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Emory plans to shutter journalism program

ATLANTA (AP) -- An Emory University dean announced Friday that he has decided to shut down the Atlanta school's journalism program, a move that drew criticism from the veteran journalist who heads it.

Dean Robin Forman announced his decision Friday in a letter to the College of Arts and Sciences community. The division of Educational Studies and departments of physical education and visual arts are also being closed.

Currently enrolled students will be able to complete their courses.

Forman wrote that the arts college has too many departments and programs and is "stretched to the limit."

"These reductions will allow us to invest in traditional strengths of the arts and sciences at Emory," he wrote.

He added that finances did not play a part in the moves. He said that tenured faculty will be moved to other departments.

"These steps are not a sign that our financial pressures are mounting, but rather an indication that we are emerging from the yoke of those pressures," he wrote, "and we can begin to imagine a more exciting future."

But the director of the Emory Journalism Program called the decision unwise.

"I disagree with his decision," Hank Klibanoff told The Associated Press. "This is about whether he values our program, and he does not. He has not shut the door on teaching journalism there in the future, but there will not be a journalism program at Emory."

Klibanoff, a former managing editor of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, wrote in a letter to students that the 16-year-old program has grown steadily in recent years. The program has nearly 160 students, more than one-third of them co-majors and minors.

"This semester, nearly every class is full and had to turn students away," he wrote.

Klibanoff, who won a Pulitzer Prize in history in 2007 for a book he co-wrote on press coverage of the civil rights movement, said faculty members were astonished and disappointed by the action.

As for the suggestion that the program doesn't fit into the college's focus, Klibanoff wrote, "I am not sure why preparing our students to be critical thinkers, professional journalists and better-informed citizens, as we do, carries a negative connotation."