The Emory College of Arts and Sciences (ECAS) faculty voted that they do not have confidence in Emory University President Gregory Fenves on May 3. Out of the 477 ECAS faculty who voted, 358 (75.05%) voted for the motion of no confidence, while 119 (24.95%) voted against it. The College Senate approved the referendum, titled “Motion of No Confidence and Demand for Redress,” in an April 26 emergency meeting the day after law enforcement ended a pro-Palestine encampment on the Quadrangle and arrested 28 people.

The motion called the events of April 25 “unprecedented” in Emory’s history. Additionally, it condemned the Emory administration’s decision to call police, “violence” and the “use of force,” the arrests and “the false statements by President Fenves and other members of the administration.”

The motion concluded by stating that Fenves’ “words and actions do not represent the values of ECAS Faculty and the College of Arts and Sciences.” 

Emory University President Gregory Fenves received a vote of no confidence from The Emory College of Arts and Sciences (ECAS) faculty on May 3.

Professor of History Clifton Crais wrote the motion and said that it was his “ethical duty” to make his opinion known. Crais, an at-large member of the College Senate, added that faculty have been frustrated with Fenves and the administration since Emory Police Department officers instructed “Stop Cop City” protestors to leave the Quad or face arrest on April 25, 2023. According to Crais, the arrests of students and faculty members — and the use of tactics such as irritant gas to do so — influenced the senate members to hold the referendum. 

“This is an incredibly sad day for Emory University,” Crais said. “The faculty have, over the past year … tried to work extremely hard with the central administration so that we would not repeat what had unfolded last April.” 

Crais, who said he cast his vote of no confidence with “sadness and reluctance,” explained that the faculty who voted against the measure may be concerned with the repercussions a vote of no confidence may have on the University.

In an email to The Emory Wheel, Assistant Vice President of University Communications Laura Diamond wrote that Emory takes ECAS faculty’s concerns seriously. She added that “there are a wide range of perspectives.” 

ECAS faculty is the second college faculty body within the University to file a no-confidence motion against Fenves, following Oxford College. Over 90% of Oxford faculty members cast a vote against Fenves during a referendum that ended on April 30.

Despite ECAS and Oxford faculty’s votes and additional no-confidence votes from College Council, the Emory Student Nurses Association and the Oxford Student Government Association, the decision to remove Fenves lies with the Emory Board of Trustees. Crais said he does not know if ECAS faculty’s vote will affect the Board of Trustees’ opinion of Fenves. 

“I would imagine this rebuke of his leadership will produce positive change in his behavior,” Crais said.

+ posts

Spencer Friedland (26C) is from Long Island, New York and is the Emory Wheel's Managing News Editor. He is a Philosophy, Politics and Law major and has a secondary major in Film. Spencer is also a part of the Franklin Fellows program at Emory.