Update about the posting of flyers at Emory University

April 12, 2019

Contact

Laura Diamond
For media inquiries only:
404-727-8096
laura.diamond@emory.edu

PrintPrint

May 17 Community Update

On April 2, 2019, a student organization, Emory Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), posted mock eviction flyers on the doors of student residences and in common areas on and off the Emory University campus. Since that time, the university has taken the following actions:

  • Flyers posted on residences were removed immediately on April 2 as they violated the university’s posting policy;
  • The practice of Campus Life “stamping” flyers to indicate that they were from a recognized student organization or academic or administrative department is confusing and has been discontinued. It may convey, inaccurately, that Emory endorses particular political speech;
  • While Emory has found no evidence that individual students, or a particular group, were targeted, we recognize that some Jewish students felt they were targeted, and we have apologized for causing pain or confusion;
  • Following our student conduct policy, we have addressed the violations of the flyer posting policy with the students involved and will look for ways to improve adherence to the rules in the future. Based on our review, there will be no further disciplinary action taken regarding this particular incident;
  • Emory University leadership has met with dozens of students and organizations to hear their concerns. Some students have already created their own fora for dialogue and the university is working on additional ways to continue the dialogue in the new school year, including community education, small group discussions, and the involvement of experts from within and outside Emory.

Finally, an opinion was issued by Emory’s University Senate Standing Committee for Open Expression on April 15. The committee does not represent the official positions of the university, but is rather a working group of community members — faculty, staff, and students — that seeks to promote and protect the rights and responsibilities of community members related to issues and controversies involving speech, debate, open expression, protest, and other related matters. This committee serves in an independent, advisory capacity to the University Senate and acted on its own in issuing an opinion regarding the flyers.  University administration did not and does not charge this committee to review any campus issues, and there is no process that requires the administration to take action based on the committee’s independent opinions. Although there will be no further administrative follow up regarding this incident, the many concerns that arose — including allegations of anti-Semitism, personal security and civil discourse — will continue to be addressed within our community.


Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: Did Emory University approve the flyers that were posted?

Emory’s Office of Campus Life did not approve the flyer content. Campus Life reviews flyers that will be posted in residence halls to ensure they are from recognized student organizations or academic or administrative departments. They can receive permission to post flyers under Emory’s posting guidelines, which are consistent with the university’s Respect for Open Expression Policy (see below). Campus Life reviewed these flyers for consistency with that policy.

Respect for Open Expression Policy 8.14.5.8:

Nonpersonal Expression such as flyers, signs, displays, etc. For purposes of nonpersonal expression such as flyers, chalking, signs, and displays, persons expressing themselves should follow all applicable flyer posting policies and banner reservation rules; however, these requirements should not be unreasonable in terms of access, time frame, requirements, or costs to the group. No nonpersonal expression should be denied because of the content of the flyer, sign, or display within the limits of the law. Additionally, a member of the Community who defaces the open expression of others will be held in violation of this policy.

 

Q: Why was Emory’s seal and approval on the flyer?

Campus Life confirms all postings in the residence halls are from recognized student organizations or academic or administrative departments.  After confirming that the flyer was from a registered student group and that it was consistent with the Open Expression policy, Campus Life approved it to post only in designated areas.

The practice of Campus Life “stamping” flyers to indicate that they were from a recognized student organization or academic or administrative department is confusing and has been discontinued. It can convey, inaccurately, that Emory endorses particular political speech. 

 

Q: Where were the flyers posted?

The flyers were taped to the doors of student residences on and off campus, in multiple locations.

 

Q: Did the flyers target Jewish students?

Emory has found no evidence that individual students, or a particular group, were targeted. We recognize, however, that some Jewish students felt they were targeted, and we have apologized for anything Emory may have done to cause pain or confusion.

 

Q: Did the postings follow university rules?  

The flyers were permitted to be posted in designated areas only. Posting on individual doors is not permitted by Emory policy.

 

Q: What were the consequences for students involved in posting the flyers on residence doors?

Following our student conduct policy, we have addressed the violations of the flyer posting policy with the students involved and will look for ways to improve adherence to the rules in the future. Based on our review, there will be no further disciplinary action taken regarding this particular incident.

 

Q: How has Emory responded to the postings?

The flyers were removed from unapproved areas on April 2, while Emory commenced its review. Since then, university leadership has communicated in many ways with our community, provided outreach and other resources, and remains in open dialogue with organizations and individuals who were affected and are concerned about these events.

 

Q:  What impact does the recent opinion by the University Senate Standing Committee on Open Expression have on next steps regarding this incident? 

On April 15 an opinion was issued by Emory’s University Senate Standing Committee for Open Expression.  The committee does not represent official positions of the university, but is rather a working group of community members — faculty, staff, and students — that seeks to promote and protect the rights and responsibilities of community members related to issues and controversies involving speech, debate, open expression, protest, and other related matters. The committee seeks to apply the principles on freedom of expression which are set out in the university’s Respect for Open Expression policy

This committee serves in an independent, advisory capacity to the University Senate and acted on its own in issuing an opinion regarding the flyers. University administration did not and does not charge this committee to review any campus issues, and there is no process that requires the administration to take action based on the committee’s independent opinions.

 

Q: What can Emory learn from this?

Emory is considering improvements to our internal processes and policies. Any recommended changes will maintain a balance between Emory’s strong support for free speech and the safety, dignity and privacy of our students.

 

Messages to our community

Read messages from Emory University leaders to our community about the flyers.

 

Committee for Open Expression

Read the opinion of the Emory University Senate Standing Committee for Open Expression related to the flyers.