Emory University faculty again tabled holding a vote of no confidence in President James Wagner, but agreed to meet within the next three weeks to continue the debate.
“This is a serious issue and we want to get this right,” said Stefan Lutz, faculty governance chairman for the College of Arts and Sciences.
Faculty in the college met privately with Wagner on Wednesday to discuss a variety of topics ranging from communication issues to cuts to college programs to the national condemnation Emory received because of a column he wrote.
In the essay Wagner used the notorious three-fifths compromise as an example of how people with opposing viewpoints can work together toward a common goal. The compromise, reached in creating the U.S. Constitution, counted slaves as three-fifths of a person for determining representation in Congress.
He has repeatedly apologized for “clumsiness and insensitivity” and said it was a mistake to use it as an example. He apologized again during the meeting, which was planned before his essay ran.
“He spoke at great length and he was very genuine,” said Cynthia Patterson, a history professor. “But there remains a lot of questions about his style of leadership and his lack of communication with us.”
Faculty in the college censured Wagner last month, but tabled a vote of no confidence at that meeting as well.
The relationship between Wagner and faculty has been strained since September when leaders announced cuts in the College of Arts and Sciences.
Emory is closing its educational studies division, its physical education department, its visual arts department and its journalism program. It’s also suspending admissions to the graduate programs in Spanish, economics and the Institute of Liberal Arts.
Faculty and others say the cuts will threaten academic quality and hurt minority students since the affected graduate-degree program produce a high number of minority degree holders. About one-third of Emory’s students classify themselves as minorities.
Slightly less than half of the nearly 500 faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences attended Wednesday’s meeting, Lutz said.
Emory has nearly 3,000 faculty in nine schools.