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The Emory Wheel

Ga. Rep. Threatens to Cut Emory’s State Funds Continued from Page 1 born individuals.” In April 2015, Emory announced it would provide need-based institutional financial aid to undocumented students holding DACA status beginning from the Class of 2019. Prior to that policy change, Emory admitted undocumented students but placed them in the pool of international applicants, rendering them ineligible for any financial aid. A Nov. 21 Facebook post on Nair’s wall signed by him, Sterk and Zola said that administrators would be “evaluating how best to serve those in our community whose immigration status puts them at risk.” A Nov. 21 student-wide email, in which Sterk said that the sanctuary petition was “being reviewed by University leadership,” prompted a threat from State Rep. Earl Ehrhart of Cobb County to withhold state funding from the University, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I’m very sanguine about being able to pass a piece of legislation that says if you’re picking and choosing which laws you’re going to follow, state dollars aren’t going to follow,” the AJC reported that Ehrhart said. Should Emory not comply with governmental orders and Ehrhart stick to his words, the Helping Outstanding Pupils Educationally (HOPE) Scholarship and Tuition Equalization Grants, both of which are awarded to Georgia residents, could be at risk at Emory, the AJC said. Although Trump has said he would rescind DACA, he has changed his public position on other matters such as the prosecution of Hillary Clinton since the election. “We don’t know what the situa-

tion will be … we want to be nimble so that when changes do happen, we can respond rapidly,” Nair said. “We’ll have to be prepared for anything, really.” Measures taken would not be a political statement, but rather a protection of the mission of the University, he said. “One of the critical values we have is the diversity ... and undocumented students really enable us to reach our mission,” Nair said. The requests in the sanctuary petition are not limited to measures to

“Americans were sort of targeted on 9/11 ... certain members of our community felt uncertain about their future.” — Ajay Nair, Senior vice president and Dean of Campus Life prevent undocumented students at Emory from deportation; they also include Emory’s consideration of students’ mental health post-election. “We specifically demand the hiring/training of mental health professionals who have cultural competency in working with trauma-related issues of familial separation and the chronic threat of deportation,” the petition read. Considering the perception of student responses to the election, such requests are unsurprising. Nair, who was a dean at the University of Virginia in 2011, said the reaction to Trump’s victory at Emory was reminiscent of the campus atmo-

sphere at UVA post-9/11. “It was that state of shock — ‘how could this happen in our country?’ — that loss of innocence that we are maybe more vulnerable to racism and to xenophobia than we thought we actually were,” Nair said. “Americans were sort of targeted on 9/11, and not all Americans felt targeted after the election, but certain members of our community felt uncertain about their future.” Last night, about 25 students and administrators met to discuss the resources requested by the students at the meeting “for those feeling anxiety” and for “the continuation of their college experience,” according to Assistant Vice President for Community Suzanne Onorato. Onorato refused to disclose any further details of the meeting’s discussion, on the grounds that all potential measures are still in discussion stages. She said she didn’t know which organizations were represented, and she withheld the names of anyone present, but said that they were invited based on recommendations from those who sent the sanctuary petition, whom she also declined to name. The remainder of students will be updated on the University’s evolving plans through emails to the community, Onorato said. The University plans to send one such email by Dec. 2, the date by which the petition requested a “detailed response to this letter,” she said. Michelle Lou contributed reporting.

— Contact Zak Hudak at and Julia Munslow at

Wednesday, November 30, 2016


College Profs. Must be ‘Excellent’ to Be Granted Tenure

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University’s tenure promotion guidelines,” Interim Dean of Emory College of Arts and Sciences Michael A. Elliott said. He added that having a standard of “very good” does not align with what the University expects from faculty nor what students expect of faculty with tenure. Elliott announced the change to College faculty in a Nov. 10 email. Professors who complete their pre-tenure review prior to Aug. 1, 2017 are still subject to evaluation under the present guidelines. Plans to modify the tenure standards began when Robin Forman served as dean of the College, Elliott said. The College’s strategic plan, which the Emory College Senate endorsed May 3, 2016, listed revising these standards as a goal. Elliott recognized that strategic plan as a top priority when he assumed his position as interim dean Aug. 15 and began working with faculty, department chairs, the College Senate and the Tenure and Promotion Committee. Ultimately, the decision to modify the standards rested with Elliott since each dean of each school sets the standards for that school’s tenure and promotion. The College Tenure and Promotion Committee was asked to help create the document, “Principles and Procedures for Tenure and Promotion” that defined the new criteria for excellence, Committee member and Professor of Biology William Kelly said. “The problem with that, of course, is every discipline is going to have some variability in what they would determine to be excellence in their particular discipline,” Kelly said. Elliott also recognized the difficulty

in calculating an applicant’s worthiness of an excellence rating. “The strongest message that came through was concern about how we measure excellence in teaching,” Elliot said. “There has been a lot of conversation among College faculty on how we do that, and in particular concern, that some departments might be relying too much on the quantitative course evaluation scores.” Still, Elliott believes that the evaluation process is broad and comprehensive. He noted that departments are currently working on setting their own guidelines for teaching evaluations. Despite its complications, Kelly still believes Emory’s pre-tenure evaluation system is the best way for the University to review promotion applicants. “It really falls onto the departments and the candidates to make sure that all their efforts and all their expertise is included in their application … to support an overall conclusion of excellence,” Kelly said. “There was a feeling that faculty needed to be excellent in research,” Kelly said. “We shouldn’t be shortchanging the value of teaching.” Forman, who now serves as the senior vice president of academic affairs and provost at Tulane, declined to comment. Senior Associate Dean for Faculty Carla Freeman will hold the first workshop for assistant professors seeking tenure regarding the changes Friday, Dec. 9, at 3 p.m. in Sanford S. Atwood Hall. Joshua Lee contributed reporting.

