Emory walkout today: Taking a stand for lost programs at noon

I am not sure how many Emory students will heed the call for a walkout today at noon to protest university cuts to liberal arts programs. But I applaud students for taking a stand on the direction and focus of their university.

In September, Emory announced that it intends to phase out the journalism program, department of visual arts, division of educational studies and department of physical education. The university will also suspend admissions to Spanish and economics graduate programs so leaders there can redefine the missions. Emory also will suspend admissions to the Institute for Liberal Arts so it can be restructured. The changes will begin at the end of this academic year and finish by the end of the 2016-17 academic year.

Emory told the AJC that savings from the changes will be re-invested into existing programs and growing areas, such as neurosciences, contemporary China studies and digital and new media studies.

Not everyone is happy with the program losses.

Here is an excerpt of a fire-em-up op-ed by Emory junior David Mullins of the Student Re-visioning Committee urging peers to participate in today’s walkout. The re-visioning committee is made up of students, faculty and staff.

Before commenting, please read the entire piece in the Emory Wheel, which has done a great job reporting this story:

By David Mullins

It’s time for a walk out. On Dec. 4th, do not sit in class. Come to the quad at noon. If you are teaching a class, bring your class.

A successful walkout will make [Emory College Dean Robin] Forman and [Emory President Jim] Wagner look bad. It will create the pressure necessary to reverse the cuts, and it will make a national AAUP censure [American Association of University Professors] that much more likely.

A walkout is necessary because Wagner and Forman do not consider themselves answerable even to department heads, much less students. “Dialogue” for them means telling the Emory community what is going to happen and us accepting it.

They do not care about your opinion, whether you are a freshman undergraduate or the Chair of the ILA, which is why they did not ask you about their decision before they made it.

They expect you to sit idly by while they disembowel our university. Wagner said the cuts are in the spirit of the civil rights movement because he claims in the civil rights movement people did not question their leaders. His arguments are so absurd his wager is that you just won’t be paying attention. The walkout will call his bluff.

Wagner’s response to the Student Re-visioning Committee letter is only meaningless noise. To take but one example: he doesn’t think we should worry about eliminating the profoundly diverse education department because “diversity should not be dependent on one department.” This is a bit like murdering the only doctor on a desert island because “we should not be dependent on one person for medical knowledge.” The reality is the Education department is our best connection to Atlanta schools and our best hope of retaining minority and female graduate students.

Wagner’s philosophy for the cuts is “cut inferior, boost superior.” But what is superior? Wagner won’t tell. Diversity, critical thinking and a pattern of improvement are considered superior by many, but not by Wagner. I don’t think even he knows what he means by superior.

Journalism is too job-focused, but Economics doesn’t place enough jobs. It’s about interdisciplinarity, but the exceptionally interdisciplinary ILA must be removed. It’s about publications, but the Spanish and Portuguese departments impressive publication history doesn’t save them. It’s about the cutting edge, but the must-cite education department scholars don’t cut it. It’s about what students want, but dozens of visual arts majors are turned away. It’s about the budget, except when Forman says it’s not.

All these contradictions are not a coincidence. The real, unstated reason for the cuts is undeniably university rankings.

The ironic part is Forman’s and Wagner’s strategy will fail to improve our rankings. US News & World Report is a fickle mistress – there is no guarantee they will like Twitter and China more than art, languages, economics and diversity.

A walkout is necessary, in the final analysis, because the cuts will make Emory a much worse school.

Many students who would have majored in an affected department will transfer or not enroll. The perception that Emory is going downhill is palpable almost no matter whom you talk to.

As a student who benefits from the academic environment of Emory, you have a responsibility to defend it. Tell your friends. Tell your professors. Do not skip the walk out.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

46 comments Add your comment

Been there...

December 3rd, 2012
6:16 pm

Ah…as a student from the “riotous” sixties, I love a good walk-out. I hope Wagner calls out the National Guard to legitimize it.

Prof

December 3rd, 2012
6:29 pm

The students– gotta love ‘em.

