Continuing its efforts to protest the University’s departmental and program changes, the #EmoryCuts movement hosted a protest during the Laney Graduate School (LGS) Homecoming Conversation, which administrators held at the Goizueta Business School yesterday.
Protesters interrupted the Homecoming Conversation, during which administrators – including Dean of LGS Lisa Tedesco and President Emeritus James Laney – discussed the state of education and LGS’ goals. The Emory Alumni Association sponsored the event.
At #EmoryCuts’ third strategy session on the Quad, students voiced their dissatisfaction with the departmental changes, and students and faculty then marched to the B-School to demonstrate frustrations with College Dean Robin Forman’s plan for academic reallocation.
Forman announced his plans, which would gradually “phase out” and suspend several programs, in a Sept. 14 University-wide email.
While marching down the Quad, the group of protesters chanted a slew of slogans such as, “No ifs, no buts, no education cuts,” as well as “Forman says cut that; we say fight back.”
Once the group arrived at the B-School, the protesting students and faculty walked silently into the Conversation. About 40 protesters stood in back of the room and down the side isles holding neon green signs that depicted a snake with the phrase “Reject the Cuts” pictured above it.
The snake image and its accompanying slogan originated during the Revolutionary War, during which colonists rebelling against the British adopted the same design.
Neither Tedesco nor Laney acknowledged the group of protesters.
The protestors stood in silence and held up their signs for about 10 minutes before the meeting concluded.
After the meeting ended, the protestors handed out fliers with the “Join or Die” image printed on their signs to attendees.
Most of the student protesters said that they were pleased with their demonstration.
“I think today’s protest got us attention,” College sophomore Elizabeth Hennig said. “It was a great way to spice up how we’ve been doing things because so far we have just been having rallies. This is a great way to raise more awareness.”
However, not all students who participated in the protest agree that the protest was effective.
“I’m not sure if the protest was successful, but there are a lot of plans underway,” said Bree Beal, who is currently a first year graduate student in the Institute of Liberal Arts (ILA). “There are several different fronts on which this is being discussed and battled.”
Before the protest at the B-School, students and faculty of the #EmoryCuts movement gathered on the Quad in front of the administration building.
“The University is betting that our passion will die down, the dust will settle and they can move on, but we’re not going to let the dust settle on this one,” Katherine Bryant, a fourth year neuroscience graduate student, said.
This strategy session followed the same format of the previous two, whereby students stood on the steps of the administration building and voiced their concerns with the departmental changes as well as their frustration that the administration had not yet addressed the issues they have had with them.
“It seems to me that [these cuts] were inherently an undemocratic, totalitarian and tyrannical process, which on behalf of you all, I reject,” said Kevin Corrigan, director of the ILA.
Students were adamant in their requests for a response from the administration.
“The administration needs to work with us to plan the future of the ILA,” Beal said. “They need to actually have a conversation with us. It was deliberately hidden from us. There were all kinds of opportunities for them to indicate what there plans were and they didn’t take those opportunities on purpose.”
College senior Jonathan Demar, founder of the #EmoryCuts Facebook page, summarized the day’s meeting through stating, “My final message is this: now is not the time for us to stand divided; it is time for us to stand together. Who knows if another program will be cut? We must stand together.”
– By Dustin Slade
Correction (9/29 at 1:08 p.m.): This article has been revised from its original version. The original article said that the protesters’ signs read “Join or Die.” They actually read “Reject the Cuts.”