Editorials

Emory’s administration prides itself on providing one of the most sustainable university dining experiences in the nation. With about 40 percent of its food locally sourced, the University is taking bold steps to minimize its environmental impact. However, these efforts too often come at a cost to students and their families in the form of expensive food options.

Emory should add more affordable food options to its existing offerings. The University has, for example, three different Kaldi’s Coffee locations whose free-trade practices contribute to exorbitant pricing. On campus, Kaldi’s has the longest hours, giving students who want to eat a full late-night meal few other options. While we recognize the value of a fair-trade coffee and upscale-food option on campus, there should be more affordable options on campus with better hours.

At Emory, the Office of Student Success Programs and Services (OSSPS) is the main source of support for students experiencing food insecurity. Since 2015, OSSPS has combated food insecurity on campus by allowing students to donate meal plan guest swipes to students in need, and through the Eagle Food Co-op at Bread Coffeehouse and emergency meal vouchers. The food pantry at Bread Coffeehouse served at least 63 individual students in the 2017-18 school year, helping food-insecure undergraduate and graduate students. However, while occasional free meals are a good stopgap measure, they are neither a consistent nor a sustainable way to provide food. OSSPS’ programs should be better publicized and bolstered by a broader program to decrease food insecurity on campus.

OSSPS also aims to help students in the long term by teaching them budgeting skills, advising them on where to get food and pointing them to government resources such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. While OSSPS teaches fundamental life skills and provides external resources, this is not a good enough or broad enough solution; even low-income students should not have to resort to extreme budgeting in order to eat on campus.

Recent on-campus chalkings, such as “No $$$ for food insecurity” criticizing the University’s decision to build administrative office space in Convocation Hall, are further evidence of students’ needs, especially near the end of the semester when bank accounts begin to run dry. Students must pay $7 for a cereal box and $5 for a six-pack of eggs at Cox Convenience Corner. Students can shuttle to grocery stores like Publix, but scheduling trips to those stores are inconvenient. Shuttles run too infrequently and many students do not have unlimited access to a full kitchen.

For students working long hours on tight budgets, these options are unacceptable. While we recognize the prices at Cox Convenience are higher because they are based on ease of access, not every student can afford the luxury of convenience.

Sustainability should not come at the cost of students’ financial security, and Emory students should not be expected to shoulder the burden of the University’s sustainability initiatives. Simply put, the University’s sustainability goals are out of touch with the needs of low-income students. If Emory ranks highly for financial diversity, its resources and food affordability must reflect that fact.

Emory should work to decrease the cost of eating on campus, paying the difference if necessary, to make campus dining more affordable for students while maintaining its sustainable practices. Actions such as subsidizing on-campus vendors and working with local businesses in Emory Point and Emory Village to accept Dooley Dollars would help low-income students afford food without sacrificing sustainability.

Though many Emory students enjoy Kaldi’s, they would be better served by a cheaper late-night option than by a fourth Kaldi’s in the Emory Student Center. Emory must work harder to ensure that it does not throw low-income students under the bus in pursuit of sustainability.

The Editorial Board is composed of Zach Ball, Jacob Busch, Ryan Fan, Andrew Kliewer, Madeline Lutwyche, Boris Niyonzima, Omar Obregon-Cuebas, Shreya Pabbaraju, Madison Stephens and Kimia Tabatabaei.

If the events of last week were a test, the Emory community failed. The Editorial Board is disappointed that the already polarizing issue of Israel-Palestine relations has become more divided. The Emory community has been unable to engage in civil discussion and has succumbed to the pressure of uninformed student groups and biased, provocative media sources. This is a learning moment, and the University must not let the end of Israel Week and Israeli Apartheid Week end the conversation.

Emory Students for Justice in Palestine (ESJP) brought to the forefront the issue of home demolitions in Israeli-occupied Palestinian territory. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a contentious subject, but Emory students should be encouraged and have the capacity to engage in nuanced debates concerning polemic issues.

