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Message from the Dean

Dear Students and Colleagues: 

I was dismayed and disappointed to learn that a professor used the “N-word” in an upper-level, elective class today while referencing a previous incident involving that word at the law school. I spoke with the professor in question, and I learned that he acknowledged his error and apologized to his students following class.  

It is deeply upsetting to write our community again on this subject. Emory Law’s mission clearly says that we will: 

Build and maintain a community based on integrity, mutual respect, and professionalism, and promote a culture of antiracism, diversity, equity, and inclusion for students, faculty, staff, and alumni. 

We fell far short of our mission and purpose today. Words such as these hurt our community and cause frustration, pain, doubt, and exhaustion among its members, eroding the pursuit of knowledge to which our school aspires. The law school is committed to creating a diverse and inclusive community in which everyone is respected and supported. It is from this foundation that each of you will be able to pursue the knowledge, skills, and values that will support a lifetime of achievement as Emory lawyers and graduates. 

Our faculty members have participated in a number of workshops and other activities in recent years designed to ensure that faculty members, who have the responsibility for teaching, understand the potentially harmful impact of language on our students, their learning environment, and their success. We have hosted workshops, administered a survey on Integrating Race Discussions in the Curriculum, and held community-wide conversations about racism and the student classroom experience. Let me be clear: we can and will do more. As an immediate action, I reached out to Derrick Howard, our Chief Diversity Officer, for his assistance and the guidance of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee (meeting tomorrow) regarding continued – and increased – opportunities to work with our faculty members in the coming weeks. We will provide additional information about specific steps we will take to bridge the gap between our ambitions and our actions. In the interim, I encourage students, faculty, and staff to consider the resources found below.   


Dean Bobinski