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All Campus Town Hall

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

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Dear Tulane Community:

I am writing to invite you to an important moment for Tulane.

Last spring, we conducted a Campus Climate Survey to gauge the prevalence of sexual violence in the Tulane community. The survey we used is considered a gold standard and is nationally recognized for its thorough and research-based approach.

Nearly half of our students took this survey, which is one of the highest participation rates in the country. This level of interest underscores the concern and awareness of sexual violence as a problem that deeply affects Tulane University and every segment of our society, including academic communities across the country. We have spent the months since the survey was completed analyzing the data with our own internal statisticians and then having the figures double-checked by outside experts. That data is now completed and ready for our collective review.

Please join me to discuss the survey's results at an All-Campus Town Hall from 5 to 7 p.m., Jan. 31 in the Kendall Cram Room on the second floor of the LBC. Or watch the Town Hall via live stream or at the downtown viewing locations listed here. Webinars will also be held for alumni and parents to discuss the survey’s results in days following the Town Hall. Please watch your email for invitations to these webinars.

At the Town Hall, I will outline Tulane's total commitment to asking the difficult questions and making the needed changes to keep our students safe from sexual assault. I will also answer any questions you have, announce a thorough action plan to address sexual assault at Tulane and review the many programs currently underway to address this issue.

Most importantly, with your input and guidance, we will begin the conversation to discover together what new programs, policies and people we need at Tulane to bring about dramatic and lasting change in the rates of and attitudes towards sexual misconduct. We have worked very hard to follow best practices to prevent sexual assault. Now, we must do more to innovate and develop different resources, learn from each other, invite new voices to the conversation and adopt a willingness to challenge and change the status quo.

We are determined to become a national leader in developing and adopting evidence-based programs that bring about the broad cultural change necessary to end sexual violence, assault and harassment.

Tulane has never backed down from a challenge. We were founded to do battle with yellow fever, and we continue to fight Ebola. In these and numerous other efforts, we have never shirked our duty to protect our own and serve the world.

Now we face another critical test. We must join together in unwavering commitment and compassion to bring about a wave of change on the issue of sexual assault throughout our university community and society as a whole. The first step in this journey begins Jan. 31. Please join me.

Signature of Mike Fitts