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Emory University statements regarding Emory Law School community issue

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Statement: March 4, 2020

At the request of the Emory Law School and Professor Paul Zwier, the university’s Faculty Hearing Committee held a hearing and has provided both parties with findings and recommendations regarding the professor’s employment status.

The dean announced on March 4 that Zwier will remain a tenured member of the Emory Law faculty, however, he will not teach mandatory courses before Fall 2021. He may begin carrying out his research and administrative duties, and he will likely return to the law school community before the end of this term.

As this is a personnel matter, we are unable to provide additional information. The Committee’s report remains confidential.

Emory University is committed to academic freedom, including the ability of faculty members to make pedagogical choices that include addressing controversial topics. At the same time, the university seeks to prevent discriminatory harassment and to promote an inclusive learning environment for all students. Emory’s Equal Opportunity and Discriminatory Harassment Policy recognizes the intersection of these values.


Statement: Sept. 18, 2019

In a Sept. 18 letter to the Emory Law School community, Interim Dean James B. Hughes Jr. outlined the steps that will be taken to reinforce the school’s commitment to the principles of equity, inclusion and respect in light of a law school professor Paul Zwier’s use of the “n” word during a classroom lecture. 

After extensive discussions with members of the Emory community, including the students and professor affected by the incident and with clergy and legal representatives in the greater Atlanta community, Dean Hughes has outlined multiple steps that the professor has agreed to take in order to help begin the healing process for the Emory Law School community. These steps include: not teaching any course, for the next two years, in which students do not have the ability to choose their professor; engaging in dialogues focused on racial sensitivity; revising teaching manuals to provide appropriate ways to cover racially sensitive materials; and participating in sensitivity and unconscious bias training. 

Below are links to Dean Hughes’ letter and Professor Zwier’s message to the law school community sent earlier today.

Dean Hughes’ Sept. 18 letter to Emory Law community >>

Professor Zwier’s Sept. 18 letter to Emory Law community >>

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