Emory University hosted a premiere of the documentary, ‘From Silence to Recognition’ this evening. The short film chronicles their anti- Semitic practices from the late 1940’s through the early 1960’s.
Jewish students enrolled in the now defunct Emory Dentistry School were failed in spite of passing grades. Some flunked out of the prestigious university and other were forced to take entire semesters over again.
Then president, John E. Buhler saw to it that 65% of the Jewish students failed during his tenure. Buhler was well known for instituting an admissions application, where applicants were to choose their ethnicity by checking a box that read ‘Caucasian’, ‘Jew’ or ‘Other’. He was summarily called on it by the Anti -Defamation League and forced to resign. These decades of discrimination was the worst kept secret on campus for many years. Emory University had never acknowledged it until now.
Former students told of their embarrassment and shame that they have kept within them as they were made to leave school, their academic records in shambles. They spoke of the pain they felt because they let their parents down. These former students, now in their 80’s are vindicated but their parents are no longer here to see the truth.
University president James Wagner hosted a meeting with former students before the premiere and spoke to the crowd afterwards. “I am sorry. WE are sorry”.
This is the second time in the past two years where the university leaders have confronted their past. In January 2011, they acknowledged their ties to slavery.
Vice President Gary Hauk commented,“It is a way for the University to acknowledge and state its regret for what happened then and for the silence since." He goes on to say that it's their hopes that they can not only confront the past but to also show how much they've evolved over the decades.