Thursday, September 08, 2005

More Than Just a President

My post last night was intended to create intelligent discourse on the possibilities and implications regarding the money issue. I stated very, very clearly that we shouldn’t judge Dr. Cowen or Tulane before we hear their policy and acquire all the answers to our questions. But what did some of you do? You judged them. I was thinking that this negativity would destroy the unity between the students and hurt our support for Tulane, until I realized the truth. About 75% of the comments that responded to the money situation in opposition of Scott Cowen weren’t written by students at all; but by the parents. Many of the comments were belligerent ranting, not intellectual discussion. Threatening Tulane and calling for Scott Cowen’s resignation will solve nothing. Expressing concern and discussing your side of the issue, on the other hand, will result in an equally accommodating response from the university. If you are not a student, you have little basis calling for Scott Cowen’s resignation. Other than this unimaginable experience, what has he done to make you think he is an unworthy president?

Let me first tell you what I know about Scott Cowen. He is truly amazing. He belongs at an Ivy League school; and he considers Tulane no different from one. Have you ever heard him speak? He’s engaging, articulate and straightforward. He understands the needs of the students, and works tirelessly to make Tulane more than a university, but a home. I don’t know of another university who is lucky enough to have such an involved president. He spends much of his own time walking around campus and interacting with the students because their input is important to him. He sincerely cares about his students and is fully committed to the Tulane family. Since I’ve been at Tulane, there have been no protests against him – not from one single group. This is wildly uncommon, as usually university presidents have trouble finding a balance between their academic requirements and the students’ need for a social life. He has improved the university beyond what anyone could have dreamed. The new business school is astounding, and the new school for tropical health will be revolutionary. He made Tulane a leader in the community. For example, when there was lobbying in Louisiana for a raise in minimum wage, Tulane did it before it was passed (and when it was looking like it might not pass). Scott Cowen works 7 days a week and probably 320 days a year. However, I had the fortune of seeing him speak to my TIDES when I was a freshman, and at Hillel every year. In other words, he takes time out of his busy schedule to work with small groups of students. I’d love to see another university president succeed in being half as personal.

Now let’s talk about Scott Cowen’s current situation. Do you actually blame the man? Do you really believe he has intention of screwing over even one person?? The minute people started ranting on my site, Tulane posted two important answers 1- everyone who isn’t enrolled in classes will be credited their tuition and 2- if you don’t head back to Tulane you WILL get your money back. Yes, the situation in regards to state school tuition is going to be difficult. But why couldn’t you wait until they posted that? Why did you have to blame Scott Cowen, as if he personally wants your money? Scott Cowen’s responsibility is to look out for the long-term viability of my university. This is what I pay tuition to have him do. And never would I ever make personal attacks against him for doing his job. He will come up with a plan, and I guarantee it will work for almost every single member of the Tulane community.

If you want to know what Scott Cowen has done, just ask any student. How many people do you know that are so attached to their college that they will wait, in a semester of hell, to order to go back? In 99% of cases, most kids would have transferred after the first day. Not at Tulane. Thousands of people have commented or emailed me directly, saying that they will be waiting for Tulane to come back online. Scott Cowen has not only shaped an institution for higher education, he’s created a community of people who love each other, and are unconditionally devoted to their university.

In conclusion, let me express my disappointment with such negative comments. And students, you need to speak up. I a proud to be part of Tulane’s community, and I would devastated if we were to lose Scott Cowen and his leadership. Tulane would never be same, especially at such a critical and vulnerable time. How could anyone even complain, when the obvious alternative is the collapse of Tulane as we know it?

Over the past years, Scott Cowen has worked hard to give us the experience of a lifetime; he is our leader through this tragedy and deserves everyone’s support and, at the very least, our respect.

Brett Hyman

PS- This forum is for private use only. No newspapers are entitled to use quotes in their ad, because this is meant for communication between members of the Tulane community only.


Anonymous Jonah Lee said...

beautifully put. I think you should also add the fact the value of the Tulane degree has risen substantially in the few years. SAT scores have gone up. Applications have increased. admission into Tulane is more difficult and more selective. Retention rate is better. Endowement has gone up. this has all gone up due to his/his administration's leadership and vision.

12:51 AM  
Anonymous jonah lee said...

and I should also add to the face, that yes, I am checking your blog site at 2:56 Central Time. I win.

12:56 AM  
Blogger kburmeister said...