According to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, “criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as anti-Semitic.” By that definition, the words on the ESJP flyers are not anti-Semitic.

But it is important to recognize that ESJP alienated a portion of Emory’s student body with their tactics, regardless of their intent.

By posting the mock eviction notices directly onto students’ doors, ESJP violated Campus Life policies, and right-wing media bolstered the perception that students were targeted for their religious beliefs, a rumor disseminated by various groups and individuals on campus. Students who have Jewish symbols on their doors were right to feel upset when they found the flyers. The impression that they were targeted for their religious beliefs was understandable but has not yet been supported by evidence.

ESJP also waited to issue a statement until April 5, three days after posting the flyers. The delayed statement enabled campus organizations and the media to create a narrative without incorporating ESJP’s perspective. Controversy and protest often go hand in hand, and shock-value tactics are sometimes necessary to coax students to confront contentious issues. In this case, ESJP appeared woefully underprepared to handle the repercussions of their actions, allowing pro-Israel student groups and outside organizations to frame the protests in a way that avoided discussion of the actual issues they hoped to address.

During Israeli Apartheid Week, ESJP hosted multiple discussion events on Israeli-Palestinian affairs, but those hoping for genuine interaction with ESJP may have been put off by the group’s call for a boycott of some Jewish organizations on campus in response to the backlash, including Emory Chabad. Boycotts against Jewish organizations are not the solution.

That being said, the under-informed reactions of on-campus student organizations unnecessarily inflamed the issue.

Emory Hillel was one of the first organizations to release a public statement addressing the flyers. In their April 2 email, Hillel objectively presented the facts, writing that “there has been no evidence that Jewish students were specifically targeted in the distribution of these flyers.” Hillel’s response constituted a reasonableness not demonstrated by other organizations.

Under the heading “Condemning Anti-Semitism and Anti-Israel Activity at Emory,” Emory Eagles for Israel published a statement decrying ESJP’s actions, writing that they were saddened by attempts to “provoke and intimidate Pro-Israel students.” The statement conflates anti-Semitism with criticism of Israel’s government. Such declarations delegitimize atrocious, veritable acts of anti-Semitism.

Emory-Israel Public Affairs Committee’s statement that the eviction notices brought “psychological harm” and were “unwarranted, emotionally-damaging invasions of property” dramatizes the event and attacks students’ right to controversial free speech.

ESJP’s actions were politically motivated, and SJP is a national organization supported by American Muslims for Palestine, which advocates for pro-Palestine legislation including the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel’s government.

It is important to recognize that ESJP is a political group, and their actions were part of a political protest. ESJP, as well as other groups on campus, have a right to political protest. Groups and individuals who criticize them must understand that fact in order to properly confront such protests.

What’s more disappointing is that the Emory community allowed itself to be manipulated by outside organizations and individuals with personal agendas.

Right-wing media outlets such as the New York Post misreported a rumor that the eviction notices targeted Jewish students. Washington Examiner Executive Editor Seth Mandel shared a tweet claiming that Emory students with a mezuzah, a Jewish symbol, on their doors had woken up to the eviction notices. This tweet misrepresented the fact that students had received notices regardless of their religious affiliation.

Some Jewish organizations sensationalized the alleged anti-Semitism of the eviction flyers instead of engaging in thoughtful dialogue. The regional director of the Anti-Defamation League Southeast said that “Emory’s response minimized the true harm of the violation” on April 5, calling the flyers anti-Semitic. Since there is no evidence that the notes were targeted, and the flyers only contained criticism of a foreign government, such claims are unfounded and have given extremism a foot-hold within the Emory community.

The opportunistic reactions of partisan media organizations have rallied opposition to students’ right to free speech and protest. Emory must publicly extend the same support it offered students first affected by the notices to ESJP students currently facing harassment.

