Dental School Discrimination
Jewish students in Emory's dental school were failed or forced to repeat courses at a rate disproportionate to their numbers from 1948 to 1961.
Although data revealing these practices were presented by the Anti-Defamation League more than five decades ago, the Emory administration at the time denied that this unusually high rate of failures was the result of discrimination by the dental school's dean and faculty.
Through the initiative of Perry Brickman (pictured), a former student of Emory College and the Emory University School of Dentistry, a new film sheds light on a story first published in the 1960s in the book "Some of My Best Friends..." by Benjamin R. Epstein and Arnold Forster. Brickman interviewed dozens of former Emory dental students to create an oral history of that period and conducted documentary research to substantiate their stories.
Augmented by interviews of current Emory faculty members and administrators, this history forms the substance of the new film, "From Silence to Recognition: Confronting Discrimination in Emory's Dental School History," which was commissioned by Emory and produced by Duke and Associates.
"Emory has one of the finest Jewish studies programs in the nation; we have great accomplishments, faculty and resources," Deborah Lipstadt, Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish History and Holocaust Studies at Emory, said upon the documentary's release in 2012. "But the university has said, 'This is a mark on our history, and the only way of addressing it is by shining a light on it.'"
Emory closed its dental school in the early 1990s, as the founding of newer, state-supported dental schools throughout the Southeast led to a decline in Emory's dental enrollment.