded the
incident within the department and outside [it] constitutes that
hostility," Warren continued. "There was no outcry; there was no
outrage. It was business as usual."
said PCSM recommends that all members of the University community--faculty,
staff and students--be required to undergo mandatory diversity training.
professor of anthropology, contests the notion that his department
is a "hostile" environment, citing a number of initiatives such
as conscious efforts to increase diversity through hiring; providing
extra support in terms of office space and tenure considerations
for minority faculty; and exposing "hundreds and often over a thousand" students
each year to issues of race and racism through anthropology courses.
a letter to anthropology faculty and students, Armelagos wrote, "(Worthman's)
unfortunate choice of words caused members of our community to
feel degraded and hurt by this derogatory term. As a discipline
that fosters diversity and encourages racial and cultural understanding
as one of our core values, this incident is intolerable and a profound
embarrassment. While the EOP found the use of 'prejudicial and
discriminatory language' an isolated incident, we must work as
a community to create an environment in which this will never occur
part of the sanctions implemented, the anthropology department
held a public forum for faculty and students to talk about the
incident and to discuss how to move forward as a community. One
result of the forum, Armelagos said, is that groups of faculty
and students will work together to deal with issues of inequality
related to hierarchical structures within the department and the
will continue to strive to make the department a discrimination-free
environment that will be an enjoyable and supportive workplace,
allowing all of us to be productive members of our academic community," Armelagos
said. "We will prevail in our efforts to do so."