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We Are Taking Action

Friday, October 26, 2018

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Dear Tulane Community:

We have analyzed the data. Discussed the results. Searched for answers. Demanded change.

Now is the time to take action.

Prior to last year’s Climate Survey, Tulane was following the nationally recognized “best practices” to prevent sexual assault and sexual misconduct in our community. The survey’s results showed us, clearly and tragically, that this was not enough – not even close.

We had to change.

Since the survey, we have greatly increased our funding and focus on sexual assault prevention, care and response efforts. This includes hiring additional staff, such as an assistant director for fraternity life to promote men's education and engagement within the Greek system; a senior health specialist to coordinate sexual violence prevention programming for graduate and professional students; an LGBTQ+ graduate assistant to address the needs and concerns of this community and a director of public health initiatives to help prevent high-risk drinking. Alcohol does not cause sexual assault but it and other drugs are often used by sexual assault perpetrators to incapacitate or otherwise coerce victims.

Tulane is one of the nation’s leading universities and our expertise in research will play a central role in discovering the root causes of sexual violence, its cultural antecedents, the nature and motivation of perpetrators and other revelations that will lead to more innovative and effective prevention efforts. Tulane’s curriculum is evolving too, with new courses focused on ending sexual assault and creating guides for faculty and parents so that those closest to our students are armed with the knowledge and ability to speak with them about sexual violence.

There is also the All In website, a hub for sexual violence prevention, response, support and resources. To stay up to date on our progress in these areas, I encourage you to subscribe to the All In newsletter.

Sexual misconduct is a widespread problem whose solution will require the efforts of all of us working together. That is why new groups of students, faculty and staff have formed with the sole purpose of driving future prevention programming and response efforts. One example of this is the upcoming USG Town Hall, which will bring top university leaders together with students to address this critical challenge. I am looking forward to attending this event.

It is often said that there are no simple answers to ending sexual assault, that it is pervasive in our society and in cultures throughout the world. This is true. But it is not the end of the story.

Because it is also true that at Tulane we are ALL involved. We are ALL instrumental. And we are ALL IN to stop sexual violence.

Signature of Mike Fitts