Discrimination and Sexual Harassment

Reforming Emory's Grievance Procedure

Under the Obama administration, The U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights started a Title IX compliance investigation at Emory. This means that the federal government suspected Emory of systemically punishing victims of sexual assault and protecting perpetrators in order to protect the school's reputation. Unfortunately, under the Trump administration we should not expect that this investigation will be pursued rigorously.

Instead, with Betsy Devos at the helm, new Title IX guidelines are being implemented focused on protecting the accused in cases of discrimination and sexual harassment. While there is still much Emory could do to protect victims on its campus and to hold perpetrators accountable, there are several ways in which they are instead gearing this process toward minimizing reporting.

As graduate student-workers, we call on Emory to change the following policies regarding complaints of discrimination, harassment, or other abuses by advisors:

  • Increase the 6-month statute of limitations for bringing a case to the Office of Equity and Inclusion. The norm followed by most schools is to impose no statute of limitations at all. This restriction is clearly designed to protect Emory from having to acknowledge or investigate these cases.
  • Expand the Grievance procedure within departments as well as the LGS Committee on Grievances to include former students. We are often in the position of being dependent on our advisors and other prominent people within our departments while we are at Emory (and in some cases long after). For this reason, it is especially unfair that students who have had to wait until they left Emory to seek justice and to prevent abusive advisors from disrupting the lives of future students have been told that these grievance procedures are restricted to current students.
  • Students should be allowed a peer representative to navigate this process. The LGS Committee on Grievances states that, "No party may be represented by another, or accompanied by a representative, except on the express invitation of the committee." This is an unfair burden to place on a student who is being forced to navigate this byzantine process on their own and to relive what may have been a traumatic experience in front of a formal committee.

Unfortunately, current policies prevent graduate workers from going so far as to represent each other in hearings, but EmoryUnite! is committed to helping in any way we can victims of discrimination, sexual harassment, or other abuses of power by other members of the Emory community. Please contact us or read more about filing a complaint.