Private Citizen

December 3rd, 2012
6:56 pm

ILA is a treasure. It is one of the few innovative programs that sets the university apart and in a good way. The recent development reminds me much – just a hunch – of the business oriented making efficiency decisions. But the problem is this is a university, not a business tailored to their narrow, and frankly, ignorant, perspective. Emory has been serious about their mission in the past. Let’s hope they continue the tradition of their prior excellence. Being all super-pro with the sciences is a nice idea, but you know what? On a world level, Emory’s strength is in the humanities not the sciences. And if they think their business approach is coy, there are many on a world level who do not. Those “business” decision makers need a bucket of ice water on their head and some airplane tickets to where Society is Done Right ™.

Pride and Joy

December 3rd, 2012
8:38 pm

Journalism is too job focused? First of all, what’s wrong with that? We need real journalists who can think and write and report objectively. Journalists are the watchdogs of our government and Lord knows, our government needs a watchdog.
Journalism also provides critical thinking skills and writing skills. ALL businesses need people who can think and write.
The letter had this really weird quote about the school of education at Emory “The reality is the Education department is our best connection to Atlanta schools and our best hope of retaining minority and female graduate students.”
Why does Emory need a “connection” to Atlanta schools?
We need good, educated teachers in Atlanta but why does Emory need a special connection to Atlanta schools?
As far as women and minorities, not closing a school of education because it has women and minorities is ridiculous. Women have always been in education and so are minority women. We don’t need to encourage women and minorities to be teachers. They are already there. We need to encourage women to go into math and science. We need to encourage all men to become teachers.
Keeping the education department around just so that Emory can meet its quota of women and minorities in the university is insulting.

dc

December 3rd, 2012
8:50 pm

I wonder what these students would agree to cut to make up for spending this money….oh, you mean there isn’t a tooth fairy, and money doesn’t grow on trees?

And last time I checked, female grad students WAY outnumbered male grad students. Why isn’t the concern with the obviously disadvantaged males?

RCB

December 3rd, 2012
8:54 pm

Emory University and Emory Healthcare must be trying to outdo each other in dumb moves and negative press. The last 6 months have not been been very stellar for either group.

Georgia

December 3rd, 2012
9:18 pm

Good job of rebel rousing by the junior.

Clarifying the Situation

December 3rd, 2012
10:54 pm

This year the university has a record surplus – and its 5.4$ billion dollar endowment grew by 100$ million in the past quarter alone. It’s not about cutting out of financial necessity – it’s about being ‘competitive’ with peers by pumping new ventures and bumping ones that are historic and meaningful but aren’t sexy when they go to market. A good example would be the outreach to local schools, or the 100+ year Education Program and its links to Civil Rights – you don’t get rated in US News & World Report for those things, and so this administration doesn’t care about the damage to its legacy or the community its actions will bring. Remember, this is the same university that has admitted to spending more than a decade misreporting test scores to the media, prospective students, and the US Department of Education! RE: the issues of women and minority enrollment, these are real issues not just because these cuts are literally eliminating a quarter of the faculty of color at the university (a university in the SOUTH mind you) but also because Emory is constantly trumpeting how welcoming it is to minorities and women – even citing awards won by people *IN THE VERY DEPARTMENTS THAT IT IS LIQUIDATING* to bring in new hires and more money. Emory has had a deep and proud relationship to Atlanta for nearly 200 hundred years, and a proud tradition of ethical behavior, but now all it cares about is pumping its rating and making quick cash. Check out the coverage at the Emory Wheel and on WSB-TV if you want additional details. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=3976060245088

