Tulane Talk

May 8, 2008

By now I am sure most of you have read or heard about the hazing incident involving members of the Pi Kappa Alpha (PIKE) fraternity.

I want you to know that I deeply regret this incident and its impact on the victims, their families, friends and the entire Tulane community. The well-being and personal safety of our students are our top priorities. This incident is counter to everything we stand for as a university. We will do everything in our power to prevent, detect, deter and respond to future incidents so that nothing like this occurs again.

Both the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) and the university are investigating the formal complaints made by two students injured in this incident. In the last two days, the NOPD, with the cooperation of the university, has charged and arrested ten PIKE fraternity members in connection with the hazing incident. Likewise, the university is undertaking its own review of the students' complaints in accordance with its Code of Student Conduct.

The incident was reported to us on the evening of Sunday, April 27. Members of Tulane's Office of Student Affairs met with the victims in their residence halls that evening to ensure that they received proper medical care, counseling and assistance in re-arranging their academic schedule as they recover. We will continue to assist these victims.

On April 28, we suspended PIKE as a recognized fraternity. This fraternity has a history of incidents and university sanctions, and this type of behavior cannot be tolerated. The PIKE national organization has also revoked the charter of the local PIKE chapter.

The university will immediately undertake a thorough review of its student conduct procedures, including its handling of student complaints and related student issues to ensure the efficacy of its policies, procedures and processes for the safety and well-being of Tulane students. This review will be conducted by a panel of experts from around the country. I will share the results of the review with the Tulane community when it is completed.

The Tulane experience outside the classroom is an important part of campus life. But this incident underscores the need to examine certain behaviors in light of our responsibility to ensure the personal safety and well-being of our students. This is what the thousands of wonderful and dedicated members of the Tulane community expect and deserve.

As an institution, we pledge to be more vigilant and to investigate thoroughly incidents and accusations of misconduct. We will work with all segments of our student population to ensure that we have a shared vision of expected behavior.

Scott Cowen

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