2022 Black History Month

February 4, 2022

Dear Tulane Community:

This week brought the disturbing news that Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) throughout the country, including our neighbors at Xavier University in New Orleans, have been the target of bomb threats. We join our fellow universities in condemning these abhorrent acts of terror and in working together to create a more equitable, more just and safer world for all.

These tragic and deeply troubling incidents occurred as universities across the nation commemorate Black History Month, a weeks-long remembrance and celebration of the essential contributions made by Black people in shaping our nation’s history. Incidents like these underscore the importance of recounting the legacy and impact of Black history which, as actor Morgan Freeman has noted, is American history and should be acknowledged and honored throughout the year.

Black History Month at Tulane will include field trips, lectures, performances, panel discussions and other special events. Among the many highlights will be an appearance by Maya Wiley, a nationally recognized civil rights lawyer, racial justice advocate, NBC legal analyst and former New York mayoral candidate. We will also welcome the nation’s top HBCU student-athletes to Yulman Stadium as we host the inaugural Legacy Bowl, an all-star showcase of future NFL talent.

In addition to celebrating past and current Black history, we will also continue to work toward creating a more equitable, diverse and inclusive (EDI) Tulane. Any university that seeks to be truly distinctive, impactful and a leader in research and education must include the contributions, energy and expertise of the widest array of students, faculty and staff. This is a primary goal of Strategy for Tomorrow: a five-year plan that will guide our EDI and racial equity efforts from July 1, 2022, through June 30, 2027. Each school and unit at Tulane is currently submitting draft plans of how they intend to further the goal of a Strategy for Tomorrow. The full details of a Strategy for Tomorrow can be found at this link.

Among the Strategy for Tomorrow’s many initiatives is the creation of more pathways into management for a wider array of staff through efforts such as the Tulane Leadership Institute, which includes the Emerging Leaders Program and the Anti-Racism Leadership Program. And we are expanding our contractor and vendor partnerships to ensure they include the broadest participation possible, including Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC)-owned businesses. Campus-wide programs aimed at increasing equity, diversity and inclusion are also receiving more support than ever, thanks to an additional $2.5 million in annual funding we have allocated for this purpose.

Through the initiatives mentioned above and other efforts in our ongoing, collective and absolute commitment to building the diverse, inclusive and welcoming university we all desire and deserve, we hope to ensure that Black history continues to be made at Tulane both now and in the future. For as poet and activist Amanda Gorman reminds us, “while we have our eyes on the future, history has its eyes on us.”

Mike Fitts