Quad Session Focuses On Future of Depts.
The #EmoryCuts movement held a strategy session Friday afternoon in front of the administration building on the Quad. Students and faculty affected by the recently-announced department changes voiced concerns and constructed a blueprint for moving forward.
The movement developed in response to College Dean Robin Forman’s plan to reallocate resources and eliminate certain departments within the College. He unveiled this plan on Sept. 14.
The University will “phase out” the Division of Educational Studies and the Department of Visual Arts, in addition to Emory’s journalism program.
Moreover, in the Laney Graduate School, the economics and Spanish graduate programs will be suspended.
Additionally, the Institute of Liberal Arts (ILA) will no longer house full-time faculty.
Members of the #EmoryCuts leadership council planned the strategy session through social media such as Facebook and Twitter whereby they were able to publicize the event to students, faculty, and community members interested in the departmental changes.
Graduate students held a similar rally last Monday, where students and faculty expressed their frustrations with the departmental changes.
About 70 students and faculty stood outside the administration building as speakers once again discussed their individual grievances with the decision.
“Today we wanted to finalize our leadership and our organizational structure and solicit representatives from as many departments as we could who would take responsibility for organizing and mobilizing the affected departments,” College junior David Mullins, a member of the #EmoryCuts leadership committee, said.
Joey Orr, who is currently a graduate student in the ILA, criticized Laney Graduate School Dean Lisa Tedesco for not attending the strategy session.
“Dean Lisa Tedesco is the dean of the graduate school. Dean Lisa Tedesco is your dean. She is our dean,” Orr said. “She should be standing beside us and making these [decisions] transparent.”
Speakers at the strategy session addressed the attendees on a variety of topics, ranging from the diminishing role of liberal arts programs at the University to administrative transparency.
Ajit Chittambalam, a seventh-year ILA graduate student, said “these programs were cut without any idea of what to do afterwards.”
He noted that meetings with Tedesco had not been scheduled before graduate students asked for an explanation for why the University would no longer offer doctoral degrees in certain departments.
“This word ‘vision’ becomes very hypocritical if you have a department that cuts programs without an idea of what to do next,” Chittambalam said.
Halfway through the rally, Laura Soltis, a graduate student in the ILA, sang a satirical rendition of Woody Guthrie’s song “This Land is Your Land.”
“This land is my land, this land is your land, from the (Centers for Disease Control) CDC to the library, from the law school building to green Quadrangle, this land was made for you and me,” she sang to the crowd.
Students who attended the session also dispersed into smaller groups whereby they could discuss opportunities and ideas to push the movement forward.
Some said that hey wished to continue using social media networking to establish online initiatives that would help them voice their concerns.
College senior and creator of the Facebook page #EmoryCuts Jonathan Demar said that the group will release a video in the next few days “on how people feel about the liberal arts.”
Demar has also led an online Twitter campaign to encourage celebrities to Tweet information about #EmoryCuts.
The campaign has received celebrity retweets from both “Good Morning America” anchor Lara Spencer and Josh Gad from the Broadway show “Book of Mormon.”
During the rally, #EmoryCuts faced some satirical criticism.
Midway through the discussion, two students held a sign behind the crowd which read, “Emory blows,” poking fun at the event and its significance to the students affected.
Another student walked down the Quadrangle and heckled the activists by yelling, “You guys are so right. I so agree; you’re so really right.” A member of the rally proceeded to chase the student.
Despite the minor heckling, this will not be the last time #EmoryCuts will host a public discussion.
Another rally has already been scheduled on the #EmoryCuts Facebook page for Sept. 27.
“The administration needs to know that this isn’t going to pass over,” College junior Lawrence Balanovsky said. “We need to show them that they won’t be able to simply cut programs without consultation with students and faculty … I am not fully aware of what we are going to do from here, but we will keep voicing our opinion until there is some sort of agreement.”
As the last speaker left the microphone, organizers rallied the group into a chant: “Emory is unjust, reverse the cuts. Emory is unjust, reverse the cuts.”
By Dustin Slade