What's Up

December 3rd, 2012
10:55 pm

This year the university has a record surplus – and its 5.4$ billion dollar endowment grew by 100$ million in the past quarter alone. It’s not about cutting out of financial necessity – it’s about being ‘competitive’ with peers by pumping new ventures and bumping ones that are historic and meaningful but aren’t sexy when they go to market. A good example would be the outreach to local schools, or the 100+ year Education Program and its links to Civil Rights – you don’t get rated in US News & World Report for those things, and so this administration doesn’t care about the damage to its legacy or the community its actions will bring. Remember, this is the same university that has admitted to spending more than a decade misreporting test scores to the media, prospective students, and the US Department of Education! RE: the issues of women and minority enrollment, these are real issues not just because these cuts are literally eliminating a quarter of the faculty of color at the university (a university in the SOUTH mind you) but also because Emory is constantly trumpeting how welcoming it is to minorities and women – even citing awards won by people *IN THE VERY DEPARTMENTS THAT IT IS LIQUIDATING* to bring in new hires and more money. Emory has had a deep and proud relationship to Atlanta for nearly 200 hundred years, and a proud tradition of ethical behavior, but now all it cares about is pumping its rating and making quick cash. Check out the coverage at the Emory Wheel and on WSB-TV if you want additional details.

another comment

December 3rd, 2012
10:57 pm

Just like I thought it was extremely dumb when they closed their dental program years back. That one made no sence. They wanted to use the space where the Dental school was for Terry Ecks odd twisted column design building. What a waste of money those stupid columns are, plus Terry already designed them for his Delta buidling out west.

My child refuses to apply to Emory this year. Maybe it was all those year coming over to my office facing their parking deck. Maybe Emory should figure out why students are skipping them. Why the top kids rather go to Georgia, Bama, Florida, Baylor, finally she is considering the College of William and Mary. These are top students, they want more.

Background Needed - It's Worse Than You Think

December 3rd, 2012
10:58 pm

This year the university has a record surplus – and its 5.4$ billion dollar endowment grew by 100$ million in the past quarter alone. It’s not about cutting out of financial necessity – it’s about being ‘competitive’ with peers by pumping new ventures and bumping ones that are historic and meaningful but aren’t sexy when they go to market. A good example would be the outreach to local schools, or the 100+ year Education Program and its links to Civil Rights – you don’t get rated in US News & World Report for those things, and so this administration doesn’t care about the damage to its legacy or the community its actions will bring. Remember, this is the same university that has admitted to spending more than a decade misreporting test scores to the media, prospective students, and the US Department of Education! RE: the issues of women and minority enrollment, these are real issues not just because these cuts are literally eliminating a quarter of the faculty of color at the university (a university in the SOUTH mind you) but also because Emory is constantly trumpeting how welcoming it is to minorities and women – even citing awards won by people *IN THE VERY DEPARTMENTS THAT IT IS LIQUIDATING* to bring in new hires and more money. Emory has had a deep and proud relationship to Atlanta for nearly 200 hundred years, and a proud tradition of ethical behavior, but now all it cares about is pumping its rating and making quick cash. Check out the coverage at the Emory Wheel and on WSB-TV if you want additional details.

Background Needed - It's Worse Than You Think

December 3rd, 2012
10:59 pm

This year the university has a record surplus – and its 5.4$ billion dollar endowment grew by 100$ million in the past quarter alone. It’s not about cutting out of financial necessity – it’s about being ‘competitive’ with peers by pumping new ventures and bumping ones that are historic and meaningful but aren’t sexy when they go to market. A good example would be the outreach to local schools, or the 100+ year Education Program and its links to Civil Rights – you don’t get rated in US News & World Report for those things, and so this administration doesn’t care about the damage to its legacy or the community its actions will bring. Remember, this is the same university that has admitted to spending more than a decade misreporting test scores to the media, prospective students, and the US Department of Education! RE: the issues of women and minority enrollment, these are real issues not just because these cuts are literally eliminating a quarter of the faculty of color at the university (a university in the SOUTH mind you) but also because Emory is constantly trumpeting how welcoming it is to minorities and women – even citing awards won by people *IN THE VERY DEPARTMENTS THAT IT IS LIQUIDATING* to bring in new hires and more money. Emory has had a deep and proud relationship to Atlanta for nearly 200 hundred years, and a proud tradition of ethical behavior, but now all it cares about is pumping its rating and making quick cash.