The overreaction to the flyers by both the Emory community and outside organizations minimizes actual anti-Semitic hate crimes. ESJP’s flyer protest, though lacking in tact, was an instance of free speech and an effective protest. It was not an anti-Semitic hate crime.

Emory students must be more mature if they wish to legitimately discuss complex international affairs. Students have overlooked the fact that opinions regarding Israeli-Palestinian relations have routinely inflamed the Emory campus in recent years. It would be foolish to assume that similar events will not happen again. Emory students must learn to avoid the traps of misinformation and insularity for the University to become the exemplar of open dialogue it ought to be.

The Editorial Board is composed of Zach Ball, Jacob Busch, Ryan Fan, Andrew Kliewer, Madeline Lutwyche, Boris Niyonzima, Omar Obregon-Cuebas, Shreya Pabbaraju, Madison Stephens and Kimia Tabatabaei. Zach Ball previously served as president of Emory Students for Justice in Palestine and recused himself from this piece.

The Georgia General Assembly recently made the mistake of outlawing abortion upon the detection of a fetal heartbeat by passing House Bill 481. Since heartbeats can be detected as early as six weeks into pregnancy, Georgians could be barred from terminating their pregnancy before they even know they are pregnant. H.B. 481 would lead some Georgians to have “forced pregnanc[ies],” in the words of former Georgia House Minority Leader and former gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams. Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp intends to sign H.B. 481, but doing so would fail his constituents.

H.B. 481 would exacerbate the ongoing state health-care crisis that Kemp pledged to resolve during his campaign. The crisis is rooted in a doctor shortage: 40 percent of Georgia’s counties had no pediatricians in 2018, while almost half had no OB-GYNs. The state’s inadequate health-care system correlates with poor health outcomes, as Georgia’s infant mortality rate increased from 0.65 percent in 2014 to 0.76 percent in 2018. This puts the state 0.17 percent above the national average.

Kemp explained that he appreciated H.B. 481’s passage since lawmakers who voted for the legislation were “protecting the vulnerable.” In reality, the law would harm some of Georgia’s most vulnerable citizens.

The health-care crisis isn’t equally distributed across the state, as it affects poor, minority and rural communities the most. Unfortunately, these groups would bear most of the burden of H.B. 481. Banning abortion at the six-week mark would disproportionately impact poor women of color, Assistant Professor of Gynecology and Obstetrics Tiffany Hailstorks told the Wheel. Hailstorks said that because these women lack the means to access contraception or abortion in Georgia or in other states, the bill’s restrictions could force them into unwanted pregnancies or illegal, dangerous abortion procedures.

The ban could also worsen Georgia’s doctor shortage. The passage of H.B. 481 would discourage relevant medical training and cause a “ripple effect,” deterring medical students from applying to train or work in the state, according to Assistant Professor of Gynecology and Obstetrics Megan Lawley. H.B. 481 would make it difficult to train OB-GYNs in reproductive health-care procedures required by some medical residency programs. The bill’s restrictions would complicate training on abortion procedures by reducing the amount of procedures that could occur in-state, said Lawley. As Georgia already struggles to attract and retain doctors for its health-care facilities, H.B. 481 would protract the issue while complicating future efforts to address Georgia’s health-care crisis.

In addition to its negative impact on the state’s health-care industry, H.B. 481 could also torpedo Georgia’s growing film industry. Actress Alyssa Milano sent a letter to Kemp and Georgia House Speaker David Ralston threatening a boycott of the state in the event that the bill is signed into law. Fifty actors, including prominent figures such as Don Cheadle and Sarah Silverman, signed Milano’s letter. Kemp should take their threats seriously, as the film industry contributed $2.7 billion in direct spending to the state’s economy in 2018. If these Hollywood actors follow through on their pledge to boycott, the industry’s employees and Georgia’s economy would suffer for Republicans’ political stunt. Conservatives across the country are currently passing abortion restrictions in an apparent attempt to challenge Roe v. Wade now that anti-Roe Justice Brett Kavanaugh is on the Court.

