We previously wrote about the Emory University scandal — the one in which a former dean of the dental school at Emory (between 1948 and 1961) discriminated against students on the basis of their Jewish faith. During this time, Jewish students at the dental school were “flunked out” (even though they were terrific students) simply because they were Jewish. For years, these students lived with the shame of flunking out of dental school at Emory. They were embarrassed to tell their families about the episode. They wanted to forget the episode ever happened, but they couldn’t erase it from their memories — even as some of them would go on to graduate at the very top of their class at other dental schools (no surprise there).
All of these years later, because of the persistence of one of these Jewish students, Emory has finally decided to own up to its past wrongs and legacy of anti-Semitism. The former students recently traveled to Emory to hear remarks from the university president in which he acknowledges the complicity of the university in the discrimination against Jewish students. One student who made that trip — who his family has let it be known yearned for years for the truth to be told — died within just a few days of the ceremony. He lived to hear an apology. He lived to hear that he didn’t deserve to be flunked out, that he was treated wrongly and unjustly.
Emory University is not the only university in America with a history of anti-Semitism. While we hope to not hear stories coming out of universities across America about rampant anti-Semitism in the years after World War II, we hope that those universities with a legacy of anti-Semitism dare to come forward. We hope that they dare to own up to the wrongs of their past. In so doing, they’ll let it be known that such actions will never happen again at their university.