March 28, 2002

Good Morning:

Tulane Talk comes to you today because, as I'm sure you're aware, we begin our three-day holiday tomorrow. The highlight of the week for me was reading to kindergartners at Lafayette Elementary School as part of Monica Ponoroff's "For The Children" reading program. Our book selections included "10 Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed," "The Runaway Bunny" and a book of riddles.

Monica's program is an outstanding example of a community-based effort that is having a significant impact on the lives of many children. The "For The Children" program provides material and tutors to encourage children to read. You can tell by this photo how much fun I had reading to the kids. I want to personally thank Monica and the more than 120 volunteers, many of them Tulane students, faculty and staff, who give their time and love to such a worthwhile effort.

In recent months, you might have read about the minimum wage debate in Orleans Parish. The debate is about whether there should be a minimum wage requirement in our Parish that is greater than the federally mandated minimum wage. The issue is very complex and controversial. But I wanted you to know that we made a decision last December to voluntarily increase the salary of our minimum wage staff employees by $1 above the federal requirement.

This increase, which will be of great benefit to our lowest paid staff employees, will go into effect July 1, 2002 regardless of the outcome of any court challenges to the recent minimum wage increase passed by the voters of Orleans Parish. I am very proud that our senior officers and deans were unanimously supportive of increasing our staff minimum wage.

Enjoy the long weekend and holiday. Be safe and have a good time!


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