A few weeks ago, as it often does, Emory made national headlines. This time, however, it was not for having a faculty member named poet laureate or for some philanthropic act benefitting the community. For nearly a decade, Emory was misrepresenting admissions data in the area of SAT scores and class ranking. An internal investigation found three individuals responsible and because of this, the reputation of this esteemed institution will suffer.
Or will it? As an incoming freshman, in the midst of packing and preparing to move in, I had to ask myself some questions: Do I want to go to a school where this is acceptable? Do I think this will affect the school long-term? The answers were easy.
As Dean Forman explained in his lecture to first-year students, Emory had “accurate data but answered the wrong question.” Yes, the actions of the three past officials at the university were not good for Emory’s image. But he went on to say that, “Emory is an ethical university and full of integrity. Integrity isn’t what happens when you do well, it’s how you handle things when they go bad.”
That answered my first question. Dishonesty of any sort is unacceptable at this school and instead of sweeping this under the rug and making silent changes, the incident and all its details were disclosed in full to the public. Emory stresses ethics and ethical decisions, which made me feel even more confident enrolling here.
With regard to the effect on the school, I contend that Emory will only grow stronger as a result of this incident. Oscar Wilde once said that, “experience is simply the name we give mistakes.” While the blooming tree of higher education and knowledge that Emory represents has been pruned by mistakes, it will only grow back and provide a sweeter fruit for students to enjoy for generations to come. From its beautiful campus to unsurpassed excellence in research and inquiry, Emory is a place that has captivated my heart and the hearts of countless others. For those who are dissuaded by a potential drop in ranking or other superficial qualities, Emory isn’t the place for you.
The Emory I have seen is one where the only numbers that matter are the number of friends I’ve made during orientation or the unlimited number of swipes at the DUC. The Emory I know puts an emphasis on striving to learn academically as well as ethically engage with the world. It is demonstrated on a daily basis. Whether Dean of Admission is calling attention to discrepancies or the ethics professor is pushing her students to dig deeper and grow inquisitive minds, it is evident that, at Emory, “The Wise Heart Seeks Knowledge.”
This wise heart could not be prouder to call himself an Eagle.
Stephen Fowler is a College freshman from McDonough, Georgia.