Emory Students Demand Profs Evaluated on Microaggressions


In one of the latest incidents of student protests on college campuses, the group Black Students at Emory College have written a list of demands in a push for active change to school policy that affects the University’s black students, including allowing students to evaluate professors on whether they have committed microaggressions in class.

In an open letter, the Black Students at Emory College published a list of demands, saying they are unhappy with the initiatives that the school had placed in an effort to “re-adjust the racial climate” on campus. The authors say not enough has been done to that end and the school needs to do more to show its commitment to change.

The letter goes on to accuse the University of allowing injustices to occur at the school, including the sanctioning of departments in the Fall of 2012. Having been completely phased out by the Spring of 2016, the group felt that little attention was given to the response by students and faculty members, making it appear to be the result of a miscommunication rather than “insufficient transparency” on the part of the administration.

The group said that the departments scheduled to close were staffed with higher numbers of black faculty members. Because the process for choosing which departments to close were not made clear, a large portion of the community believes it was done in order to decrease not only the percentage of black faculty on campus, but also future potential black applicants to the school.

The group also discussed the negative response toward to President James Wagner’s remarks on a three-fifths compromise, stating that he had given praise to a piece of legislation that refers to the humanity of blacks as three-fifths of a person in reference to the department closings. The letter suggests that the apologies later offered by the President were “ingenuine and needlessly defensive,” adding, “Our reactions to the University are taken with a grain of salt, and are consistently ignored, belittled, or addressed as dramatic outbursts rather than legitimate concerns.”

Before listing their demands, the group called for campus administration to take into account the mental stress that black students on campus incur on a daily basis in person and through social media.

One demand listed is to include two open-ended questions on faculty evaluations to be completed by students, including, “Has this professor made any microaggressions towards you on account of your race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, language, and/or other identity?” and “Do you think that this professor fits into the vision of Emory University being a community of care for individuals of all racial, gender, ability, and class identities?”

The group would like these questions to be added to ensure that appropriate actions are taken when racist comments are made by professors.  The organization demands that these questions be added to the faculty evaluations by the end of the current semester.