If Kemp signs H.B. 481, Georgians should still hold out hope that federal courts overturn the bill since it is unconstitutional as written. The law violates the “undue burden” standard set by the Supreme Court in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which prohibits states from passing laws that significantly restrict a woman’s access to abortion prior to viability, or around 22 weeks into pregnancy. Adjunct Professor of Political Science Jeffrey Morrison told the Wheel that “lower federal courts applying current precedent should consistently strike down these types of laws,” a claim that is supported by current legal challenges to another fetal heartbeat bill passed in Kentucky. A federal judge temporarily blocked the Kentucky law passed earlier this month to evaluate its constitutionality. H.B. 481 could be stalled by similar legal proceedings, but even if the law is overturned, its signing would stain the state’s image.

But it shouldn’t take intervention from the courts to stop the over-regulation of abortion. Kemp must consider the consequences that H.B. 481 and future abortion laws would carry for Georgians, the state’s health-care system and its economy before signing them. We must not allow craven politicians to roll back the clock on the right to abortion and return Georgia to a darker period in American history.

The Editorial Board is composed of Zach Ball, Jacob Busch, Ryan Fan, Andrew Kliewer, Madeline Lutwyche, Boris Niyonzima, Omar Obregon-Cuebas, Shreya Pabbaraju, Madison Stephens and Kimia Tabatabaei.

In the two-person race for Graduate Student Government Association (GSGA) vice president, the Wheel’s Editorial Board endorses Taylor Thul (17G, 19N, 22G) with some reservations. The fact that both Meghna Ravi (23G) and Thul declared their candidacies after the initial declaration deadline suggests an overall lack of interest in the vice president position. That being said,  Thul is the more qualified of the two.

Thul served as GSGA vice president of social affairs this year and organized many large-scale social events, including formals. She is currently a student in both the Laney Graduate School and the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, which will help her bridge the communication gaps between Emory’s various graduate programs.

Thul is the only candidate with prior GSGA experience. Her platform centers around improving communication between the graduate divisional councils, distinguishing her from Ravi, who did not submit a platform to the Wheel. Communication between GSGA and graduate divisions is vital, and, as Thul pointed out in an interview with the Wheel, GSGA cannot successfully represent its constituents if all graduate students’ needs are not addressed properly. Her proposal to establish a GSGA newsletter for graduate students is a key step in improving communication, but she must develop a concrete plan to update GSGA’s outdated OrgSync website, which hasn’t been updated since April 2017.

While Thul is more qualified than Ravi, she should adopt Ravi’s support for EmoryUnite, the Emory volunteer graduate student union which helped some graduate students receive dental coverage and an earlier pay period in August rather than September.

Thul has shown clear enthusiasm and sufficient experience for the position, and she has the Editorial Board’s support in the race for GSGA vice president. However, she should commit to updating the organization’s website in a timely manner. We hope that Thul can help make GSGA a better advocate for the graduate student body.

The Editorial Board is composed of Zach Ball, Jacob Busch, Ryan Fan, Andrew Kliewer, Madeline Lutwyche, Boris Niyonzima, Omar Obregon-Cuebas, Shreya Pabbaraju, Madison Stephens and Kimia Tabatabaei.

In the uncontested race for Graduate Student Government Association (GSGA) president, the Wheel’s Editorial Board endorses Cody Long (20L). Long’s prior experience in student government at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, coupled with his concrete proposals to improve GSGA’s accessibility, make him a qualified candidate for the job. If elected, Long should follow through with his plans to improve engagement and communication within GSGA.

Long’s years of experience serving in student government organizations would greatly supplement his abilities as GSGA president. As an undergraduate at North Carolina State University, Long served as president of the Student Senate, and he currently serves as vice president of academic affairs for the Emory Law School Student Bar Association (SBA). Long is a strong student advocate, and says that if students are not involved in administrative conversations, they’re vulnerable to decisions they oppose.