Thank you so much for your comments. As the parent of a freshmen, of course I have many concerns about the future, but it will ultimately be his decision on where to continue his education. However, one thing I would like to remind everyone is that life is not clean, easy or safe. I would allow him to return to NOLA for exactly the same reason we let him go to West Africa this summer. It would be a life changing event. Definitely something more than endless parties at just another university.
For all of you worried about your status of graduating from a school affected by Katrina, I would like to remind you that employers and grad schools are not stupid. Frankly, I would think rather highly of someone who chose to stick with an organization and help them out of a difficult situation. That shows character and hat is something you can't buy, only earn.

4:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"About 75% of the comments that responded to the money situation in opposition of Scott Cowen weren’t written by students at all; but by the parents."

This surprises you? How many of the students pay the bill when it comes in?
It is a terribly difficult situation for all! Should you judge people for judging? That smells a little like hypocrisy. The purpose of a blog is to rant a little, share ideas (sometimes negative ones) and, hopefully, come to rational decisions. We love Tulane, we love New Orleans...we chose them both and we would like the opportunity to choose how much of our Fall tuition will go to rebuilding!

5:09 AM  
Anonymous ncgwmom said...

I haven't read the negative comments you write about, and I don't intend to. I am the parent of a Tulane freshman, and both my son and I (I should say" we," as his father feels the same way we do) have developed an strong loyalty to Tulane before he has attended his first class there as a result of the fine way the school has handled the crisis. The students who stayed in NO were beautifully cared for, and the immediate attention to the needs of the employees was admirable. I do understand the terrible tension of not knowing how we will pay for whatever extra expenses will accrue--and they have already begun--it isn't cheap to buy everything twice and move in twice. However, if patience and hope were ever needed, it's now. President Cowen and everyone at Tulane have our full support, and our son is anxious to return and become a committed emmeber of the school in its rebuilding.

Thanks for the site. Every connection helps right now.

5:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brett's comments are far from hypocrisy. On the contrary, he is a young person showing far more courage, understanding and character in this uncertain situation than many parents. Money has its place, it is certainly not unimportant, but I will not set an example that leads my daughter to believe that it justifies allowing discourse to degenerate to distrust and accusation in the face of tragedy. I think Brett's observations are right on the mark-- good work!

6:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I graduated four years ago. Scott Cowen became the president of the University while I was a student. He has done amazing things for the university's reputation, and I am sure will continue to do so.

6:09 AM  
Anonymous Danielle, Newcomb 97 said...

As an alumni of Tulane I can say that Tulane is the same yet different now than it was when I attended from 93-97. I put myself through Tulane with scholarships and loans (which I will pay for life) so I could get that kind of education. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but hang tight on hard fast decisions until all the options are on the table and it is entirely too soon to expect that to be the case right now. I have family who have lost everything down there. I dont know if they will return to the state of Louisiana, which saddens me but I am in NY so I have no say. Tulane is by far lucky to have survived much better and will be able to rebuild in good time.

6:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Scott Cowen has been a terrific president. My child is now at Columbia University, ranked ninth in US News, and her experience at Tulane ranks favorably compared with Columbia. I hope President Cowen sees this.

The choice to play hardball with the tuition money was a risky, and in my opinion a disastrous choice. I am not sure it was Scott Cowen's call. If it was his call, well, one bad call can ruin a stellar career (that's what Shakespeare's plays are about). It it was not his call, he is not to blame.

There is still time for President Cowen to change course on this. But not much time.

And of course I might be wrong in my judgments. Maybe this risk-all decision will prove out to have been the right one. Time will tell. Note the whole policy assumes a spring semester.

6:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you Brett, for a beautifully written piece today. I needed to see it. I'm a parent, and it boosted my spirits greatly. I went to the blogs yesterday, expecting something entirely different. All of the anger made me sad. We're all disappointed that out kids couldn't start at Tulane this fall, but there are huge issues out there that have to be dealt with. And, while we're at it, things are not always as they seem. The dinner in Houston may have been with wealthy alumni who came with pocketbooks open to help the school they love - and ultimately students and their parents.

I started not to come back today to the blogs, but decided to check back and see what was happening. Your piece made me glad I did. My son also misses the sounds of the street cars, but we live in the south, so he still hears ya'll on a regular basis.

6:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As an alumna I don't feel the tuition pinch as current students do but I do believe that Scott Cowen is doing the right thing. If not the only thing he can do. If the Tulane community wants Tulane to stay alive paying tuition this semester my be the only option. To me that is much more important to short term loss. I also think that there will be more to come from Scott Cowen and Tulane in the following weeks and months. While people may not be getting all of their money back they may get something else- like a running university. I treasure my experiences at Tulane and in New Orleans so greatly and believe that they can both rebuild. Brett your comments needed. Scott Cowen is stuck between a rock and a hard place and doing an excellent job for a man who has himself has been displaced (along with every one of his employees). The work he has done to make sure that every student has a place to study this semester has been phenomenal. I hope that he gets more attention for the great work he is doing and has done.

6:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

While no one I am sure that is intimate with Tulane will argue with Brett's assessment of Scott Cowen, there are other issues that need to be discussed. Yes, Cowen is a visible, hands on president. He has done a great deal for Tulane and the NOLA community. However, the buck stops with him and whether his actions are his own or at the direction of the Board of Trustees he has failed to provide the crisis communication that is necessary in this type of situation. Loyola of New Orleans provided answers for their students a week ago. Perhaps they had a plan, perhaps not...but that's the sign of effective leadership in a crisis mode. The test of a great leader comes not only when the times are good, but when the times are not so good. Brett, you have been an active student at Tulane and probably have developed a very good personal relationship with Dr. Cowen. And maybe you are too close to the situation. Nevertheless, for many of the parents and yes, even students, Scott Cowen has not proven that he is an effective leader the past two weeks and as the leader of this great institution, he should take full responsibility. In a crisis mode, communication is key and a continum of promises of full information to follow is not a what is expected or certainly should have occurred.

6:30 AM  
Blogger Jaya said...

My only comment to anyone thinking Scott Cowen should resign would be, what would you do if you were him? You have a school in a city half underwater, and about 8,000 students scattered across the country, each having a different experience. Sure, we're going to lose some, but all of my friends and I are waiting to go back as soon as we can. He's already said that he'd sort out the logistics if anyone has made you pay double tuition, so that's not his fault, that's just the other school trying to make a profit from our misfortune. I think a place that gives you an amazing education and provides and environment that most wouldn't trade for even ivy league is worth the tuition.

6:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brett, I am trying to decide if you are a suck up or are truly concerned. I predict yout comments will successfully shut down any debate. Perhaps your blog was so successful yesterday because people needed to vent. I guess asking questions is apparently not allowed. You should make it clear this blog is just a love fest for the administration

6:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

to all the students who are fortunate enough to have parents who are paying for the cost of their education: From the day you were born, we opened savings accounts, and UTMA accounts. We saved your Birthday money and Sweet 16 or BarMitzvah money. Many of us skipped that vacation we wanted to take, or that new car to replace that old clunker we drive around. We went to parent teacher conferences, we did endless hours of homework help at the end of the day when we were so tired we couldn't hold up our heads. We spent many hours researching colleges, visiting, calling, filling out endless paperwork and forms. We dreamed. Our child would get the best education. They would find a stimulating place they could call home while they transitioned into the accomplished, wonderful, happy adults we knew they could be. Now, in the blink of an eye (Katrina's eye)all of this could be gone. Not even a phone call or an email! We are scared. Many are angry. All these "ranting parents" need is some reassurance. Some will leave because they did not get it. To the administration: We know you are busy, but please take a few minutes to reach out and give a little hope to the students and families who are living in fear.

6:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are two constituencies on this board...the parents who worked hard for 18 years to get their children to Tulane and the children like Brett. While I totally disagree with Brett's assesment of Dr. Cowen (I believe he has failed miserably, is in way over his head and should be replaced as the University spokesman), I do fully understand Brett's views. He, too worked hard to get to Tulane; is an active member of the Tulane community and probably has enjoyed the last few years at Tulane more than any other time in his life. For Brett, his college life has been pulled out from under him and he wants it back. It's no different on the parent's side. We need to respect both sides of this issue and opinions should be respected not deleted if they do not fall into lock step with Brett or anyone else who may be editing this blog. Cut Brett some slack, but Brett, please understand the parents on this site, too. Maybe your parents and others you speak to feel like you do. I can assure you not all do. Tulane has blown this one bigger than Katrina. Scott Cowen needs to read his own scholarly articles and textbooks - communication is the key and in a crisis it's immediate communication with answers. Dr. Cowen may have been a great campus schmoozer, but he's not a great leader.

6:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The families "living in fear" are those in the Tulane faculty, staff and administration who are displaced and live every day with questions of when, and whether, they will be able to return home. Waiting 2 weeks to find out whether you will receive 18K or 10K or 5K in tuition refund pales in comparison.

