Students Protest Emory President's Slavery Remarks

Following the university president's praise of the three-fifths compromise, students are protesting.

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Emory University President James Wagner, former President Jimmy Carter in 2009 (Jessica McGowan/Getty Images)

At Emory University, where President James Wagner recently championed the three-fifths compromise, in which slaves were deemed less than human as a "pragmatic" way to save the union, the fallout continues, reports the New York Times.

More recently, the school dealt with a fraternity that flew a Confederate flag and an anthropology professor who used a racial epithet in class. But it also houses significant collections of African-American historical artifacts and literature, including what is thought to be the nation's most complete database documenting American slave trade routes.

"Emory is a community that airs its laundry," Dr. Wagner said in the interview, calling that a strength and a demonstration of its ability to evolve with its student body.

"We've had several wounds this year," he said. "This one," he added, referring to the magazine column, "is a particularly painful wound for me because it was self-inflicted."

Jovonna Jones, 19, the president of the Black Student Alliance at Emory, said she had forgiven Dr. Wagner for his transgression.

"As an African-American woman who has gone to predominately white institutions since middle school, I've had lots of incidents like this," she said. "It's hard to be shocked anymore."

People keep asking her if she thinks the university president is a racist, Ms. Jones said. "I don't think that's the real question," she said. "The important question is: What does it mean to embrace and value a diverse student body? What are the values of the school?"

Read more at the New York Times.

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