Priceless

December 3rd, 2012
11:08 pm

“Why the top kids rather go to Georgia, Bama, Florida, Baylor…”

Hahaha! Thanks for the laugh.

Emory Grad Student

December 3rd, 2012
11:14 pm

@dc, you’re right, money doesn’t grow on trees, but it does rain down when you have $5.4 BILLION in endowment. Emory just announced a $100 MILLION in return increase in their endowment from investment returns. Given the cuts were implemented in order to save and reallocate $4.5 million, it seems more than silly now – stupid, poorly conceived, and given that dozens are losing their jobs, and hundreds of students and faculty are having their programs ripped out from under them – cruel.

bootney farnsworth

December 3rd, 2012
11:35 pm

so, is Mr. Mullins willing to absorb a hefty tuition increase in order to keep these programs?
the money’s gotta come from somewhere.

Private Citizen

December 3rd, 2012
11:45 pm

Bootney? Psst. Shhhh. I’ve got a secret to tell you. I had a wrangle with an alligator today. It sure hissed a lot. http://postimage.org/image/tt9obwky3/

bootney farnsworth

December 3rd, 2012
11:46 pm

saddest of all, based upon Mullins piece, Emory should be ashamed of the job they did educating him.
he tossed out a basket full of phrases which mean nothing, has breathtakingly stunning failures of logic, and uses words he obviously doesn’t comprehend in proper context….

perhaps if he took a journalism course….?

“interdisciplinarity, diversity” two words which mean nothing in the real world, but look nice on paper. what’s the word…oh yeah. pseudo-intellectual.

also it sorta seems like he’s worried about the male/female ratio. problems getting dates?

if Emory is indeed slipping, he might wish to begin his search for why in his bathroom mirror.

Roger Sikes

December 3rd, 2012
11:47 pm

Respect to the students.

We must stand for quality, accessible education. Keep up the good work I stand with you.

@emorycuts
#emorycuts
#walkout
#noconfidence

bootney farnsworth

December 3rd, 2012
11:51 pm

US News & World Report has been accurately ranking colleges and universities long before our hero was born. in a battle of credibility between the two, he comes in second.

William Casey

December 3rd, 2012
11:59 pm

I feel about the US News rankings as I do about the BCS in football: a lot of BS.

Bootney - Get Your Facts Straight

December 4th, 2012
12:01 am

Bootney – You do realize that Emory has recently admitted a decade of falsifying its reports to USN&WR? Are you also aware that these cuts are not coming against the background of a deficit, but in a year of record profit, operating budget windfalls, and a 105$ million dollar growth in a 5.4$ billion dollar endowment? Maybe it’s *you* who aren’t so up to speed on the details here.

Private Citizen

December 4th, 2012
12:03 am

I’ll say one thing about reading the Emory Wheel article and comments. Everyone knows how to write and spell like a demon. And they sure didn’t learn that from the business school. Probably not the influence of the Red Devils at Druid Hills high school, either. (that’s supposed to be a pun)

Bootney - Get Your Facts Straight

December 4th, 2012
12:06 am

You do realize that Emory has recently admitted a decade of falsifying its reports to USN&WR? Are you also aware that these cuts are not coming against the background of a deficit, but in a year of record profit, operating budget windfalls, and a 105$ million dollar growth in a 5.4$ billion dollar endowment? Maybe it’s *you* who aren’t so up to speed on the details here.

Why Can't People From Emory Post Here?

December 4th, 2012
12:11 am

Why can’t I post to this? What’s going on? Several of us on campus have tried to post but our comments haven’t gotten through. One thing that would be important for your readers to know, for example, is that Emory has admitted to spending over a decade falsifying its ratings data to USN&WR.