Long also presents beneficial and achievable proposals to improve both GSGA’s outreach and internal cohesion. If elected, he promises to meet regularly with the deans and presidents of each graduate school for direct suggestions and feedback. He has thorough knowledge of GSGA’s governing documents and structure, as indicated by his proposal to prevent the GSGA chief of staff — traditionally an executive position — from serving as the organization’s legislative leader. Long also promises to swiftly update GSGA’s outdated OrgSync page.

If elected, Long should to reach out to other graduate divisions, so that he is adequately prepared to represent students from every division. Long’s experience serving as a College fraternity house director demonstrates his involvement in the greater Emory community. But the Editorial Board advises Long to more closely study issues which affect other graduate divisions. Specifically, Long should consult with Laney Graduate School students on the controversial issue of unionization, and he should work with the voluntary graduate student union EmoryUnite to ensure fair pay and working conditions for students who also work for the University. Additionally, Long should examine whether more GSGA funds can be directed toward research grants and funding for conference travel, both of which are frequent requests from graduate students.

Long’s experience and proposals make him a strong choice for GSGA president. If Long follows through on his proposals to communicate with every graduate division and examine issues affecting other schools, graduate students would be well-served by electing him as their president.

The Editorial Board is composed of Zach Ball, Jacob Busch, Ryan Fan, Andrew Kliewer, Madeline Lutwyche, Boris Niyonzima, Omar Obregon-Cuebas, Shreya Pabbaraju, Madison Stephens and Kimia Tabatabaei.

In light of the recent national scandal surrounding college admissions, we should address the pervasive ways in which wealthy students are at an unfair advantage in the college admissions process. While Emory was not involved with this particular scheme, its standardized testing requirement demonstrates the influence of wealth on its admissions process. Emory College admitted a slim 4,512 out of 30,000 prospective students this year — a 15 percent admissions rate. The mean SAT score increased by 12 points to 1471 out of 1600. As admissions rates across the country continue to fall, Emory must keep its admissions process as fair as possible. To reduce the influence of wealth in that process, we urge Emory to become test-optional.

Although Emory claims to have a holistic admissions process which takes into consideration all aspects of the application, it still requires standardized test scores. These exams measure privilege more so than aptitude, as they are often far more representative of students’ ability to take advantage of the system rather than their intellectual ability. Expensive preparatory classes and exclusive tutors provide wealthy students a leg up on these tests, while registration fees can make even taking the exams at all a challenge for low-income students. Even if they can afford these expenses, students who work part-time or full-time jobs to support themselves and their family have less time to study for these extracurricular tests.

Emory has a vested interest in increasing its racial and economic diversity. According to the 2017-18 Common Data Set, 41 percent of Emory’s degree-seeking undergraduates are white, while only 8 percent are black or African American, and 9.4 percent identify as Hispanic/Latino. Additionally, only 20 percent of Emory freshmen came from families that were eligible for federal Pell grants in 2017-18. That number is higher at Emory than at some peer institutions. But roughly 60 percent of the U.S. population is eligible for Pell grants by earning less than $75,000 per year. Such numbers mean that minority and low-income students are underrepresented, and often unsupported, in the Emory community. These statistics also may discourage minority students from applying to Emory, as students may prioritize schools with larger minority communities instead.

Furthermore, recent research suggests that racial discrimination afflicts standardized testing even past the preparation stage. The SAT was created in 1926 by psychologist Carl Brigham in an effort to prove the intellectual superiority of white people. Research from the National Education Association shows that African American, Latino, Native American and Asian students continue to experience bias in standardized testing. Therefore, the reliance on these tests as a factor in college admissions makes the process even harder for low-income students and racial minorities.   

