Honoring MLK with A Strategy for Tomorrow

January 14, 2022

Dear Tulane Community,

On Monday, Jan. 17, our nation will commemorate the life and legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Dr. King’s efforts to eradicate racism and inequality changed our country and world. His message continues to inspire us as we seek to advance racial justice, freedom and equity for current and future generations of Tulanians.

In 2020, we launched A Plan for Now, which provided a clear structure and direction for our ongoing efforts to build a more racially equitable, diverse and inclusive Tulane. We knew that embarking on such a plan was the right thing to do. We also knew that achieving the objectives of this plan would make Tulane a stronger, more academically powerful and impactful university devoted to educating and empowering the whole student.

We have made measurable progress through A Plan for Now, including increasing the diversity of our faculty and student community. We have also launched Louisiana Promise, which makes Tulane more accessible and affordable to Louisiana residents from low- and middle-income families. Through the new Tulane Leadership Institute, created in 2021, we launched the Emerging Leaders Program and the Anti-Racism Leadership Program to build more pathways into management for a diverse array of staff. We continue to expand our contractor and vendor partnerships to include more Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC)-owned businesses. We also distribute $2.5 million annually in additional equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) funds. Although we have made progress, we know that whenever real growth is attained the need for additional effort becomes all the more urgent.

To ensure we continue to move forward in building the university community we all desire and deserve, the Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion has engaged in a data gathering and planning initiative to create the university-wide Strategy for Tomorrow: a five-year plan that will guide our EDI and racial equity efforts from July 1, 2022 through June 30, 2027.

The full details of a Strategy for Tomorrow can be found at this link, but this is only the beginning. Now is the time for each of our schools and units to build on the Strategy for Tomorrow by developing their own EDI and racial equity plans. Unit-based chairs and members of the Strategy for Tomorrow committee will lead the development of these plans for individual schools, departments and other divisions of Tulane over the next five months. We urge each of you to participate in and support the creation of these unit-based plans. Doing so will ensure that this work is led by the core of our university – our students, staff and faculty – and does not fall disproportionately on our BIPOC and other underrepresented and underserved members of our university community.

Tulane is committed to improving the human condition on our campuses and beyond through research, scholarship and an unwavering commitment to the core values of EDI and racial equity. Your collective effort through this planning process will help ensure that Tulane is a place where students, faculty, and staff from all racial backgrounds know that they are vital and valued members of this community.

We are grateful to the many stakeholders who participated in the focus groups that helped inform our plans. They provided the feedback that became the essence of a Strategy for Tomorrow. We are also indebted to those who served on the university committee on racial equity, diversity, and inclusion, which laid the foundation and developed a roadmap to an exciting and just future for all Tulanians. It is a future that will truly honor the man whose life and legacy we celebrate on Monday – and every day.

Michael A. Fitts, President

Robin Forman, Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost

Patrick Norton, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer

Anneliese Singh, Associate Provost for Diversity and Faculty Development/Chief Diversity Officer