Emory to apologize for dental school discrimination

Emory University and President James Wagner have acknowledged for the first time that Emory's now defunct dental school discriminated against Jewish students for more than 13 years, from 1948 to 1961, according to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).

President Wagner will apologize for the practice in a private meeting this week with many of the former students who were told they had flunked out of the school despite grades that qualified them to continue their studies, the ADL said in a press release.

In 1961, when Atlanta ADL staff member Art Levin presented to university officials information that confirmed the anti-Semitic policy, the dental school dean resigned his post. But the university denied there was a connection between the two events, and subsequently has refused to acknowledge the anti-Semitic practice, according to the ADL.

"We are grateful to President Wagner for his willingness to acknowledge and apologize for a policy that has haunted many of the Jewish students for decades. In many cases, they came to doubt their own abilities, were viewed as failures by parents and friends, and had to rethink careers, all because the dental school dean at the time did not want Jews studying in his school," said Bill Nigut, southeast regional director of the ADL.

The ADL praised Atlanta dentist Dr. Perry Brickman, a victim of the discriminatory policy, whose continuing research into the policy sparked the apology that will be issued October 10. Brickman tracked down and interviewed many former students who'd been victims of the policy, and produced a documentary that will be shown at a public gathering at the university, also on October 10.

"Perry Brickman's passionate pursuit of justice for all the students who faced this disgraceful and damaging anti-Semitic policy was a powerful catalyst in the university's decision to at last confront this disgraceful episode from the past," Nigut said. "We are so happy for Perry that his years of effort have been rewarded."

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