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CAIR-GA Says Emory U. Must Institute Inclusive Search, Hiring Process for Muslim Chaplain, Stop Tokenizing Muslim Students

CAIR-GA Says Emory U. Must Institute Inclusive Search, Hiring Process for Muslim Chaplain, Stop Tokenizing Muslim Students

(ATLANTA, GA, 6/24/2024) – The Georgia chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Georgia) today said it sent a letter to the Emory University president on behalf of Emory University’s Muslim Students Association (MSA), Graduate Muslim Student Council (GMSC), and the Muslim Student Search Committee, urging the university to honor students request to institute an inclusive search and hiring process for the position of a full-time Emory Muslim chaplain, and stressing the importance of addressing Muslim students’ unique religious needs.


The letter follows the opening of an investigation by the U.S. Department of Education against Emory University, after CAIR-Georgia and Palestine Legal filed a Title VI Complaint against Emory for the creation of a hostile environment on campus for Muslim, Arab and Palestinian Students. 

SEE: Emory University investigated over alleged anti-Muslim discrimination | Atlanta | The Guardian

SEE: Title VI Complaint against Emory University

Keon Grant, CAIR-Georgia Staff Attorney stated in the letter:

Robust student involvement will ensure that any biases in the search and hiring process that Emory or the search firm may have are canceled out. This is especially important for Emory’s Muslim student body to regain trust in the institution and to feel welcome on campus given the hostile educational environment faced by many of them since October 2023.”

CAIR-Georgia is urging Emory University to honor the Muslim Students’ demands and ensure transparency and inclusivity in the hiring of the Emory Muslim Chaplain.

“Without this, the University is simply tokenizing Muslim students’ involvement and continuing their pattern of bias and exclusion against Muslim students,” said CAIR-Georgia Executive Director Azka Mahmood


After attending two meetings with President Fenves in February 2024, the Muslim Student Search Committee alleges Emory staff promised to fulfill the students’ request to be involved throughout the hiring process for a full-time Muslim chaplain at Emory, including in the reviewing of applications, selection of candidates, interviews, and the final hiring decision.

Instead, the Muslim Student Search Committee alleges that Emory Administration left them out of the process until April 12, 2024, when students received calendar invites to attend final interviews of pre-selected chaplain candidates. Against precedent, candidate names were kept anonymous from the students in the calendar invitations.  

On April 15, 2024, the students communicated to the University that the University had reneged on their commitment to include students in the hiring process and elected to withhold their participation in the final interviews due to lack of trust in the process and improper notice given to the students. In response, the University offered an invitation to a lunch to meet with pre-selected candidates, tokenizing the Muslim students’ participation in the process and putting a façade of support for its Muslim students. 

The Muslim Student Search Committee now refuse to endorse or work with any individual hired to serve as the Emory Muslim students’ chaplain until the following demands stated in the letter are met: 

“1. Full participation in and transparency in the entire Muslim Chaplain Search Process by the Muslim Student Search Committee.  

2. Access to all information on who has been and has not been selected for interviews and the specific criteria used for their selection or lack of selection thereof, while imposing reasonable confidentiality standard.

3. The opportunity for the Muslim Student Search Committee to review the applications of all applicants — including the unselected and/or unreviewed.  

4. The Muslim Student Search Committee agreeing on the rubric for selection, selecting final candidates together, and creating a list of questions that will be asked of every candidate during the interview process.” 

CAIR-Georgia’s mission is to protect civil rights, promote justice, empower American Muslims, and enhance the understanding of Islam. 

La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos. 


CONTACT: Azka Mahmood, CAIR-Georgia Executive Director, [email protected], 678-653-5822, Keon Grant, Staff Attorney CAIR-Georgia, [email protected], Nazia Khanzada, CAIR-Georgia Communications Manager, [email protected], (404)-239-2086