Campus News

July 8, 2011

Update to May 11 community forum

President Jim Wagner recently wrote to University governance groups  to provide an update on steps being taken in response to the May 11 open forum, co-hosted by the University Senate and the Committee on Class and Labor. 

Wagner outlined action on four issues discussed at the forum, including the status of student arrests in April, and the development of guidelines for civil discourse on campus, including protest and dissent.

On May 12, Wagner met with the four Emory students who had been arrested. Discussing ways for the University and students to work collaboratively to resolve the pending charges, Wagner asked that they have their attorney contact Emory's general counsel. 

As the students' attorney had not responded by late June, Wagner sent a letter directly to the students proposing a way to mutually approach the prosecutors to seek a positive disposition of the pending charges, while seeking assurances that as Emory students they will honor their commitments to the Emory community, even as they express their views and focus attention on matters of deep concern to them.

The originally scheduled July 7 arraignment was postponed, and Emory will continue to seek a positive disposition of the charges.

University committees are continuing work on several issues discussed at the May forum.  Among other activities, a special University Senate meeting on Sept. 20 will be dedicated to addressing allegations concerning Sodexo.

The Committee on the Study of Class and Labor, formed in February and co-chaired by Nadine Kaslow, School of Medicine professor, and Gary Hauk, vice president and deputy to the president, is examining a wide range of questions about relationships among workers across the University, including the role of contract workers and guidelines for establishing contracts for services. The committee has been gathering data, benchmarking best practices, and meeting with individuals. Conversations with  interested groups and individuals are being scheduled for the fall. 

A presidentially appointed task force, chaired by law professor Frank S. Alexander, and  made up of professors Thee Smith, Bobbi Patterson and Rudolph P. Byrd, is studying how to balance the freedom for dissent and protest with  other values of an academic community.  The task force will expand its membership this fall as it formally begins its work, and will aim to recommend guidelines in the spring. 

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