Resolution of Emory University Faculty Council, April 16, 2013

We acknowledge the hurt to our community caused by President James Wagner’s use of the three-fifths compromise clause in his column in the Winter, 2013, issue of the Emory Magazine. He has sincerely apologized for this mistake in multiple venues, and he has held many listening sessions to hear concerns from the community. We as the University Faculty Council accept his apology. While his words were insensitive, they were not malicious in intent, and discussion of them has revealed failures throughout our community to live up to the diverse and inclusive ideal to which we aspire.

President Wagner’s reference to the three-fifths compromise was particularly unfortunate because it detracts from many endeavors Emory University has initiated under his leadership. Emory has apologized for the role of slavery in building the institution, hosted the “Slavery and the University” conference which drew attendees from across the U.S., and created the Transforming Community Project in which people from across the University engaged with our history and current experiences of race, gender, sexuality, and other forms of human difference. Furthermore, James Wagner has shown dedicated leadership in setting forth a vision for the future and heading a successful campaign to raise much needed resources to fund Emory’s mission of creating, preserving, teaching, and applying knowledge in the service of humanity.

President Wagner has indicated his intentions to continue such efforts with renewed emphasis. His April 15, 2013 open letter to the Emory Community especially outlined his intentions to emphasize Emory’s commitment to social justice, shared governance and accountability, and academic excellence in the liberal arts, and it reaffirmed Emory’s values of diversity, inclusivity, justice, and respect. We state our firm support for his continued leadership in the years ahead to continue the work yet to be done.


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