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Students, faculty call for resignation of Emory President following police crackdown on protestors

DEKALB COUNTY — Students and faculty at Emory University are demanding University President Greg Fenves step down.

This is following the aggressive crackdown and arrest of dozens during campus protests against the Israel-Hamas war and the controversial Atlanta Public Safety Training Center.

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On Monday, Channel 2′s Tom Regan was live from Emory’s campus on Channel 2 Action News at 5 p.m.

“The administration was ruthless. The use of violence against students and faculty who were exercising the right of free expression non-violently is appalling. It’s a betrayal of what a university is,” said Emory professor Jason Francisco.

Last week, Channel 2′s Tom Regan spotted multiple Atlanta police officers, Emory campus police officers, and Georgia State Patrol troopers responding to the protests.

Police arrested 28 people and took them to the Dekalb County Jail Thursday.

Most were faculty and students. They faced charges including trespassing and resisting arrest.

Most were released the following day.

“I think the use of excessive force violence on students and faculty was pretty inexcusable,” said student Marly Goldman.

One professor said the university’s president gave police permission to physically remove demonstrators after they refused to take down tents set up in the campus quad, where graduation activities are set to take place.

Some faculty are circulating a no-confidence vote against Venves, although only the school’s board of trustees has the authority to remove him from his position.

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The university has also taken action against a half dozen demonstrators who allegedly vandalized school buildings over the weekend with hate-filled spray-painted messages.

Plywood covered the graffiti vandalism on Monday.

Emory’s president released this statement on Monday:

Dear Emory Community,

Over the past week, Emory has experienced unprecedented protests and disruptions. We are not alone. Nationwide, universities are grappling with events that have deeply shaken our respective communities. I have heard from many of you, and I want you to know that I am listening. I understand your concerns, your fears, your frustrations, and your outrage. As we enter the final week of the academic year, I am focused on protecting our campuses, supporting peaceful expression for all members of our community, and finding ways to foster healing and rebuild trust.

I would like to use this message to update you on last Thursday’s events.

Based on the information we had early Thursday morning, we determined that the individuals who constructed the encampment on our Quad were not members of our community. It is clear to us now that this information was not fully accurate, and I apologize for that mischaracterization. My goal was to remove a growing encampment, as allowing such an encampment would have been highly disruptive, affecting everything from classes and exams to our ability to hold Commencement. I remain firm that such encampments cannot be permitted at Emory.

Let me be clear: I am devastated that members of our community were caught up in law enforcement activity enforcing the removal of the encampment. The videos of these interactions are deeply distressing. I take Thursday’s events very seriously and we are launching a thorough review of them so that we can develop recommendations to improve how we keep our community safe. This review will include how Emory engages external law enforcement agencies.

I am committed to supporting our students and faculty who wish to express their views peacefully. We will not tolerate conduct that undermines these efforts. I know that many members of our community are focused on their classes, research, exams, and upcoming graduation. We are working hard to keep our campus as free from disruption as possible so that these important core functions of the university can carry forward at the highest level.

—  Sincerely, Gregory L. Fenves President

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