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A Special View from Gibson - Confronting Troubled Times

Friday, July 15, 2016

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Dear Tulane Community:

This has been a difficult summer for our state, our country and our world. From Orlando to Baghdad, from Minnesota to Baton Rouge, from Dallas to Nice, each day seems to bring a new reminder of the impacts of violence, hatred, racism and fear. The flood of recent violent, heart-wrenching and horrific acts have laid bare many societal ills. They have given us much to reflect upon, to discuss and, most of all, to do.

Universities like Tulane play a fundamental role in finding answers to these problems. Our law professors and students struggle to meaningfully reform the criminal justice system. Our social workers and psychologists work to identify the remedies for institutional racism and religious intolerance. Business scholars seek ways to grow economic resources and formulate solutions to growing economic disparities. Our political scientists and international development scholars search for the most effective means to combat terrorism. The understanding and solutions we seek lie in every field, from anthropology to literature, from the lessons of history to the insights neuroscience provides into human behavior. We cannot shrink from the daunting complexity of the problems of the world. We must work harder.

Universities also provide rare spaces where we can come together across the lines that normally divide us. Tulane brings us together in an enduring community, one that we are working to make far more representative. The Tulane family includes every race and ethnicity the world over. We are home to students, faculty and staff from backgrounds challenged and privileged. Our university is composed of members of all the world's great religions and of those with a more secular faith in the universe. Universities give us a rare opportunity to engage with people different from us, to listen to one another, to seek understanding from one another.

I know the world does not feel very safe right now, and that these are difficult times for many of you. I hope that when we gather our full community back together for the fall semester, we can begin to work on fostering more understanding, tolerance, respect and trust—together.

Signature of Mike Fitts