Emory leaders hold follow-up meeting regarding college plan

By Nancy Seideman | Dec. 7, 2012

Emory President Jim Wagner and Emory College Dean Robin Forman met with 10 students and faculty members today to continue their Dec. 4th discussion about the changes in academic programs that will take place according to a multi-year plan announced by the dean this fall.  

During the meeting, the students repeated their demands that the changes be reversed, that there be meaningful student participation in decision-making, and that the work of the College Financial Advisory Committee be fully disclosed.  Dean Forman briefly reviewed the process and bases for the decisions and commented on the steps being taken to engage students in helping to shape the future of Emory. 

"Although we made some progress in reviewing the process that led to these decisions, I am disappointed by the overall tenor of the meeting," said Wagner. "The students did not take the opportunity for real dialogue with Dean Forman, but rather presented the same demands. Based on the agenda we had agreed to on Tuesday, I expected more." 

During the meeting, according to Wagner, he and Forman stated that the changes in academic programs announced in September would not be reversed.  

"We all share a concern for the future of the college and of the university. Although we disagree regarding the decisions that have been made to date, we look forward to finding ways to more actively engage faculty and students in the process," said Wagner, citing as an example the student advisory committee that the dean has asked the College Council to appoint that will offer input going forward.  

"There are important and exciting questions to be explored about the future of Emory College, and I was hoping to be able to engage the students in a conversation about how we can best work together to ensure our shared goal of making Emory College as exciting and vibrant as it can be," said Forman. "Unfortunately, that did not happen. Fortunately, the articulation of our vision for the future is an ongoing process that already is engaging the thought and enthusiastic work of many faculty members, and I look forward to adding to these conversations the new student committee organized by the College Council."   

About 40 people were gathered outside of Candler Library while the meeting was taking place.  Afterwards, student organizers addressed the assembled, calling the session "acrimonious and fruitless." Student spokespeople called for continued mobilization to make administrators "come to the table again."