January 30, 2004

Good Morning:

Recently the President's Cabinet has been discussing two topics of critical importance to the future of the university. One deals with the implications of the University of Michigan's Supreme Court case on student diversity and the other relates to how we can more effectively integrate athletics throughout the university. This second topic is one that has been strongly advocated by Athletics Director Rick Dickson and has a great deal of merit.

As a result of these conversations, I have charged Provost Lester Lefton to form and lead two important task forces, "The Task Force on Undergraduate Student Body Diversity" and "The Task Force on Athletics." These committees, comprised of top administrators, faculty and staff and linked to the University Senate, are charged with helping the university formulate effective policies and practices in two vital areas.

The Special Task Force on Undergraduate Student Body Diversity will review and recommend ways to increase the diversity of our undergraduate student body in terms of gender, race, culture and socioeconomic background in light of the University of Michigan case. We must work harder and in a more systematic fashion to ensure Tulane is accessible to all students who meet our academic standards. The task force will study the history of diversity at Tulane, the positive impact of increased diversity and the best way to achieve our goals in this area.

The purpose of the Task Force on Athletics is to develop recommendations on how we can more fully integrate our student-athletes into the academic and social life of the university. Their high profile and the extraordinary extra-curricular demands placed upon them can often obscure the fact that college athletes are, first and foremost, young adults who need and deserve the full educational and social benefits of higher education. To limit the intellectual and social growth of athletically gifted young people and relegate them to any position that diminishes their primary role as students is a disservice to them and to Tulane. As part of ensuring the full integration of student-athletes into university life, the task force will also ensure that the university is in full compliance with all NCAA regulations.

Both of our task forces have been given challenging responsibilities. You can review the duties and composition of each of these committees at I am confident that the people we have appointed to these committees will show us the best practices and processes for achieving our goals to better serve our students. As always, I will keep you posted on the progress of these task forces.

Have a great weekend,


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