January 24, 2003
I had the honor this week of helping to select the winning design for an outdoor classroom dedicated to the memory of the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The idea for the classroom, which will be located just off the Gibson Hall quad between the Richardson Building and Walter E. Blessey Hall, was conceived by Tulane students as a permanent and active memorial to those who lost their lives September 11, 2001.
The School of Architecture, in co-operation with Tulane student government, hosted the competition in which some 56 teams of students submitted design proposals. I can't tell you how impressed I was by the creativity, professionalism and obvious care our students brought to bear on this project. The winning design and runner-ups will be revealed today at noon in the University Center. I urge you to stop by and review the design for what will become part of our university's legacy.
As you are well aware, we are living in a time of heightened tension in our nation and the world. The ongoing war against terrorism, continuing troubles in the Middle East and the nuclear threat posed by North Korea are concerns to all of us. In any community of our size and diversity there will be considerable disagreement as to the best way to deal with these international crises.
It is important to remember that as a community of higher education, we should encourage and support active and informed debate on these and other issues and, most importantly, that such discourse respects the opinions and views of all.
The Association of American Universities recently issued a position statement on this very issue. You can view this statement, which I fully endorse, at http://www.aau.edu/resources/AAUState1.15.03.html.
By following the simple guidelines outlined here, we can assure that our differences in opinion, profound as they may be, will only make us more informed, reasoned and civil human beings. The issues raised in this statement have been a topic of conversation among several of the faculty and administrative groups I regularly meet with on campus and are a reminder of our responsibilities during these challenging times.
Finally, an op-ed piece I wrote on using race as a factor in the admissions process will be published in the next few days in The Times-Picayune. As you know, this is an issue that has been in the news quite a bit lately and will soon be considered by the U.S. Supreme Court. Please try to catch the piece in The Times-Picayune or look for it next week on my web site at http://www2.tulane.edu/administration_president.cfm.
Have a great weekend,
218 Gibson Hall, Tulane University, 6823 St. Charles Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5201 firstname.lastname@example.org