Image of graffiti near Emory Quadrangle saying, cops tased a medic on the ground for over a minute here.

Atlanta Studies Statement on Emory University’s Protest Response

The Atlanta Studies Editorial Staff and members of the Editorial Board strongly condemn Emory University’s decision to invite a police response to a peaceful protest and the administration’s subsequent failure to take responsibility. On Thursday, April 25, 2024, Emory University responded to a protest convened on campus against the genocide of Palestinians in Gaza and Emory’s apparent support of “Cop City” by inviting the Atlanta Police Department and the Georgia State Patrol onto its campus. The protest was being conducted by members of the Emory community and the broader Atlanta community. Emory argued to be included within the boundary of the City of Atlanta and exists within that community physically, socially, intellectually, and historically.  Outside police agencies, working with the Emory Police Department, responded violently and rapidly to the peaceful protest and encampment. The result of this decision was the violent arrest of many faculty, students, and members of the community. Emory’s turn to the violent suppression of political dissent and free speech is counter to the best spirit of Atlanta and the values of Emory’s own Open Expression Policy.  Just two weeks prior, Emory hosted the Atlanta Studies Symposium, where many activist and scholarly voices from across the region and country worked to raise awareness and provide insight on similar issues of social welfare and civil and human rights.  Emory, as an institution of education, puts itself forward as a site of learning, debate, and scholarship.  Its mission statement argues that, “Emory strives to create a community characterized by respectful and mutually supportive interaction among faculty, students, staff, and the wider world.”

On April 25th, Emory University acted to suppress free speech through the use of police violence.  In light of the long and ongoing history of racist, violent behavior in Atlanta against peaceful protests and Emory University’s complicity in the use of force against the community, the Editorial Staff and members of the Editorial Board of Atlanta Studies strongly condemn this decision and subsequent failure to take responsibility by the Emory University leadership.