Emory Faculty Votes Against 'No Confidence' in President Wagner Following Racial Essay Aftermath


After a five day voting window, Emory University’s College of Arts and Sciences voted against a motion of “no confidence” in President James Wagner after a racial allegory used in a column earlier this year.

Voting amongst faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences on whether or not they believed President Wagner held the ability to effectively lead the university began last Monday and ended this past Friday.

Wagner received much criticism in February after writing an essay that was deemed racist.

Wagner used the Three-Fifths Compromise, an agreement of Northern and Southern states from 1787 where three-fifths of the population of slaves would be counted for representation involving distribution of taxes and distribution of members in the United States House of Representatives. That effectively meant that slaves in the South were considered three-fifths of a human being.

Wagner said his example was intended to display how today people with different opinions can work together toward a common goal regarding the school’s impending academic changes.

As a result of the essay’s publishing, a Rally Against Racism was formed, where more than 200 Emory University students gathered against Wagner’s comments and current campus culture.

According to Professor Stefan Lutz, an associate professor in Chemistry and the chair of Emory University’s faculty governance, 530 faculty members were eligible to vote, with only 334 participating, about 63 percent.

The final electronic and anonymously posted tally was 201 against and 133 in favor of a motion of no confidence in Wagner.

“That was part of the whole process of also going to an electronic vote so that people could vote without there being a record who voted or so.” said Lutz.

In a statement released on the Emory website, Wagner is cited as saying: “I respect the views of all of our faculty and their right to express concern about the leadership and direction of our institution, and I take to heart the significance of this vote.”


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