This letter has been edited to reflect The Emory Wheel’s style guidelines.

We, undersigned faculty members of Emory University’s Candler School of Theology, write to express outrage at Emory’s administrative response and Atlanta’s police action on April 25, to proclaim support for our students, and to offer encouragement to this community in a time of rage and grief. 

We unequivocally denounce the brutal police response at the Emory Quadrangle on Thursday, April 25. The overreaction and escalation of the police presence on campus was egregious and emblematic of what students gathered to protest: the use of state violence to displace and dispossess. Emory’s administrative decision to call on the Atlanta Police Department and Georgia State Patrol to clear the encampment put our students, faculty, and staff in an exceedingly and unnecessarily dangerous situation. But more than that, it was a betrayal of our collective commitment to create a community that fosters diversity, learning, consciousness-raising, and social justice. We denounce the arrest of two Candler students on Thursday and the charges brought against them and other Emory students and faculty. We denounce all use of violence and tactics of terrorism.

Students walking past Candler School of Theology on a sunny day. Courtesy of Jason Oh.

Candler students have a long tradition of social activism and struggle for justice. We fully support our students’ right to protest peacefully and speak freely. We strongly affirm the importance of academic freedom and open expression on campus. We applaud the students in Candler School of Theology and the Graduate Division of Religion for their leadership and participation in the protests. They have reached out to other students to provide support, strategized for collective action, stood in solidarity with the arrested Candler students, and occupied Candler’s atrium to create a space where students could support one another, ground themselves, share experiences, and prepare logistically and spiritually for further action. These brave students are teaching us ways to resist personal and institutional complicity with violence without using violence in turn. We honor the courage of all of those students, staff and faculty who bore witness against the police action on the Quad and who continue to stand in solidarity. 

Candler School of Theology is “committed to service to the world to form leaders dedicated to ministries of justice, righteousness, peace, and the flourishing of all creation.” Our students are courageously living out the commitments we proclaim. As one of our students declared as he was arrested, “We are better than this!” We each will choose different ways to condemn the violence in Palestine and Israel: Some of us are speaking out in churches, some of us are showing up to protests, some of us are calling for this university to divest from economic support for war, some of us are educating ourselves, some of us are donating, some of us are entering difficult conversations with family and community members. Regardless of our personal discernment, we stand united in our denunciation of the horrific events of October 7, 2023 and the mass killing in Gaza. We deplore U.S. military support for the war in Gaza. We repent for our complicity, and call for an immediate ceasefire.

We do not know what the coming days will bring, but we do know that conflict can be a catalyst for constructive change in this world. We call on the whole Candler community to use this time of heightened conflict as an invitation to discernment and action. 

May the God of peace kindle within us the fires of justice.


Elizabeth Arnold (21G) The Candler Foundry Postdoctoral Fellow

Jennifer R. Ayres, L. Bevel Jones III Professor of Religious Education

Sarah Bogue, Associate Professor in the Practice of the History of Christianity 

Ryan Bonfiglio, Associate Professor in the Practice of Old Testament

Elizabeth Bounds, Associate Professor of Christian Ethics

Anne Burkholder, Associate Dean Emerita of Methodist Studies

Jonathan Calvillo, Assistant Professor of Latinx Communities

Letitia M. Campbell (17G) Assistant Professor in the Practice of Ethics and Society 

Elizabeth Corrie (96T, 02G) Professor in the Practice of Youth Education and Peacebuilding

David Daniel, Assistant Professor in the Practice of Music Ministry

Tara Nancy Doyle, Visiting Research Scholar

Musa W. Dube, William Ragsdale Cannon Distinguished Professor of New Testament Studies

Robert M. Franklin, James T. and Berta R. Laney Professor in Moral Leadership

Geoff Goodman, Associate Professor of Psychology and Spiritual Care

Alison Collis Greene, Associate Professor of American Religious History

Jon Gunnemann, Professor Emeritus of Social Ethics

Stuart Higginbotham, Assistant Professor in the Practice of Spiritual Formation and Ministry

Gregory Hillis, Professor in the Practice of Theology

Brooks Holifield, Charles Howard Candler Professor Emeritus of American Church History

Rodney J. Hunter, Professor Emeritus of Pastoral Theology

Susan E. Hylen (04G) Almar H. Shatford Professor of New Testament 

Arun W. Jones, Dan and Lillian Hankey Associate Professor of World Evangelism

Helen Jin Kim, Associate Professor of American Religious History

Kwok Pui Lan, Dean’s Professor of Systematic Theology

Kyle Lambelet, Assistant Professor in the Practice of Theology and Ethics

Emmanuel Lartey, C. H. Candler Professor of Pastoral Theology & Spiritual Care

Lahronda Welch Little 18T, Assistant Professor in the Practice of Spirituality and Health

Ian McFarland, Robert W. Woodruff Professor of Theology

Brett Opalinski, Assistant Professor in the Practice of Spiritual Formation and Church Leadership

Marie Friedmann Marquardt (04G) Scholar in Residence

Ellen Ott Marshall, Professor of Christian Ethics and Conflict Transformation

Keith Menhinick, Visiting Assistant Professor of Spiritual Care and Pastoral Theology

Barbara Day Miller (88T) Associate Professor Emerita in the Practice of Liturgy and Music

David S. Pacini, Professor Emeritus of Historical and Philosophical Theology

Edward Phillips, Associate Professor of Historical Theology and Christian Worship

Philip Reynolds, C. H. Candler Professor Emeritus of Medieval Christianity

Susan Reynolds, Assistant Professor of Catholic Studies

Ish Ruiz, PostDoctoral Fellow of Catholic Studies

Helen Pearson Smith, Professor Emerita of Theology

Luther E. Smith, Jr., Professor Emeritus of Church and Community

Ted A. Smith, Charles Howard Candler Professor of Divinity

Joanne Solis-Walker, Professor in the Practice of Leadership 

John Snarey, Franklin Nutting Parker Professor Emeritus of Human Development and Ethics

Jonathan Strom, Professor of Church History

Gabrielle Thomas, Assistant Professor of Early Christianity and Anglican Studies

John Thompson-Quartey, Professor in the Practice of Church Leadership

Steven M. Tipton, Charles Howard Candler Professor Emeritus of Sociology of Religion

James L. Waits, Former Dean and Asa Griggs Candler Professor Emeritus of Divinity

Jillinda Weaver (97T, 98T, 14G) Director of the Youth Theological Initiative

Deanna Womack, Associate Professor of History of Religions and Interfaith Studies

Hazem Ziada, Research Scholar


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