Messages to the Emory community about the posting of flyers at Emory University
April 12, 2019
For media inquiries only:
The university has sent messages to students and other stakeholders since the flyers were distributed. We remain in dialogue with our community and others. The messages are below.
From President Claire E. Sterk (sent Friday, April 12, 2019)
Since the recent campus incident involving mock-eviction notices being placed on the doors of student residences, I have had the privilege of listening to the concerns of a wide range of voices both within and beyond our Emory community. I have been deeply moved not only by what I’ve heard, but also by the personal pain shared by students — and by members of the wider Jewish community — who feel threatened, afraid, and angry.
What happens on the Emory campus does not happen in isolation. All of us are aware that anti-Semitic incidents are on the rise on college campuses and throughout American society today. It is in that context of escalating intolerance that our Jewish students found the mock-eviction notices — which incorrectly gave the impression that Emory endorsed the message on the flyers — on their doors. Although Jewish students were not singled out, they and their families justifiably felt targeted, given the world in which we live.
As we defend our shared right to express controversial views, we must recognize that words and actions have consequences. Freedom of expression has costs, and those costs are not always borne equally. At Emory we must stand with all of our students, faculty, and staff whenever actions threaten their sense of safety or well-being. This is not only important to me personally, but it is also the heart of who we are and what we value as an academic community. Several of the students with whom I recently met eloquently reminded me that many students across our campus — individuals from all backgrounds and all walks of life — have been deeply affected by this incident. I urge us to work together for healing.
We have created a webpage where you can find the most current information about this issue. The website will be updated as new information becomes available, and I encourage you to look there for future updates from our review. Thank you for your attention and for your ongoing commitment to the full thriving of our Emory community.
From President Claire E. Sterk (sent Friday, April 5, 2019)
Over the past few days, students, faculty, parents, alumni and a number of organizations have contacted me and others at the university to express concerns about flyers posted on the doors of student residences and in other personal spaces. In my conversations with many, I’ve listened carefully to their views and felt their emotions. I heard the need to emphasize the right of every member in our community to live in an environment free from personal threats.
Emory’s commitments to creating an environment where all members of the community feel safe and protected and to upholding free speech and vigorous debate remain unquestioned. Emory stands firm against all forms of racism and intolerance. We work hard to create and ensure a climate of mutual respect for everyone in our community. We also stand for transparency and candor. I believe that this week’s events exposed several flaws in our process for the approval, authorization, and distribution of flyers. I don’t want to prejudge the outcome of our investigation or prescribe changes before we know all of the facts. But I’m confident we will balance the need to protect free speech and the security and dignity of all in our community.
I apologize for any part that Emory has played in causing pain to members of our community and those beyond our campus. That is the last thing I would want for anyone who visits, lives, works, or studies at our university. I respect the passions and competing views this experience has generated.
The world today is filled with tension and conflict. Many of the issues that divide our society play out on our campus. For example, the recent shootings in Pittsburgh and New Zealand are tragic evidence that anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim hatred and violence exist. We cannot ignore that reality. To be clear, I condemn such hatred and it will not be tolerated whether it comes from those who are part of the Emory community or those who are outside of it. As we have done in the past, I hope we can agree that the complex issues facing our world today summon us to be citizens of reason and respect, of rational debate and compassion.
From Paul Marthers, Interim Vice President for Campus Life and Vice Provost for Enrollment Management (sent to students Tuesday, April 2, 2019)
Earlier today we heard from a number of Emory students who were upset and concerned by flyers they found posted on their doors and in other areas of campus. They were posted as part of a communication campaign by a student organization concerned with human rights in the Middle East. While we want to create an environment where the free expression of ideas and open, vigorous debate and speech are valued, we must also recognize that the manner in which we communicate can have consequences. In this case, Campus Life is investigating the incident and has engaged with students who created the flyers. While the flyers have been removed from unapproved areas, it does not erase their impact. My hope is we can learn from this incident to bring together in meaningful conversation the many points of view that are needed to advance our understanding of complex issues in the world. The Emory community has confronted many challenging events and issues this academic year. Our ability to move forward as a community through it all has been made possible by a commitment to communicate openly and with respect for one another.
Campus Life, in collaboration with the Office of the President, including the Office of Spiritual and Religious Life, is here to help any member of the community. Below are some of the available resources.
- Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) provides individual, group, and couples counseling; stress management classes; and community outreach to provide support for students and assist them in negotiating emotional and interpersonal difficulties as they matriculate through Emory University. Additional information about CAPS services can be found on the CAPS website or by calling 404-727-7450.
- Office of Spiritual and Religious Life, with offices in Cannon Chapel (Suite 316) and Alumni Memorial University Center (AMUC 125). The Spiritual and Religious Life staff is accessible and available for students, faculty and staff. Learn more on the Office of Spiritual and Religious Life website.
- Student Intervention Services (SIS) assists students in times of crises, not only as an invaluable resource during emergencies, but also as a source of impartial, judgment-free counsel for students seeking guidance and assistance through life's difficult times. Information can be found on the SIS website or by calling 404-430-1120.
- Student Health Services (SHS) offers free psychiatric services for all enrolled Emory students. Services offered include diagnostic psychiatric evaluations, medication evaluations, long-term management of psychiatric medications, and community referrals. Guidance for after-hours emergencies is located on the Student Health Services website or by calling 404-727-7551.