Concerned for Emory

December 4th, 2012
12:17 am

Bootney, your faith in US&WR is less than warranted insofar as that Emory has admitted to having spent more than a decade mis-reporting its SAT test score data to that publication and to the US Department of Education. You might also not know that these cuts are happening against the backdrop of a record budget surplus at Emory – they are not driven by financial exigency. Perhaps you should spend less time joking about the author’s dating life in fragmented, child-like sentences and spend some educating yourself about the background and issues here.

Private Citizen

December 4th, 2012
12:21 am

bootney, I agree the editorial is a little clanky, but “interdisciplinary” has real meaning. That’s mean when you want to research something that doesn’t fit in to the scripted curricula. As far as “diversity,” yes this is used so much now to promote identity politics and fetish. There’s a real whopper over the Chronicle of Higher Education right now, can almost turn the stomach. Diversity is supposed to contain perspective, not be used for gain of self-selected groups. For example, the Atlanta School Board has very little diversity. That’s a legitimate use of the term. The news video today of the proposed raises for city hall, in the video of the workers commenting, similarly, there was very little diversity. These terms have real meaning and should not be dismissed by you so quickly, if you do not mind me saying so. My internet connection has no diversity. It’s a monopoly, single source for wired internet. This concept also applies to economics and competition. If the editorial author was talking about m/f ratio, I missed it but I will say that across the country I have seen an awful lot of education school graduate student group photos with a bunch of females and one male with a funny look on his face, so to speak. Lest you think I confabulate, here’s one right here from the first page of a Google search of “graduate student groups.” 5 female, 1 male http://scrippsnews.ucsd.edu/Releases/?releaseID=615 And here is 14 female, 8 male http://www.vtnews.vt.edu/articles/2010/09/092710-outreach-globalperspectives.html And 17 female / 5 male http://www.framingham.edu/graduate-and-continuing-education/graduate-programs/international-education-program/index.html

So if you’ve got any manly ideas in graduate school, good luck. You’ll likely be pressured to a different perspective. You know, “global macro” and “relating” in place of “micro” (specific).

PS At this point I think I’ve seen enough charlatans, posers, and creeps to fill the Superbowl.

Private Citizen

December 4th, 2012
12:27 am

Even the University of Minnesota “Diversity” page shows a group photo with, yes, you guessed it, with an 11 to 6 ratio, female to male. https://diversity.umn.edu/gradeducation/studentorganizations

Meanwhile, in Hawaii, it is only 7 female / 5 male http://www.psychology.hawaii.edu/pages/graduate_programs/community.html

JW

December 4th, 2012
12:40 am

I’m with boot bey on this one. When the students pony up the money for a tuition increase to bolster these insolvent programs then they can have them back.

JW

December 4th, 2012
12:41 am

..sheesh, that should say bootney…..stupid auto correct.

Private Citizen

December 4th, 2012
12:42 am

Pride and Joy, I can resonate with concept that there is a distance between journalism and pure research. But I kind of doubt the business school and law school are doing pure research, either. Emory had a journalism major way back when. I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings but it seemed like an easy out compared to traditional language studies, literature etc. And then they did not have a journalism degree for a good long time. And then they did (now) and maybe they won’t. Now if they have people traveling the world doing innovative humanities basedjournalism, that is one thing. If people are using the program and formation to go get a job at CNN in Atlanta, that might be something different. Sounds crass, but the whole undergraduate population is 5k students, is that. Want to study journalism? Get on your motorcycle and get yourself over to UGA in Athens… I don’t know a thing about journalism studies, but the old joke as some other school was that “RTF” (Radio / TV / Film) was the non-critical low-watt degree for getting through. I know a guy with an “RTF” degree and today he’s pushing a media cart around at the same school where he got the degree. Interestingly and unexpectedly, the school where he got the “RTF” degree is the Battlestar Gallactica where they do a lot of the state level education seminar trainings (this is not in Georgia). The guy has pretty good instincts and he said a lot of the trainings seem peculiar. I should follow-up with him on what exactly they are doing to people in those auditoriums with the required attendance for the working professionals.

