December 16, 2005

It has now been one week since the Board of Administrators unanimously approved the historic plan to reinvent the university in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Not surprisingly, there have been questions about the plan, ranging from the timing of its announcement, to why it was needed at all, to clarification about its specifics.

The necessity for and timing of the Renewal Plan were most perplexing to Tulanians around the country who do not have first-hand knowledge or an understanding of what New Orleans, its people and institutions, including Tulane, have been through in the last three months as a result of Hurricane Katrina.

To give you a clearer understanding and context in which these decisions were made, I refer you to a letter recently sent to Congress on behalf of virtually all of the leading higher educations associations in America:

In addition, I also suggest you read the e-mail I sent to all of our students this week regarding the Renewal Plan

These two messages may provide a richer perspective on the university's situation.

What differentiates Tulane’s actions from other institutions in the region is that Tulane decided to take a visionary, focused and expansive approach to reinvention to meet the dual objectives of maintaining our commitment to academic excellence, which has been the university’s focus for 172 years, and resolving our financial challenges.

We rejected the notion of only cutting costs across the board to survive. The reality of the current situation in New Orleans and the realization that change was inevitable required us to make quick, informed and difficult decisions. I assure you that these decisions were motivated only by the realities of our situation and not by other factors.

I realize our decisions have caused pain, anger and frustration for the people most affected by the changes. I truly sympathize and regret this. I just hope, over time, all Tulanians will come to accept and understand that this action was absolutely necessary for the university to survive and thrive in the future and continue to serve as a source of hope and renewal for our community.


Office of the President Emeritus, 1555 Poydras St, Suite 700, New Orleans, LA 70112 504-274-3638