Statement from Arrested Students

Dear Emory Community,

The 7 of us students were handcuffed on Emory’s campus and spent the night in jail.  Our Monday night proved to be one of the most emotionally challenging and physically taxing experiences of not only our college careers, but our lives.  Although we were separated by gender, into groups of 4 and 3, the 7 of us were subject to the carceral process, including all of the humiliation and dehumanization that comes with it.  Admittedly, we were shook by the management of our bodies that took place – among our experiences, the physical searching, the medical examining, and the forced strip-down brought to life the hardships all who are processed by Dekalb County Jail must face.   But, even after this unforgiving 14 or so hour process, following the week of peaceful protest, our resolve to address the issue of worker justice on campus remains as strong as ever.

Students and Workers in Solidarity, our student group, has been engaged in addressing the issue of employment injustice on Emory campus for more than 16 months.  Prior to April 20th, we met withthe administration 9 times to discuss the plight of food service workers on our campus, in addition to raising awareness through informational meetings and an open forum at which workers articulated their grievances themselves.  We felt dismayed that President Wagner continued to evade the issue or recast it in terms irrelevant to our concerns – terms that he could dictate and control (e.g., mentioning of SEIU).  Earlier this month, we asked President Wagner to address the public on his stance at an event held in front of the administration building on the afternoon of April 20, and he did not.  So we went to his office and waited for him to do so.  Peacefully, we waited on the fourth floor of the administration building for some hours, and then waited outside of the building for several days.

We were aware that commencement was approaching.  On Monday, April 25th, we were discussing ways in which we could remove our presence prior to graduation while maintaining strong commitment to the task at hand.  At this time, around 6:30 PM, VP Hauk approached our group, and demanded that we leave.  He gave us “5 minutes” to remove what taken 5 days to build up – 10+ tents, several signs, personal belongings (e.g., sleeping bags, blankets), and coolers of food and beverages.  About 3 minutes later, VP Hauk himself, along with campus facilities workers, and 2 well-dressed men who refused to identify themselves, began tearing down our signs and uprooting our tents.  As can be seen on video (@ – this video is different from the YouTube clip; it includes footage of VP Hauk’s demands), we pleaded with these Emory representatives to allow us to handle our belongings ourselves.  They briefly pulled back, yet after a few minutes of watching us move our belongings, they resumed the aggressive act of forced removal.  After 5 days of peaceful presence, this show of sudden and naked aggression alarmed and dismayed us.  Several of us decided to show commitment to our cause and to one another by sitting in one of our tents in the middle of campus.

As we sat, we were unaware of what would happen next.  The officials seemed to change the rules by the minute, first telling us to remove our presence, then stating that we could remain on the green if we exited our tent.  Uncertain, intimidated by the growing police presence, but unified, 7 of us locked arms and remained seated in one tent.  A police officer informed us that we were trespassing.  Minutes later, police entered our tents and forcibly ripped our arms apart so that we could be arrested and carried away. 

We appeal to the Emory community to condemn this use of force and refocus attention on just treatment of workers on our campus – along with wider cultivation of community.  Sometimes ethical engagement can make us uncomfortable.  But we will continue to affirm the priority of peaceful dialogue over aggressive action.


Roger Sikes

Andrea Nicholls

Laura Emiko Soltis

Joseph Diaz

Mike Iannacone

Chris Wells

Amariah Love

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Open Letter from 188 Emory Professors

Open Letter

We the undersigned, faculty members of Emory University, are upset and dismayed by the arrest and jailing of seven students peacefully demonstrating on the campus quadrangle. Such punitive treatment is an affront to the University values of honest, humane, and ethical engagement. We firmly believe that the administration is capable of finding alternative solutions.

We call upon the administration

1)      to drop all charges against the students and to insure that there be no further punitive actions taken against them.

2)      to hold an open meeting for the entire Emory community to address the issue of labor relations and Sodexo.