Jeff Hawkins

December 4th, 2012
12:43 am

They are not insolvent! The university is in SURPLUS! Its endowment grew by 100$ million in the last quarter alone, and the operating budget is at an all-time high.

Private Citizen

December 4th, 2012
12:47 am

JW you’re shadow boxing. humanities degrees are not based on solvent / insolvent, they’re based on the quality of the work being done. Emory already has a billion dollar endowment and $50k/year tuition / expenses. What are you talking about? Some endowed high-end schools make enough money from their endowment investment that they waive undergraduate tuition for those who can get in. When they’re making hundreds of millions of dollars from their sharpie planners and the endowment monies alone, they have to do something with it. If they don’t, it gets conspicuous.

Private Citizen

December 4th, 2012
12:50 am

Emory’s endowment rose 15.0 percent over the one-year period ending June 30, 2011.

Ah yes, the investment class. The whole U. S. is set up to serve them. JW, as far as the endowment, I was wrong. It’s closer to 5 billion. If interested, you can Google it. I’ll skip the link.

Guest

December 4th, 2012
8:46 am

“Why the top kids rather go to Georgia, Bama, Florida, Baylor…”

What planet are you from?

Private Citizen

December 4th, 2012
9:05 am

Imagine working somewhere where your company can make $750 million in a year just by managing investments.

AlreadySheared

December 4th, 2012
9:12 am

Phys Ed? Some people pay Emory coin to major in Phys Ed??

bootney farnsworth

December 4th, 2012
9:15 am

if you got the coin, why not?

IMO opinion, no college should offer a Phys Ed major (Tech schools should), but …

bootney farnsworth

December 4th, 2012
9:19 am

I’d like to see the EU schedule to see how many classes are actually in session on Tues at noon.

with the breathtaking abuses of logic by the author, can’t help but wonder if he chose his walk out time for when the fewest classes are in schedule to help artificially boost his hoped for numbers

bootney farnsworth

December 4th, 2012
9:20 am

real life is gonna hit this boy hard

jarvis

December 4th, 2012
9:59 am

Who pays that kind of cash for a PE Degree? How did they even get into the school?

FYI

December 4th, 2012
11:24 am

“Who pays that kind of cash for a PE Degree?”

Emory DOESN’T offer a PE degree! All undergrads are (were) required to take PE classes (i.e., golf, tennis, swimming, running, etc.) as part of their core requirements.

LJQ

December 4th, 2012
1:01 pm

In response to pride & joy, the issue is not that the division of education should not be closed because it has a substantial numbers of women and minorities, but that it should not be closed because of it’s excellent work. This includes excellent work preparing women and minority Ph.Ds. Please see more at: http://www.change.org/petitions/emory-university-president-james-wagner-and-the-board-of-trustees-continue-the-important-work-of-the-division-of-educational-studies-des

HB

December 4th, 2012
1:13 pm

The Phys Ed at Emory was great when I was a student in the mid-90s. Everyone was required to take 4 semesters and the offerings and professors were wonderful. It wasn’t a major, but it was part of the core curriculum. I really hate to see that go.

Jeff Hawkins

December 4th, 2012
2:12 pm

@Bootney – I notice that you’re not acknowledging the financial data or USNWR issues brought up above. Instead you’re just being ad hominem towards the author of a college newspaper editorial and refusing to update or revise your own arguments in light of substantive responses to your claims. When it comes to “abuses of logic,” I don’t think you’re a credible interlocutor or even a particularly smart person, but you certainly are loud.

geezlouise

December 4th, 2012
2:26 pm

the issue at hand is the violation of protocol-nothing more. i hope the students’ and professors’ goals today match the actual problem at hand.

p.s..thanks Emory, I had a baby for free on your dime. Maybe the admin should look at how its budget makes THAT possible.

emorystudent

December 4th, 2012
3:34 pm

Bootney – the Emory Course Atlas is available online. There are lots of classes on Tuesday at noon, probably as many as at any other time.

http://college.emory.edu/home/academic/course/schedules/2012/fall/index.html