— Contact Richard Chess at

Scholars to Study in U.K. Former U.S. Poet Laureate to Leave Emory Faculty

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Eastern Studies and Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies. The Marshall Scholarship aims to foster U.K.-U.S. relations by providing funding for U.S. recipients to pursue graduate studies at any accredited U.K. university, according to its website. Of the 947 applicants who applied this year; 32 students were selected. Applicants need a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.7 and must submit recommendations and essays for internal review by a committee of Emory representatives, according to Friddle. “[At] Emory, the competitiveness varies from year to year,” Friddle said. “Each student is evaluated based on their own academic achievement, leadership and service, [as well as] their ability to explain why the experience in the U.K. is important to them academically [and] professionally.” Upon completing her studies in the U.K., Truluck said she hopes to work in the international humanitarian aid sector. During her time at Emory, Truluck volunteered with New American Pathways, a Clarkston, Georgia, organization that provides resources and services to refugees, which inspired her to work for a Savannah, Georgia, refugee resettlement agency Summer 2016. Truluck developed a close bond with Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies Professor Pamela Scully, whom she turned to with frustrations about Emory and the way campus discussions treated situations in the Middle East.

“There’s a misunderstanding on campus about things that happen in the Middle East and about people from the Middle East,” Truluck said. “I don’t necessarily think that Emory is uniquely bad in this way … [but] when you sat down and talked to people, the discussion was usually proactive and people were willing to listen.” Kantor said he wants to become a mathematics professor. When Kantor began taking graduate-level mathematics courses his sophomore year, he felt discouraged because he was measuring himself against graduate students, but realized “there are always people who are going to be learning faster than you, and you need to figure out how to learn best, to not measure yourself against other people.” Religious Life Associate Director Lisa Garvin, who wrote recommendations for both students, believes they will be future leaders in their communities. Garvin praised Kantor’s ability to “lead others with kindness and good humor [and challenge] the community and those around him toward a more hopeful future.” She said she knew Truluck as a deacon in the University’s worship community for four years. “Emilia is poised to change the world: she is passionate and compassionate, she’s tenacious and shows a depth of intellectual curiosity,” Garvin said.

— Contact Alisha Compton at and Michelle Lou at

By Joshua Lee Asst. News Editor Former U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey will leave Emory’s Creative Writing Program after 15 years to join Northwestern University’s (Ill.) English Department for the 2017-18 academic year. During her time at Emory, most recently as Robert W. Woodruff Professor of English and Creative Writing and Director of the Creative Writing Program, Trethewey taught workshops and wrote, working on poetry that includes her Pulitzer Prizewinning collection Native Guard. At Northwestern, Trethewey will continue to teach and write as Board of Trustees Professor of English, an endowed chair similar to the one she currently holds at Emory. “I’ve been really proud of what my colleagues and I have built [at Emory] in creative writing; it’s one of the best undergraduate creative writing programs in the country,” Trethewey said. “It’s been exciting, but now I’m ready for some new challenges in my teaching and research.” Unlike Emory, Northwestern offers a Master in Fine Arts (M.F.A.) degree in creative writing, which will allow Tretheway to work more with graduate students— an opportunity she said she is looking forward to. Trethewey also hopes that Evanston, Illinois, the location of Northwestern’s main campus, will provide her with new inspiration for her poetry; she is interested to see how the new location “works on [her] creative impulses.” It wouldn’t be the first time new scenery has inspired Trethewey. When she moved to Atlanta she

began rethinking her past personal tragedies, working on Native Guard, a tribute to her own Southern roots, her mother and the second regiment of the Louisiana Native Guards, one of the Union’s first official black regiments during the Civil War. Trethewey’s Pulitzer Prize-winning presence raised the standard of Emory’s Creative Writing Program, Associate Professor of English and Creative Writing Jericho Brown said.

“[Trethewey] has set us up in a way that we are going to continue to be an even greater program than what we were when she was working here.” — Jericho Brown, Associate professor of English and creative writing “I am glad that she has done work that sets our Creative Writing Program for its next phase of development,” Brown said. “She has set us up in a way that we are going to continue to be an even greater program than what we were when she was working here.” Interim Dean of Emory College of Arts and Sciences Michael A. Elliott agreed that Trethewey has elevated the Creative Writing Program, calling her “a tremendous teacher and colleague.” College sophomore Orit Cohen, one of Trethewey’s advisees in the Creative Writing Program, was “very hurt” by the news of her departure. “I think that we have an extremely

strong creative writing program … but [losing Trethewey] will be crippling to Emory,” Cohen said. “We each form a relationship with the faculty, and I think that is one of the beautiful things about Emory, because [the department] is smaller but strong.” Trethewey’s move does not spell the decline of Emory’s Creative Writing Program, Elliott said. He believes that the program, which is currently seeking new faculty, will continue to develop. Trethewey’s legacy and success at Emory will make it easier to attract new professors to the program, Elliott added. “Emory will continue its commitment to creative writing to maintain and even cultivate that stature further,” Elliott said. Trethewey and her husband Brett Gadsden, associate professor of African American studies and history, both received invitations from Northwestern in January. Gadsden, who has taught at Emory for 10 years, will join Northwestern’s Department of History. Her 2006 book Native Guard won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. In 2012, she was recognized as the U.S. poet laureate and had her year-long term renewed in 2013. That year, she was also inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. “Trethewey is ... a very important writer for the future of American literature,” Elliott said. “My biggest hope for [her] is that she continues to write the extraordinary poetry and prose that comes from her pen.” — Contact Joshua Lee at