President addresses 3/5ths controversy

At the February 19 Council meeting, Emory President James Wagner read aloud the letter he had received from faculty in history and African American studies, as well as his own written response to it, concerning questions and criticisms about his column in the Winter 2013 issue of Emory Magazine, in which he offered the U.S. Constitutional “3/5ths Compromise” as a model for seeking common ground during politically polarized times. Reading from his response, he said, “I, too, regret my reference to the 3/5ths Compromise and am sorry for the injury and insult that has resulted from my use of it. As you and your colleagues have generously allowed, it was not my intent to offend or insult. Doing so was the result of mistaken judgment and of insensitivity.” Wagner then added, “I do regret the pain caused to those in the community. I can understand people wondering if this is really a safe and inclusive community, when a leader uses an ill-chosen reference such as that.” In response to a council member’s inquiry about the review process leading to publication, he explained that the first reader of his draft is the vice president and deputy to the president, and that several other communications and marketing staff are involved in the review process.


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