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A Special View from Gibson - Charlottesville

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

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Dear Tulane Community,

As the events of Charlottesville unfolded last weekend, I was reminded of the powerful role universities play in our society. We bring together people from all over the world, bound by the pursuit of invention and understanding. We gather in the profound belief that we have more in common than not, and that we learn best from the endless variation of our experiences, backgrounds and perspectives. Universities are fueled by the power of speech: we teach, we argue and, most of all, we learn from one another.   

That power is diminished when we are confronted with those who would stifle speech with violence, who would deny the fundamental equality of humankind and the dignity of all. The sight of swastika flags and torches, of white supremacists shouting racial slurs, of the terrible act of violence that cost Heather Heyer her life and injured many others, threatens all that we hold dear.  

As we come back together to begin a new academic year, know that you are part of a community that protects and proclaims our equal dignity. We celebrate our diversity. We work hard, and will work harder still, to assemble the best and brightest from all over the world. We listen to one another with open hearts and disagree with passion and respect. And we forever proclaim our Tulane values — that no member of our community ever be made to feel like they don’t belong here.

This is OUR Tulane, and it would not be the same without each and every one of you in it.

Signature of Mike Fitts