@JF Williams - Indeed. In the coming two weeks, it's also going to drop that in the past semester, journalism program students were doing independent research into Emory partners and campus institutions as part of a university-funded online journalism initiative... which was summarily cut when the Deans decided they didn't like what the students were writing about. And now, this semester, the entire program gets the ax. Like I said to @Max above - the university has a lot to hide here - and I hope that the media shows the initiative to do some actual digging.
@Max - Nice work on this (seriously). Here's something you might find interesting. An editorial in the Emory Wheel last week spelled out in extensive statistical detail what these cuts mean for the demographics of Emory as a diverse community (I paste the link below). Responding in the comments section in her official capacity as a Communications Officer for the University, Nancy Siederman stated that "These statistics are misleading" - and then simply repasted the exact same prose they released above. There was no actual discussion of why those statistics were "misleading," no discussion of the difficult questions about race and demographics the editorial brought up - just the same press release, repeated again. There's a story here Max - a real story. The administration's autistic repetitions of the same thing over and over again combine with their dismissal of their opponents as simply being "confused" (rather than being in substantive if arguable disagreement) to indicate that they're hiding something, that they're afraid to engage in dialogue, and that they're hoping that if they just say the same thing enough times over and over again the storm will pass. Please, Max - don't let them get away this. You can disagree with a lot of the policy objections the administration's opponents have brought up, and even like Forman himself, but the way the administration is going about this isn't right - they're trying to bury a real story through monotonous repetition disguised as "dialogue." Please, Max - look into this. I know you took some heat from a lot of the people in the Emory student community last week, but try not to take it personally - there's a story here, a big one, and folks on campus are desperately trying to get it out into the media against the odds. Please - look into this more. http://www.emorywheel.com/cuts-disproporti…
@WesleyWhatWhat - Howabout because they are mainly in a department that does outreach to Atlanta's urban public schools? Howabout because a university in THE SOUTH that time and again has banked on the pretense of community engagement should think twice before wantonly slashing its minority representation? Howabout because "ethical engagement" means dealing with the legacy of racism and racial injustice - instead of washing the institutions hands of it?
@Burroughston - Are you really going to go with the "they-must-all-have-been-affirmative-action-hires" line? Against the backdrop of how these cuts effectively also constitute the termination of 25% of Emory's non-tenured faculty of color as well as the obliteration of a century-old Education program that provides teachers to impoverished Atlanta schools, do you have any idea how ugly that sounds? As for the quality of the journalism program itself, as a co-major program, the department produces not just excellent journalism students (many of whom go on to do great work - check out the department's online material for profiles and a list of awards) but ones who have a rigorous background in another field as well - which improves the quality of their reportage as finance journalists, science journalists, etc. This is a really valuable aspect of the program.
RE: China, you're right, I suppose it's very possible that there may be some folks over "there" who will benefit ultimately through the new Chinese Studies Program Emory will be opening on its Atlanta campus. Yet it remains to be seen precisely how this will be the case since we have no idea what this program is officially supposed to do or even if it will actually HAVE a physical presence in China. But even more importantly - and this goes to why so many people on this thread are upset with you - the more imperative question would be how the putative dividends of a trendy-sounding academic-business venture abroad somehow makes a SCINTILLA of a difference in the lives of the Atlanta faculty, staff, teachers, and schoolchildren whom Emory is basically kicking to the curb, and whom are presumably community constituents whom Creative Loafing as a publication and you as a local reporter should care about.Your job as a reporter isn't to ask me your reader half-baked hypothetical questions like "don't [YOU] think additional resources into studying China would also benefit there as well?" but to ask actual substantive questions to the people you interview. These are powerful people who are paid to give you easy answers, misdirections, and obfuscation and not asking them real questions gives them license to do whatever they want - with the apparent added sanction of having undergone the scrutiny of the media. You and CL gave the Dean that sanction - and went beyond it with this straight-up paean of an editorial. And that's the real problem here: in your interview, and in this editorial, you basically just flat-out deferred to power, and you seem still inclined to give it an overly generous benefit of the doubt even now. You did not present "both sides" of this issue - you just gave a platform to the more powerful one and let it drown out its ragged opponents even more. The situation faced by the less powerful side isn't just "another angle" you neglected - it's a responsibility you ignored. Yes, indeed, this is "worth covering more" - but I don't think you're the man to do it.
Hey Max! You know what you don't mention here at all? The fact that these cuts impact faculty and staff of color - by a grossly disproportionate margin! I paste the demographic data (available from Emory's own online resources) below. You know what else you don't mention? That the Education Division, which is being cut entirely, is one of the oldest of its kind in the country, has historic links to the NAACP and the Civil Rights movements, and has been an *essential* provider of teachers and school administrations to some of the poorest parts of the South. Also cut along with that is the ed department's TITUS program - which provides teachers directly to some of the most poverty-stricken schools in Atlanta! Never mind also that the education department produces more African-American PhDs than any other Department on campus, by a factor of nearly three! But that's OK I'm sure you did your research and decided that these elements just weren't really that newsworthy or important.
Here's the stats that I'm sure you already know but left out because they weren't important and because it would have been tacky to ask Dean Forman about them: Overall, minorities made up 14.8% of full-time faculty in 2009, but 45.5% DES faculty, 40% of Russian and East Asian Languages and Cultures faculty, 47.8% of Spanish and Portuguese faculty, 25% of Physical Education faculty, and 20% of Economics faculty. These 5 departments are within the top 9 departments in terms of minority representation of the University's 36 departments in the College of Arts and Sciences. Likewise, in 2009 (when statistics were last taken) women made up 40% of Emory's full-time faculty in 2009, but 100% of Journalism faculty, 80% of Russian and East Asian Languages and Cultures faculty, 60% of Spanish and Portuguese faculty, 55% of DES faculty, 50% of Visual Arts faculty, and 50% of Physical Education faculty. These 6 departments are within the top 15 departments in terms of representation of women. All these departments are now being either cut or left to wither on the vine in an indefinite "suspension" that will effectively attrite them to the point where they might as well be closed.
Now most people might look at the ugly demographics of the firings and the elimination of a historic education department with deep ties to the Atlanta community and Southern History and see something newsworthy, but I guess you don't. Maybe you just think that Emory's sexy new outreach to China will trickle down into improving the lives of kids in Bankhead (somehow) or that throwing yet more money at neuroscience will compensate for the sudden loss of one of the most prolific producers of committed education PhDs of color in the South. Or maybe these impacts just didn't occur to you. Or maybe CL is just like the AJC and is so grateful for face-time with Emory's charming dean that it will just reprint university talking points unquestioningly and without doing additional research. Either way, great job on hard-hitting reporting - that utterly leaves out the impact on the people hardest hit by these brutal cuts.
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