Racial and Social Justice


Shortly after his tenure began in August 2020, President Fenves led the Emory community in addressing issues of racial and social justice. Among early steps was the formation of the University Committee on Naming Honors and the Task Force on Untold Stories and Disenfranchised Populations. In spring 2021, both groups issued their reports, and the president has weighed in on the recommendations.

Advisory Committees and Working Groups

Twin Memorials and Indigenous Language Path Working Groups

The Task Force on Untold Stories focused on examining Emory’s past with specific attention to two disenfranchised populations—enslaved persons with ties to Emory and Indigenous peoples who inhabited the land before Emory’s founding.

Learn more about the Task Force and the progress of the Working Groups

University Committee on Naming Honors

The University Committee on Naming Honors examined new historic names and reviewed contested historic names associated with buildings, spaces, programs, scholarships, and other celebratory titles that honor individuals.

Learn more about the work of the naming honors committee

Racial and Social Justice Timeline

All of the initiatives associated with racial and social justice are designed, in the words of President Fenves, "to improve the Emory experience and live up to our values so that everyone feels a sense of belonging and purpose."

August 13, 2020

Just weeks after his arrival at Emory, President Fenves outlined Actions Emory Is Taking for Racial Justice. Reacting to the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and other African Americans, the president stated, "This summer, a new chapter in our nation's history was written." He went on to articulate seven actions step that the university was taking to become a "more equitable, just, and inclusive community."

October 22, 2020

The president updated the Emory community on Actions Emory Is Taking for Racial Justice, which included reappointing and recharging the Task Force on Untold Stories and Disenfranchised Populations, as well as reappointing the University Committee on Naming Honors.

February 9, 2021

Emory became a founding member of the ATL Action for Racial Equity, an initiative of the Metro Atlanta Chamber designed to address the ongoing effects of systemic racism impacting the Black community.

April 2022

The work of the University Committee on Naming Honors concludes, as President Fenves announces additional decisions about the names reviewed by the committee.

March 24, 2021

The university joined the Universities Studying Slavery consortium.

April 1, 2021

The Task Force on Untold Stories and Disenfranchised Populations submitted its full report to President Fenves.

May 8, 2021

The University Committee on Naming Honors submitted its full report to President Fenves.

June 1, 2021

Fulfilling one of the actions promised by President Fenves in his August 13, 2020, message to the community, Russell T. Griffin joined Emory as the new director of diversity and inclusion education and outreach.

June 28, 2021

President Fenves responded to the reports of the Task Force on Untold Stories and Disenfranchised Populations and the University Committe on Naming Honors, announcing four immediate actions: developing plans for twin memorials on the Atlanta and Oxford campuses to honor enslaved individuals who helped build the university, exploring the adoption of an official land acknowledgment statement to recognize Emory's location on the homelands of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, renaming Language Hall at Oxford College in honor of Horace Johnson Jr., and renaming the Longstreet-Means residence hall on the Atlanta campus Eagle Hall.

September 14, 2021

The university completed improvements to existing identity spaces for the Emory Black Student Union, Centro Latinx, Center for Women, and LGBT Life at the same time as a new identity space was created for Asian Pacific Islander Desi/American students.

September 27, 2021

Emory approves a Land Acknowledgment recognizing displaced Indigenous nations.

September 29–October 1, 2021

Emory hosted the symposium "In the Wake of Slavery and Dispossession: Emory, Racism, and the Journey Towards Restorative Justice." The symposium connected present-day systemic racism to the history of slavery and land dispossession at American universities, using Emory as a microcosm.

April 21, 2022

The work of the University Committee on Naming Honors concludes, as President Fenves announces additional decisions about the names reviewed by the committee.

Racial and Social Justice news