A Message from President Fitts

April 20, 2021

Dear Tulane Community:

The trial of Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin has exacerbated the deep wounds of racism and injustice in our society. As I stated in my letter to you in June 2020, the historical significance of this moment must be underscored. We all have a responsibility to redouble our efforts to live up to the ideals and values of equity, inclusion and justice.

We recognize that this time has been extremely difficult for all Tulanians – but especially for our community members of color. For the Black community, in particular, who have been grieving so much over the past year – and especially in these past weeks – the pain you have experienced has been immeasurable. We hope you will find moments for healing and restoration. The murder of George Floyd is another tragic example of how much work remains to be done before Black people, and all people of color, are welcomed, supported and thrive in our society.

Like institutions throughout our country, Tulane has a critical role to play in modeling a more just future by building a university that embraces its BIPOC members and values them as vital members of our academic family. Our admissions, hiring and promotion processes and, indeed, all of our operations, must reflect true equity, diversity and inclusion. We must promote initiatives that build trust and support for all underrepresented groups. For these are the hallmarks of a truly great and truly just university – one where our BIPOC community members feel genuine belonging. Our campus-wide efforts to build such a community can be found here.

In the aftermath of today’s verdict, the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion has organized three virtual Zoom events that will allow students, faculty and staff the opportunity to join together to help bring about racial healing in our community. Additional information regarding these healing spaces can be found here.

We hope that the verdict in this trial will bring some measure of solace to the family and loved ones of George Floyd. We also hope that it will add greater urgency to our efforts to create a society where Black people, and all people of color, experience equity and fairness throughout their lives.

Mike Fitts