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Work advances on class, labor, diversity issues

The work of commissions, task forces and campus-wide initiatives continues this semester, with a focus on issues that range from class, labor and diversity to open expression and civil dialogue.

Advisory Council on Community and Diversity

Over the past year, divisional committees within the University and the Emory Healthcare system conducted self-assessments on issues of community and diversity within their schools and units. Each division then submitted a report to the Advisory Council's Steering Committee and participated in a discussion about it.

In December, Dona Yarbrough, associate vice provost for community and diversity and steering committee chair, began meeting with divisional leaders to discuss the steering committee's feedback and recommendations and to gather feedback in schools about the inaugural self-reporting process. Yarbrough will present a summary report to the president and provost in February, which will feature divisional best practices and challenges, as well as enterprise-wide recommendations. President James Wagner will discuss report highlights at an Employee Council Town Hall on April 16.

Barkley Forum/Eagles Speak

A debate series intended to encourage civil discourse around controversial issues will continue this semester with free monthly debates hosted by The Barkley Forum, Emory's nationally recognized, award-winning debate team and community service organization, and Eagles Speak, a student organization dedicated to encouraging civil dialogue on campus.

The debate series was launched last year by Emory's Division of Campus Life in response to concerns about issues of race, gender, privilege and sexual violence that were raised during campus-wide forums held during the 2012-2013 academic year. At the same time, Eagles Speak was chartered to work in collaboration with other student groups to promote a campus culture that produces and honors civil and civic dialogue. Community participation is welcome.

Other semester highlights include:

  • "Study Drugs and How Emory Should Respond to Their Use"— a public debate in collaboration with the Committee on Academic Integrity; Thursday, Jan. 29. (Details TBD).
  • Residential Life Debate Competition: Residence halls will compete against one another as part of the Residential Academic Engagement Initiative. Tentatively scheduled for April.

Commission on the Liberal Arts

In November, the Commission on the Liberal Arts (CoLA) announced appointments to three major subcommittees, along with mandates to guide their work. The subcommittees are:

  • Learning Through Instruction:

    Co-chairs Kim Loudermilk, Institute for the Liberal Arts, and Maeve Howett, School of Nursing

  • Learning Through Innovation:

     Co-chairs Hiram Maxim, German studies, and Jacque Galipeau, School of Medicine

  • Learning Through Integration:

     Co-chairs Thee Smith, Religion, and Ruth Parker, School of Medicine

Committee work continues through the spring semester to develop strategic goals and concrete recommendations to help re-think current structures and processes in ways that will highlight what Emory does well and what can be improved in order to achieve the core values of a liberal education. CoLA invites campus-wide involvement by attending upcoming forums and town halls or visiting the website ( and providing feedback.

Committee on Class and Labor

After examining the role of class and status in Emory's non-academic labor force, the committee presented its first series of recommendations to the University Senate last spring. Work now focuses on the second phase of study, which examines the academic workforce. An update will be presented to the University Senate this spring.

Subsequent phases of the study will explore academic labor, the relationship between academic labor and non-academic labor, and the relationship between students and all labor on campus.

Task Force on Dissent, Protest and Community

In October, the Stage II Task Force on Dissent, Protest and Community proposed the adoption of a new "Respect for Open Expression Policy" to the University Senate, outlining investigative procedures for individuals who believe their right to open expression has been violated; community responsibilities around free speech and assembly and enforcement procedures; and the creation of two new groups — a Committee for Open Expression and Open Expression Observers. The new policy was adopted by the University Senate.

Work continues this semester on assembling the 13-member Committee for Open Expression, to be comprised of faculty, staff and students. Nominations will be presented for approval at this month's University Senate meeting. A separate, but similar, committee will be formed on the Oxford campus.  

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