Psychology Faculty Members Call for Response From Board of Trustees

The Wheel has obtained the following letter, which is from members of the Psychology department addressed to the Board of Trustees.

March 20, 2013

Dear Emory Board of Trustees,

We, the undersigned, are faculty members within the Emory Department of Psychology who strongly support and second the letter sent by the English Department on March 6, 2013 (please note that we are signing as individuals, and do not pretend to speak for the full department). We believe that it is profoundly important to Emory’s academic reputation that the Emory Board of Trustees publicly repudiate President Wagner’s recent deeply troubling comments in Emory Magazine on the three-fifths compromise as a model compromise.

President Wagner’s statement, even after his subsequent apology, has cast a shadow of racism over Emory that needs to be renounced explicitly by the Emory Board of Trustees. We are further concerned that President Wagner’s statement is only the latest example of his actions tarnishing Emory’s academic reputation and standing in the larger academic community. More broadly, we are concerned that President Wagner’s ineffective communication with the Emory community on a host of contentious issues has inadvertently contributed to a sense of unease, mistrust, and demoralization among Emory faculty and students. In our view, President Wagner’s problematic leadership hinders Emory’s efforts to move forward towards academic excellence and to heal our racial wounds.

Many of our colleagues, as well as current and potential students, are watching to see what action Emory will take to correct the damage that President Wagner has done to our university’s reputation. Public comment from the Board of Trustees is an essential first step towards undoing this damage. We also strongly encourage the Board of Trustees to reach out to Emory faculty to solicit their input concerning the implications of President Wagner’s leadership for the future of the university.


Patricia Brennan

Scott Lilienfeld

Stella Lourenco

Donna Maney

Laura Namy

Lynne Nygaard

Philippe Rochat

Irwin Waldman

Kim Wallen