An Open Letter from the Student Re-Visioning Committee

February 4, 2013 

Mr. Ben F. Johnson III
Chair, Board of Trustees
Emory University
Atlanta, GA 30030 

Dear Sir:

As you know, on September 14, 2012, Emory College Dean Robin Forman announced the most extensive cuts and closures in Emory’s history, eliminating or indefinitely suspending seven departments and programs. The Emory community has since learned of the flawed and secretive manner in which the cuts were determined and enacted, in violation of Emory’s own bylaws1, 2 and endorsed ethical principles.3Concerned Emory undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, and staff have organized to form the Student Re-Visioning Committee, in order to object to the content of the cuts and the manner in which they were devised. The ostensible goal of the cuts was to free up $4.5 million dollars for reinvestment,4 under the pretext of limited financial resources. Yet our financial situation is far more rosy: Emory currently enjoys a budget surplus,5 a $100 million return on endowment investments in 2012 alone,6 and a successful fundraising campaign that has exceeded donation goals by $90 million.7 Conservatively, these gains equal 40 times the amount of money that was “re-allocated” in the dismantling of these valuable programs.

Given the flawed governance processes, the violation of Emory’s ethical principles, the indefensible loss of valuable programs, departments, faculty, and staff, and Emory’s newfound financial windfall, we, the Student Re-Visioning Committee, demand that the Board of Trustees, in partnership with the Emory administration: 

1. Reverse the cuts.
2. Implement formal and meaningful student, faculty and staff participation on all key decision making bodies.
3. Fully disclose and investigate all College Financial Advisory Committee proceedings. 

The SRC would like to request a meeting with the Board to discuss these demands. The Emory community looks forward to the Board’s response.

The Student Re-Visioning Committee 

Cor Prudentis Possidebit Scientiam: “The wise heart seeks knowledge.”
Emory University motto, Proverbs 18:15