To the Editor:

With the recent announcement of both cuts and a significant restructuring of many departments, many facets of the Emory community were quick to question such decisions, and are justified in doing so; however, it is apparent that the arguments for and against such changes are very diverse and complex. Thus, the necessary skepticism should be thoughtful, not arbitrary. Unfortunately, many of the criticisms so far don’t seem to be taking into account all the variables in the equation, and likewise aren’t aware of much of the hypocrisy present within such statements. While the decision to cut the departments may seem rash to many of the students, we likewise need to acknowledge that making an uninformed judgment of such a decision is even more rash.

As an ardent critic of many of Emory’s administrative policies and its overall cohesion as an institution, I do not intend to justify the decisions made regarding the cuts, nor do I wish to disqualify any arguments against such actions. I seek to reveal the true nature of what I believe to be the heart of many of Emory’s problems. I claim that Dr. Forman has become a scapegoat for a much deeper issue. Unfortunately, he is a scapegoat for both sides. By sending the letter to the students, he is in effect representing an administration of many more individuals and much more powerful than himself. Likewise, by featuring two pictures of Forman in the recent Wheel, countless references of his name, and even so far as some students (unaffiliated with the Wheel, I hope) creating a “satirical” Twitter account impersonating the man, he is made out to be the archetype of an negligent decision maker. Posting pictures of him and constantly referencing his name will only inhibit any progress to be made in coming to terms with the recent decisions.

While these cuts are perceived to be rash and arbitrary, Dr. Forman is not the sole individual responsible for them, and the changes were made with abundant forethought and analysis of the situation. Foreman did not laugh maniacally when writing the letter; he is aware of the loss the cuts will have on our community. The ignorance in using Dr. Foreman as a scapegoat for the decision is in fact more fundamental and extreme than any ignorance Dr. Foreman himself is responsible of for in making the decision.

Rather than blame our new Dean for his supposed oversights, we should deeply inquire into what various financial, administrative, and departmental interests were analyzed and how they were compared in making the decision at hand. My own experience at Emory has revealed a variety of inefficiencies in administrative policy and the communication necessary to improve upon such defects. The apparent lack of transparency is ubiquitous; this instance is by no means an exception.

I find that Emory, rather than being an integrated institution, is a conglomerate of disconnected entities with very little communication between students, professors, administrators, staff, and the greater community. This lack of communication only serves to enhance a variety of independent and often competing interests. Different departments are forced to fight for funds instead of attempting to collaborate with other departments to create a contiguous academic experience for its students.

Rather than defining ourselves by our differences, we need to understand the interdisciplinary nature of every subject from mathematics to the arts. We’re all people, and we’re all working to improve the world in some way or another. In order to help achieve this goal shared by the Emory community, our institution needs to encourage the exchange of knowledge and ideas on all levels. The pertinent question is whether these new changes will enhance or inhibit this process.

Perhaps further analysis of the interactions between the various components of the University will allow the community to work for its own best interests and address the true nature of the problems at hand.

 

 Warrick Macmillan

       Emory College

       Class of 2013