Walter Adamson Department of History
Mohammed Ali School of Public Health
Susan Allen School of Medicine
Monique Allewaert Department of English
Carol Anderson Department of African American Studies
Michelle Armstrong-Partida Department of History
Deborah Ayer Department of English
Angelika Bammer Institute of the Liberal Arts
Dana Barr School of Public Health
Steven Batterson Department of Mathematics and Computer Science
Kyle Beardsley Department of Political Science
Edmund Becker School of Public Health
Michele Benzi Department of Mathematics and Computer Science
Carla Berg School of Public Health
Matthew Bernstein Film and Media Studies
Sandra Blakely Department of Classics
John Blevins School of Public Health
John Boli Department of Sociology
Elizabeth Bounds Candler School of Theology
Patricia Brennan Department of Psychology
Jed Brody Department of Physics
Berry Brosi Department of Environmental Studies
Peter Brown Anthropology
John Bugge Department of English
Rudolph Byrd Institute of the Liberal Arts
Patricia Cahill Department of English
C. Jean Campbell Art History Department
Cathy Caruth Department of Comparative Literature
Elizabeth Corrie Candler School of Theology
Clifton Crais Department of History
Todd Cronan Art History Department
Solveig Cunningham School of Public Health
Leroy Davis Department of History
Dianne Diakite Department of Religion
Lisa Dillman Department of Spanish and Portuguese
Tara Doyle Department of Religion
Kristin Dunkle School of Public Health
David Edwards Department of Psychology
Kirk Elifson School of Public Health
Dabney Evans Institute of Human Rights
Wendy Farley Department of Religion
Devin Fergus James Weldon Johnson Institute
Joyce Burkhalter Flueckiger Department of Religion
Tyrone Forman Department of Sociology
Roberto Franzosi Department of Sociology
Carla Freeman Department of Anthropology
Julie Gazmararian School of Public Health
William Gilders Department of Religion
Amy Webb Girard School of Public Health
Hazel Gold Department of Spanish and Portuguese
Jonathan Goldberg Department of English
Ursula Goldenbaum Department of Philosophy
Elizabeth Goodstein Institute of the Liberal Arts
Kristin Gordon Department of Sociology
Roby Greenwald School of Public Health
Elizabeth Griffiths Department of Sociology
Anna Grimshaw Institute of the Liberal Arts
Karen Hegtvedt Department of Sociology
Monique Hennink School of Public Health
Alexander Hicks Department of Sociology
Geraldine Higgins Department of English
Carol Hogue School of Public Health
Peter Höyng Department of German Studies
Cheng Huang School of Public Health
Lynne Huffer Department of Women’s Studies
Vincent Huynh Department of Physics
Ellen Idler Department of Sociology
Regine Jackson Institute of the Liberal Arts
Cathryn Johnson Department of Sociology
Walter Kalaidjian Department of English
Ivan Karp Institute of the Liberal Arts
Sidney Kasfir Art History Department
Paul Kelleher Department of English
Mimi Kiser School of Public Health
Uriel Kitron Department of Environmental Studies
Michael Kramer School of Public Health
Corinne Kratz Department of Anthropology
Ruby Lal Department of Middle Eastern and South Asian Studies
Barbara Ladd Department of English
Candace Lang Department of French & Italian
Delia Lang School of Public Health
Juan Leon School of Public Health
Jeffrey Lesser Department of History
Richard Levinson School of Public Health
Karen Levy School of Public Health
Amanda Lewis Department of Sociology
Scott Lilienfeld Department of Psychology
Vincent Lloyd James Weldon Johnson Institute
Valerie Loichot Department of French & Italian
Stella Lourenco Department of Psychology
John Lucchesi Department of Biology
Herbert Ludewick School of Public Health
John Lysaker Department of Philosophy
Rudolf Makkreel Department of Philosophy
Fauzia Malik School of Public Health
Amita Manatunga School of Public Health
Ken Mandelberg Department of Mathematics and Computer Science
Kristin Mann Department of History
Michelle Marcus School of Public Health
Roxani Margariti Department of Middle Eastern and South Asian Studies
Patricia Marsteller Department of Biology
Hiram Maxim Department of German Studies
Noelle McAfee Department of Philosophy
Joy McDougall Candler School of Theology
Ian McFarland Candler School of Theology
Scott McNabb School of Public Health
Sean Meighoo Department of Philosophy
James Melton Department of History
Judith Miller Department of History
Christine Moe School of Public Health
Michael Moon Institute of the Liberal Arts
Simona Muratore Department of French & Italian
Laura Namy Department of Psychology
Venkat Narayan School of Public Health
Carol Newsom Candler School of Theology
Catherine Nickerson Institute of the Liberal Arts
Clair Null School of Public Health
Mary Odem Department of History
Karla Oeler Film and Media Studies
Saad Omer School of Public Health
Michael Leo Owens Department of Political Science
Marjorie Pak Program in Linguistics
Gyanendra Pandey Department of History
Barbara Patterson Department of Religion
Richard Patterson Department of Philosophy
Matthew Payne Department of History
Angela Porcarelli Department of French & Italian
Astrid Prinz Department of Biology
Jonathan Prude Department of History
Regina Pyke Department of Psychology
José Quiroga Department of Spanish and Portuguese
Usha Ramakrishnan School of Public Health
Richard Rambuss Department of English
Shana Redmond James Weldon Johnson Institute
Walter Reed Department of English
Beth Reingold Department of Political Science
Benjamin Reiss Department of English
Justin Remais School of Public Health
Christine Ristaino Department of French & Italian
Phillipe Rochat Department of Psychology
Roger Rochat School of Public Health
Judith Rohrer Art History Department
Richard Rubinson Department of Sociology
Harry Rusche Department of English
P. Barry Ryan School of Public Health
Andrew Ryder Comparative Literature Department
Mark Sanders Department of English
Subhabrata Sanyal School of Medicine
Caroline Schaumann Department of German Studies
Pamela Scully Department of Women’s Studies
Stephanie Sherman School of Medicine
Brad Shore Department of Anthropology
Joseph Skibell Department of English
John Snarey Candler School of Theology
Kyle Steenland School of Public Health
Aryeh Stein School of Public Health
Rob Stephenson School of Public Health
Karen Stolley Department of Spanish and Portuguese
Rebecca Stone Art History Department
Richard Street James Weldon Johnson Institute
Matthew Strickland School of Public Health
Sharon Strocchia Department of History
John Stuhr Department of Philosophy
Michael Sullivan Department of Philosophy
Vaidy Sunderam Department of Mathematics and Computer Science
Leslie Taylor Department of Theatre Arts
Sandra Thurman School of Public Health
Paige Tolbert School of Public Health
Viola Vaccarino School of Public Health
Eric Varner Departments of Art History and Classics
Jorge Vidal School of Public Health
Debra Vidali Department of Anthropology
Nick Vogenthaler School of Public Health
Peter Wakefield Institute of the Liberal Arts
Irwin Waldman Department of Psychology
Kimberly Wallace-Sanders Institute of the Liberal Arts
Kim Wallen Department of Psychology
Nagueyalti Warren Department of African American Studies
Bonna Wescoat Art History Department
Andrea White Candler School of Theology
Dana White Institute of the Liberal Arts
Deborah Elise White Department of English
Stephen White Department of History
Cynthia Willett Department of Philosophy
David Williamson School of Public Health
Craig Womack Department of English
Tracy Yandle Department of Environmental Studies
Yanna Yannakakis Department of History
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