Emory police announce arrest in incident of racism and antisemitism at Emory Autism Center
Sept. 22, 2021
Update: Sept. 22, 2021
Sheriff Melody M. Maddox and the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department partnered with Emory police in the arrest of Roy Lee Gordon Jr. earlier today on the charge of burglary second degree. The Emory Police Department (EPD) issued a warrant on Aug. 20 charging Gordon, a former part-time/temporary employee at Emory. On Aug. 9, Emory Autism Center staff members arrived to discover graffiti depicting racial slurs and swastikas and damage to physical property.
“This case was a priority for our entire department, including our security systems team,” says Emory Police Chief Cheryl D. Elliott. “I’m proud of the work from the team and our law enforcement partners to recognize the sensitivity of this case to our community and bring a resolution.”
Acts of racism and antisemitism are painful for the entire Emory community. EPD’s priority is fostering a safe and inclusive campus for all faculty, staff, students, patients and their families, while upholding Emory’s values and commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.
Update: Aug. 20, 2021
Emory police issue warrant following acts of racism, antisemitism at Emory Autism Center
The Emory Police Department (EPD) obtained an arrest warrant Friday regarding the recent incident at the Emory Autism Center that included graffiti with racial slurs and swastikas and damage to physical property. Roy Lee Gordon, Jr., a former part-time temporary employee at Emory, was charged with burglary second degree.
Emory University is committed to fostering a safe and inclusive campus for all faculty, staff, students, patients and their families.
Original post: Aug. 12, 2021
University investigates acts of racism, antisemitism at Emory Autism Center
Emory University leaders have sent letters and offered support to faculty and staff affiliated with the Emory Autism Center (EAC) regarding vandalism that occurred this past weekend at the center, which is based on the university’s Clairmont campus.
On Monday, Aug. 9, staff members arrived to discover graffiti depicting racial slurs and swastikas and damage to physical property. The EAC is working closely with the Emory University Police Department to investigate this incident.
In communications, university leaders stated: “These acts of racism and antisemitism are painful for all of us at the EAC and in the Emory community. They will not be tolerated and every effort will be made to bring the perpetrators to justice. Our priority remains the wellbeing and safety of our faculty, staff, learners, patients and their families, and upholding our values and Emory’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.”
As information becomes available it will be shared with the Emory community.
The following letter was sent Aug. 10, 2021:
Dear faculty and staff of the Emory Autism Center,
We understand you may have received information yesterday regarding an incident that occurred over the weekend at the Emory Autism Center (EAC). A senseless act of vandalism including graffiti with racial slurs and swastikas, and damage to physical property was discovered as staff returned to the office on Monday, August 9.
These acts of racism and antisemitism are painful for all of us at the EAC and in the Emory community. They will not be tolerated and every effort will be made to bring the perpetrators to justice. Our priority remains the wellbeing and safety of our faculty, staff, learners, patients and their families, and upholding our values and Emory’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.
The EAC is working closely with the Emory University Police Department (EUPD) to investigate this incident. If you or anyone you know has information related to this crime, please contact EUPD directly at 404-727-6115. We will keep our team updated as more information becomes available.
Over the past day, we have had many conversations with Emory leadership and faculty and staff of the EAC to address the incident and provide support to those affected. Incidents of this nature can also impact others beyond those directly involved, and we want everyone to know we are here for you. The EAC is mindful of the concern and anxiety this may cause and wants to ensure that you are aware of the resources and support available to you:
- The Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences is working with the Faculty Staff Assistance Program (FSAP) to support faculty and staff ;at the Emory Autism Center. You should have already received information about an upcoming event taking place this afternoon.
- FSAP offers individual and group support for faculty and staff members. Contact 404-727-9355 or visit www.fsap.emory.edu. You can also send an email for assistance to email@example.com
- The Emory University Office of Spiritual and Religious Life (OSRL) is a multifaith resource center that supports all faculty, staff and students around spirituality, ethics and cultures and can offer pastoral and community support. Contact 404-727-6226, firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.religiouslife.emory.edu.
- The Emory University Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (ODEI) fosters an inclusive community that promotes a positive educational environment, fairness and access, and supports compliance efforts as they relate to equal opportunities and affirmative action laws and regulations. Contact 404-727-9867 or visit https://equityandinclusion.emory.edu to learn about the department’s office locations and staff directory.
As we heal in the days and weeks ahead, it is important that we continue to support and provide strength to one another. Our goal will remain to provide an environment and a learning community focused on each other and maintaining an inclusive society where everyone’s identity is valued and celebrated.
Jonathan S. Lewin, MD, FACR
Executive Vice President for Health Affairs, Emory University
Executive Director, Woodruff Health Sciences Center
President, CEO, and Chairman of the Board, Emory Healthcare
Vikas P. Sukhatme MD ScD
Dean and Woodruff Professor, Emory School of Medicine
Chief Academic Officer, Emory Healthcare
Founding Director, Morningside Center for Innovative and Affordable Medicine
William M. McDonald, MD
Fuqua Chair for Late-Life Depression, Emory University School of Medicine
Interim Department Chair, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Chief of Psychiatric Services, Emory Healthcare