Subject: A Message to the Faculty
Dear Faculty Colleagues,
I want to share with you a decision, which you may read or hear about, that the American Association of University Professors made this weekend with respect to Tulane University.
At its annual meeting on June 9, the AAUP officially censured Tulane, as well as Loyola, UNO and SUNO for actions taken in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. I am tremendously disappointed by the AAUP's decision but not the least bit surprised. Ever since the storm the AAUP, in pursuing its role as advocate for faculty members whose positions were eliminated, has shown an inability to grasp the impact of Katrina on the region, its people and institutions. The AAUP has also been consistently dismissive of Tulanešs declaration of financial exigency and the fact that we adhered to Tulanešs Faculty Handbook in dealing with issues in this unprecedented situation.
In response to inquiries regarding the AAUP's decision, we released the following statement:
"The AAUP's report, on which the June 9 vote to censure was based, is a deeply flawed, factually inaccurate document riddled with erroneous information and contradictions that do not support its own conclusions or AAUP doctrine. The AAUP report is a disservice to the values for which AAUP stands and to the thousands of individuals, including those at Tulane, who have suffered through the worst natural disaster in the history of the U.S. A detailed explanation of these points as well as an overall analysis of the AAUP's report with respect to Tulane University can be found at http://www.tulane.edu/aaup/ ."
If you have not already done so, I strongly encourage you to go to the referenced website and read through the long chain of communications between Tulane and the AAUP. In particular, I call your attention to our response to the AAUP's draft report and our response to its final report. These responses provide detailed explanations as to why we believe the AAUP decision is without merit and a disservice to the professoriate as well as to Tulane.
I realize that some of you may have questions about the impact, if any, of this decision on Tulane's future. From my perspective, given the AAUPšs inability to ever really understand and appreciate the consequences of Katrina which led to its distorted and inaccurate final report, I can only conclude that the AAUPšs decision will not have any practical impact on Tulane. Nor do I think this decision will be seen as appropriate or fair by those who familiarize themselves with our circumstances and the fact that we carefully followed Tulanešs Faculty Handbook in our effort to survive, recover and renew the university in the aftermath of a disaster which no other university had ever faced.
Having shared my own views on the matter, I think it is important that you have the opportunity to address any questions about this situation directly to me. I will therefore, as I have in the past, make myself available early in the fall semester to meet with all the faculties in open forums to discuss this and any other university issues.
In the meantime, I assure you that we remain singularly focused on making sure Tulane and New Orleans fully recover from Katrina and that we fashion a future stronger and brighter than ever for all of our faculty, staff and students, as well as for the citizens of this city, state and region. Scott