While some argue that standardized testing creates a level playing field from which colleges and universities can accurately compare students from different schools by the same standard, the implementation of this practice is not an equal comparison. Some of Emory’s peer institutions have already taken steps away from standardized testing. George Washington University (D.C.) became test-optional in 2015, which did not negatively affect enrolled students’ academic success. At Wake Forest University (N.C.), the same result was found, in addition to increased diversity. The University of Chicago also stopped requiring standardized test scores last June.

The current admissions process is skewed toward the elite while remaining a battleground for the many. If Emory is committed to its values of diversity and inclusion, the admissions process must change to reflect those values.

The Editorial Board is composed of Zach Ball, Jacob Busch, Ryan Fan, Andrew Kliewer, Madeline Lutwyche, Boris Niyonzima, Omar Obregon-Cuebas, Shreya Pabbaraju, Madison Stephens and Kimia Tabatabaei.

Glenn Memorial United Methodist Church, which opened its doors in October 1931, is a testament to Emory’s Methodist roots./Priyam Mazumdar, Contributing

The last time the Methodist Church split was over slavery in 1844. While the two sides eventually reconciled to form the United Methodist Church (UMC), it now faces tension over another pressing issue: LGBTQ rights.

Emory University is chartered under UMC, which contentiously voted to prohibit same-sex marriage and the ordination of gay ministers. While 53 percent of all delegates, including international voters, voted for the “Traditional Plan,” 66 percent of American delegates voted in favor of the more progressive “One Church Plan.” The latter would have offered individual churches room for their own interpretations of scripture. Some believe the outcome of this vote will lead to a split in the UMC, with dissenting churches embracing the LGBTQ community and gay ministers.

Regardless, it’s unclear how the UMC will operate given that some of its ministers and a significant portion of its congregations identify as LGBTQ.

Emory was founded as a Methodist university, and it continues to be affiliated with the church. Currently, five of the 45-member Board of Trustees are ordained by the UMC, including its Vice Chair B. Michael Watson. But the UMC’s decision clashes with the University’s support of the LGBTQ community.

In a University-wide email, Sterk acknowledged that Emory respects and welcomes people regardless of their sexual orientation. However, the University needs to supplement this internal support with external advocacy to uphold those ideals. Emory should support a split in the UMC and side with those advocating for a more inclusive and welcoming church. The University should not affiliate itself with a church that rejects the LGBTQ community.

It’s a promising sign that our University leaders have already denounced the decision. Campus Pride, an organization that measures institutional support for LGBTQ individuals, currently gives Emory 4.5 out of 5 stars. If Emory wants to preserve this rating, it should seriously reconsider its relationship with the UMC.  

Rev. Lisa Garvin, acting dean of the Chapel and Spiritual Life, said she hopes Emory will influence the church’s decisions on similar matters in the future. She added that “the church has taken an action, but that does not mean it’s the position of all people and clergy who are Methodist.” The Candler School of Theology’s leaders have also responded critically to the decision. Dean of the Candler School of Theology Jan Love wrote to Candler students that the school would continue supporting its “LGBTQIA+ sisters and brothers at this time of hardship, grief, and suffering” on Feb. 26.

Associate Dean of Methodist Studies Anne Burkholder maintains that a united church does not have to be a unanimous church. She said the problem is twofold: traditionalists dogmatically interpret scripture and fail to respect each church’s interpretation of the Bible. It’s unclear how this ideologically divided church would function, but the University cannot allow the UMC to erase LGBTQ individuals. Emory should not only continue to support LGBTQ individuals, as Sterk outlined in her email, but it should also advocate for a split within the church to ensure that LGBTQ humanity cannot be denied.

The Editorial Board is composed of Zach Ball, Jacob Busch, Ryan Fan, Andrew Kliewer, Madeline Lutwyche, Boris Niyonzima, Omar Obregon-Cuebas, Shreya Pabbaraju, Isaiah Sirois, Madison Stephens and Kimia Tabatabaei.

