February 8, 2021
Dear Tulane Community:
Nothing is more important than the health and safety of the Tulane community. We are writing to provide you with critical updates in our efforts to support both.
First, in terms of public safety, there was a series of armed robberies in the neighborhood surrounding our uptown campus over the weekend and a student was shot in the leg. The victim was treated and has since been released from the hospital. These robberies and the shooting are believed to have been carried out by the same person – we are happy to report that, as of this afternoon, the alleged armed robber is in custody.
In response to these incidents and in order to further protect our community, we have increased off-campus patrols. We also continue to actively monitor the many crime cameras we have installed in this area and are enhancing street lighting to support safety. In addition, if needed, students can request a Safety Escort, on or off campus.
The impact of these crimes presents another moment when the Tulane community must draw together and ensure that we are taking care of ourselves and each other. The Tulane student community, like everyone else, is challenged by the difficulties of the COVID-19 pandemic. Incidents such as these increase the stress our community faces. Any Tulane student who needs to speak to someone is encouraged to reach out to the Tulane Counseling Center. Employees who wish to speak to someone can access the Employee Assistance Program.
In order to protect the health of the community, last week we announced the continuance of our Safer-at-Home period. Following testing through the weekend, it is clear that the dedication of our students, faculty and staff during the past week has proved successful. We have seen a significant drop in positive COVID-19 cases. Because of this decrease, we are lifting our Safer-at-Home restrictions and aligning with city gathering guidelines. This means, effective Wednesday at 8 a.m., we are permitting gathering sizes of 10 individuals or less indoors and 25 or less outdoors with proper face coverings and social distancing requirements. Limited residence-to-residence hall visitation for on-campus students will also be allowed again – see hours and guidelines online. Student programs will also be reinstated, and fans will be allowed to attend athletic events again within COVID-19 crowd capacity limits.
Despite this relaxation of our restrictions, it is critically important that you continue to follow COVID safety guidelines as we enter Mardi Gras week, which will look very different this year. It is imperative that all in our community adhere to both university and city health protocols and stay close to home. Last week, the city announced Mardi Gras guidelines including closing all city bars and streets throughout the French Quarter effective Friday, Feb. 12, through Mardi Gras. To promote safety throughout the Carnival season, we’ve developed a list of options for self-guided activities and virtual events on the COVID-19/Stronger TUgether website. Students who do not follow the university’s stated health protocols, including testing and contact tracing requirements, are in violation of the Student Code of Conduct and face possible sanctions, including suspension or expulsion.
We know that this has been an exceptionally challenging year, made especially so when the Carnival traditions that our community holds so dear are impacted. We also know that, through the creativity and resilience of Tulanians and the New Orleans community, we can find safe ways to celebrate, relax and recharge on our first Lagniappe Day of the semester – Mardi Gras Day.
Michael A. Fitts, President
Robin Forman, Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost
Patrick Norton, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer