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Confronting Sexual Violence

Friday, September 22, 2017

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Dear Tulane Community:

Tuesday night’s third annual Shifting the Paradigm gathering was a powerful event. Like all those who attended, I found the profound personal stories and the clear commitment to confronting sexual violence inspirational.

We recognize Tulane's progress in this area, but know we also have much work to do to achieve our goal of leading the way nationally in a cultural change that will help end sexual violence on college campuses. I walked away from the conversation on Tuesday with hope and optimism about the role our community will play in driving this change.

A centerpiece of this important work is our Campus Climate Survey, which was conducted in the spring semester. Nearly half of our student body shared their experiences, providing valuable data that will not only reveal the prevalence of sexual violence in our community but also help us find solutions. 

We plan to finish analyzing the Climate Survey data by January. While the survey’s detailed findings will be released and discussed at a campus-wide forum on January 31, we are not waiting until then to take action. I have asked my Chief of Staff and Senior Vice President, Tania Tetlow, to lead the effort to learn what more Tulane can do to prevent sexual violence.

An advocate, former federal prosecutor and law professor who has tirelessly fought violence against women both in the U.S. and abroad, Tania is uniquely qualified to lead Tulane in this effort. As part of her leadership, she will work with Meredith Smith, our assistant provost for Title IX and Clery Compliance. Meredith is a leader in the field of campus sexual assault prevention and her years of experience working with students and survivors at universities across the country will provide crucial insight for us.

Tania and Meredith will bring together our own and outside experts, students and front-line staff to brainstorm and implement new ideas. We will also come to you for help, seeking your suggestions and guidance. So expect to hear from Tania regularly as we continue this work.

Make no mistake. Addressing sexual violence at Tulane will take all of us pulling together. Not for one’s self, but for one’s own.

We look forward to hearing your thoughts and ideas as we continue this difficult and important work. Please send your input to Meredith Smith at msmith76@tulane.edu.

Signature of Mike Fitts