Courtesy of the Rose Library

It’s difficult to hide from history, as Virginia’s top politicians have recently learned. In light of this controversy, University President Claire E. Sterk recently addressed remnants of Emory’s racist past. This troubling history includes yearbook photos from throughout the 20th century that feature students boasting Confederate symbols, wearing blackface, impersonating Native Americans and wearing Nazi and Ku Klux Klan costumes. In a Feb. 20 statement, Sterk wrote that Emory will establish a Legacy Commission to better confront the legacy of racism that taints our school’s history.

The commission, meant to investigate how Emory has grappled with racial and ethnic discrimination in its past, is a move toward addressing these incidents. The University should be commended for its initiative and accountability, but lip service is not enough. In the University-wide announcement, Sterk does not provide a definitive plan for the commission’s function. Emory should look to other universities that have begun initiatives to address similar issues.

Universities including Harvard University and Columbia University have already launched probes into their tangled history with slavery. Harvard’s 2016 research findings were publicly displayed in the Pusey House Library and can be accessed online. Under the tutelage of Eric Foner, a Pulitzer-prize winning history professor at Columbia, students researched and published Columbia’s links to slavery. The university offers the course “Columbia University and Slavery” today.

More recently, Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have removed or planned to relocate Confederate monuments, while also creating educational resources about their school’s controversial histories.

Of the schools that have begun reckoning with their racist pasts, Georgetown University has engineered the largest and most sweeping effort. The university created the Georgetown Memory Project in 2016 to tell the story of 272 slaves who were sold by the college in 1883. Georgetown now offers free tuition to any descendants of those 272 slaves and has made a concerted effort to engage the “Descendent Community” in its reparation plans.

Other schools’ situations are not identical to Emory’s, but they still serve as a model for how the University can deal with its history. While Emory did not directly own slaves, it did employ slave labor. Moreover, most early faculty, trustees and every antebellum president owned slaves, and much of the money used to found the College came from slave-owning individuals.

Emory’s Legacy Commission could begin addressing the disturbing details of Emory’s conception by creating and distributing physical markers or plaques that offer historical information about the namesakes of Emory buildings, many of whom owned slaves. These memorials should include all aspects of their history — not just those that portray them favorably.

The commission should also consider recommending that Emory rename halls and memorials named for those with unsavory legacies. Longstreet-Means Hall’s namesake, Augustus Baldwin Longstreet, was a passionate defender of the Confederacy, slavery and the Old South. He also served as president of Emory University from 1840 to 1848. During his tenure, he published “A Voice from the South,” which attempts to justify slavery and criticizes northern states for profiting from the slave trade. Longstreet-Means Hall, the first-year residence hall, may be a great place to live, but its namesake is not a sound representative of Emory’s modern values. Instead of naming buildings after Confederate alumni, the University could use the names of alumni who contributed to its racial integration, such as Delores P. Aldridge, the first African American to hold a tenure-track position on campus.

The administration is not the only body responsible for addressing the University’s past.

Most of the racist photos in the archives depict fraternity activities; five chapters represented in these images are still on campus. Emory’s Interfraternity Council (IFC) should issue statements addressing these racist images and make clear that discriminatory behavior will not be tolerated. These photos provide fraternities an opportunity to speak out against the sentiments expressed therein; to waste such a moment would be folly, aligning Greek life at Emory with the reputation for racism popularly associated with fraternities.

Commission members must be bold. While other universities have taken strides to manifest their involvement with slavery, segregation and racism, Emory’s past efforts have been comparatively discreet. Sterk has laid a strong foundation for reconciliation efforts by founding the legacy commission. This group has the ability to reshape the way Emory understands its past, and change the way our community thinks and talks about race.

As recently as 1992, Emory students wore Confederate uniforms for a photo shoot and the University is still working to address the black student demands presented in 2015. Our work is not done.  

If Emory aims to be a progressive institution, Sterk’s Legacy Commission must educate the Emory community about the University’s less progressive history.

The Editorial Board is composed of Zach Ball, Jacob Busch, Ryan Fan, Andrew Kliewer, Madeline Lutwyche, Boris Niyonzima, Omar Obregon-Cuebas, Shreya Pabbaraju, Isaiah Sirois, Madison Stephens and Kimia Tabatabaei.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp proposed legislation to bolster Georgians’ access to health care through a bill that would give him the executive ability to partially expand Medicaid. Georgia Republicans have spearheaded the campaign to enact the Patients First Act, which gives low-income Georgians access to more affordable health care. The partial expansion is a step in the right direction to ensure the most vulnerable people in the state receive health care coverage.

But the bill is a half-hearted attempt to solve the health care crisis and fails to take advantage of federal funds already set aside for state Medicaid programs.

The proposal falls short in guaranteeing health care for Georgians who need it most. Georgia House Democrats unanimously oppose the bill for a reason: full Medicaid expansion is the smarter choice. Stacey Abrams, the 2018 Democratic Georgia gubernatorial candidate, has called the Republican proposal a “pale facsimile” of a plan which gives Kemp significant power in deciding how Medicaid will operate and who will ultimately benefit from the bill — a dangerous model considering Kemp strove to disenfranchise poor and minority voters to win the 2018 election. Without full Medicaid expansion, Georgia is also losing out on billions of dollars in potential federal funding and has to pay more money to cover fewer people; since Congress passed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010, the federal government will match state spending nine-to-one for states which have fully expanded Medicaid. Georgia is one of only 14 states in the country not taking advantage of that money, a result of fierce opposition by Georgia Republican lawmakers.

The scope of the expansion is also limited by Kemp’s proposed waiver structure, which would prevent people who are slightly above the poverty line from receiving Medicaid. It would also allow people who use the Affordable Care Act exchange market to buy private health insurance, competition which can drive up prices for Medicaid. Kemp’s law departs from convention as it would only allow people who fall below the poverty line to receive benefits, while states that have fully expanded Medicaid allow anyone who falls within a margin of the poverty line to also receive benefits. Few would argue a person with an annual income of $13,000 — only slightly above the poverty line for adults under 65 — doesn’t deserve to be covered by Medicaid. This method also incentivizes people to fall below the line to receive benefits.

Medicaid expansion is politically popular in Georgia, as 71 percent of registered Georgia voters polled by the University of Georgia said they supported expansion. But it’s questionable whether Kemp’s law would satisfy voters. The bill’s failure to expand Medicaid beyond the poverty line limits its ability to resolve Georgia’s rural health care crisis. In addition, the law is being proposed amid a national conversation that strongly favors more drastic overhauls to the American health care system. A staggering 70 percent of Americans, including a majority of Republicans, Democrats and Independents support a single-payer “Medicare for all” system. Such a system would abolish private health insurance, which would be replaced by a single provider managed by the federal government and paid for by taxes.

Kemp’s proposed Medicaid expansion would benefit some Georgians but would do little to alleviate wider frustrations for those who would still be required to purchase private insurance. America spends twice as much on health care than almost all other developed countries while achieving similar or worse health outcomes, according to a 2018 study from Harvard University (Mass.). Though we cannot expect that Kemp will jump on an Obamacare-esque bandwagon anytime soon, Americans are longing for more than Kemp’s partial Medicaid expansion.

Although Kemp and Georgia House Republicans have offered a serviceable proposal to partially expand Medicaid in the state, they should follow the lead of the 36 states which have already fully expanded Medicaid.

The Editorial Board is composed of Zach Ball, Jacob Busch, Ryan Fan, Andrew Kliewer, Madeline Lutwyche, Boris Niyonzima, Omar Obregon-Cuebas, Shreya Pabbaraju, Isaiah Sirois, Madison Stephens and Kimia Tabatabaei.