I want to know what the plan is too, but I also realize that the "right priorities" and "good communication" under these circumstances means addressing the needs most critical to the institution and those affected. Like evacuation of personnel from NOLA, and the continuity of payroll and health insurance for displaced employees. These may not be my priorities, but I would urge others to consider that they may nevertheless be the right ones in the aftermath of such a catastrophe. The success or failure of the administration's response will ultimately be judged by whether they attended to the right questions, not neceassrily to your questions. But as someone above said, perhaps you feel that should be your tuition refund. Certainly that is one way to look at it.

7:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am poor, my parents do not pay my tuition. Scott Cowen is amazing, no other school in the nation can compare with Tulane. Parents need to stop ranting on this site. Talk to your kids, they're adults now. If they rely on you and say so than you tell them where to go and get all your money back like point 2 on yesterday's post said. We don't want sissy kids like that at Tulane anyway. If you're kid wants to go to Tulane, then support them. Or make your kid pay for it. I don't know, all I know is parents dissing Cowen or my school angers me b/c you never went there. Like that one lady said, life isn't safe, sure or anything, its a gamble, deal with it. I 100% believe that not a single one of you parents could do even half as good as Cowen is doing in this situation. You would solve everything hastily and the school would go under. All Cowen is doing is securing the future of Tulane if you don't want to be a part of it fine. I support him 100%.

7:09 AM  
Anonymous Casey said...

First, thank you Brett for putting this site together. This blog has been one of the most encouraging and helpful sites in this time of dire stress.
I am a junior this year, and am very active in the Tulane community. I am involved in the Undergraduate Student Government, Associated Student Body, GreenEnvy, and Pi Beta Phi. Scott Cowen has played an intimate role in each of these organizations in at least one instance during my Tulane career. His impecable ability to lead with such personal care and professional guidance is what has shaped my time at Tulane to be the best in my 20 years of living. Dr. Cowen has proven himself to be the amazing leader I have come to know and love in this time of confusion and desperation. He has displayed the compassion, grace, and patience only a person of his stature could. I am confident he will show these same qualities when formulating a plan for Tulane's future.
I love Tulane, and will never waver my loyalty to it. I am eager to finish my last two years in a stronger, better-than-ever Tulane community.

7:11 AM  
Blogger Barbara Berg said...

I'm a Tulane parent who did not read yesterday's blogs. My student will be going to Johns Hopkins part-time, so of course I wonder what will happen with her tuition money and whether, when she attends summer school? or additional time at Tulane, she will then have to pay for the credits that she has essentially already paid for. HOWEVER, I have the utmost of faith in Scott Cowen's ability to deal with this fairly. Come on, now, guys, do you really think he wants to anger his constituency and risk not having them come back? First and foremost, he needs to assure the viability of the University, and that takes money. There needs to be a balance regarding concerns about our money, and faith that Tulane will be fair. Keep in mind that the biggest question is how Tulane can best survive. Give it a chance to fall out! Tulane also has to deal with paying employees, etc., which they can't do if they have no money. Loyalty goes both ways.

7:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the reason why there has been no emails or calls to parents to discuss any of these matters is due to Tulane not having any of that contact information. Tulane does not have access to any of that information with their server down and that is why a lot of the individual schools inside of Tulane have asked for students, staff, and faculty to register their contact information on their website.

I know a lot of you parents are concerned about the tuition that you paid and just want some answers, and you have absolutely every right to be so. But having such a negative attitude does not help anyone. There are a lot of students on this site who don't need to hear all of your negativity because this is a very tough period for everyone right now. Rather than complain, why don't you be more grateful. Be grateful that you are watching the news coverage of the storm WITH your child and not FOR your child. If all you lost was your $18,000 than you are lucky. Think about all of the people who are in shelters across the country that have nothing now. They have no job, no house, some don't know where their families are, and no money. I'm here in Houston, and if I went down to the Astrodome where there are about 30,000 evacuees, and asked them if they could have everything back for $18,000 I'm sure every single person would do so.

I don't want to seem like I'm blindly following the administration because I'm not. I was very upset a few years ago when they were considering scrapping Division I sports at the school, but they made the right decision and in fact led the charge against a lot of the corruption of college athletics. I trust that Scott Cowen and the rest of the administration will do the right thing in the end. This is a very difficult period right now for everyone, and it is going to take some time to work out all of the details.

7:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am sorry your blog has been hijacked by parents with tuition concerns, and I am sure that Scott Cowen and the rest of the administration are heartened by your faith in them. I do not share that faith. For a week or so your blog has been the only means of communication for Tulane tuition payers. Why? Loyola and UNO have had web sites, contact numbers, and tuition policies posted for days now. When Katrina hit it never even occured to me that Tulane would try to keep money for a semester of education it never provided. When the first postings appeared hinting that Tulane intended to keep our fall tuition I was stunned. The first set of FAQ's (which were quickly pulled) left me to believe that Tulane intended not only to keep fall tuition, but also bill for a students fall financial aid if he or she did not return in the spring. It was too bad no email address or phone number was posted so I could clarify my understanding.
I suspect that the Tulane administration is closely following your blog, so I would like to make my position clear. I will not pay Tulane tuition for my child to attend a state university part time. My student is anxious to return to Tulane, but that will not happen if the University does not credit the full fall tuition to the spring semester. Yes it all comes down to money - the money we have saved over the years by driving old cars and skipping vacations. Tulane is a business and we are clients. It is Tulane's job to insure itself against loss of income. I am in no position to be a benefactor to a university suffering from its own poor business practices.

7:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Watching Scott Cowen deal with all this is like watching the rescue effort in New Orleans. Where was he when we were deciding where to send our sons and daughters? Where is he now? Why is it that we are told to wait until Monday to get some answers? His " visiting tuition " arrangement would have been fine if we had been informed about it before we made decisions that would affect the financial and education lives of our families and children . It only became a "scam" because it was done without our knowledge and consent. We didn’t have the right to make informed decisions we were not told that our very expensive tulane tuition would be withheld by the administration.

8:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I paid my tuition online. While the money came out of my account the next day the payment has been listed as "open" by the bank. I put a stop payment on the check and the money is now back in my account.

Having done and said all that I am not sure that it matters. My child is a senior. The school holds three years of her credits. Do I really have a say in any of this ? This is a total abuse of power.

8:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Scott Cowen seems to think that hes going to reopen in the Spring BUT many students and faculty live off campus. Where are they going to live? Maybe they should find a temporary location to move the whole school to ( not an easy task ) How about online courses ? Telecommunications ? Maybe he should use his creative talents to come up with something other than his visiting student tuition scam.

8:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Scott Cowen is a tremendous leader. We would be foolish to drive him away from Tulane. He has done so much for our school, I can see that and i am only a sophomore. He is unlike any president of any other university i have ever seen. he truly cares about every student at tulane, every issue at tulane (even ones not brought to his attention, that he stumbles upon).
This man will lead tulane back to the dominant and great university it was only a month ago. Not much has changed, we just need to continue to have the support of everyone affiliated with tulane. you chose to attend tulane or let your child attend tulane for a reason, show your support! I am certain Cowen will also be one the main people helping to bring the city of New Orleans back to it's feet.

8:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

On August 21, 2004, my wife and I stood with my new Tulane Freshman daughter in front of Monroe Hall waiting to check in. A most cordial and caring man came up to us, introduced himself and we had an engaging, genuine conversation - not a half-hearted "nice to meet you" before moving to the next person. And then that man did the same thing with as many of the other new parents and students as possible. Only afterwards did I realize it was Scott Cowen. I have admired Dr. Cowen from that moment and I will continue to do so. Tulane has proven to be the life defining experience we had hoped my daughter would find. It is reassuring to read how all the Tulane students feel this same loyalty to Tulane - it is all part of what makes Tulane great. Oh, and by the way, after undergraduate school at Georgetown University and graduate school at NYU, I never met the presidents of those institutions during my time there. My thanks and support to Scott Cowen for making a difference! I have already written to advise Tulane to hold our tuition/room money for the spring semester.

8:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cheers to Brett!

8:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why didn't I wait until yesterday's post before enrolling in the local state school part time? They have been in session since Aug 22, I felt I needed to enroll quickly rather than wait and get farther and farther behind. Yes, I love Tulane and Yes, we are all in a difficult position. However, the thoughts of paying full Tulane tuition for a part-time state university semester is painful!

8:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brett, I enjoyed your post about President Cowen. As I understand it however, you are not enrolled in another school at this time and therefore you do not have the same tuition concerns shared by many here.

8:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a parent of a Tulane Freshman and an Alumni. I also work in the IT department of a firm that used to be in the World Trade Center. When our offices were lost 4 years ago Sunday, all of our technology resources were back up to their original state and working in less than 3 days because WE HAD A DISASTER RECOVERY PLAN! Even Cantor Fitzgerald, which lost 60% of its workforce (they were dead, not scattered around the country) was back up and working in that same time period. Most major businesses also have Business Interruption Insurance so that their employees can be paid and cared for in the event of a disaster when their might not be income coming in. Did Tulane have any of this insurance, or are they depending on either the parents or the government to bail them out?

Where was Tulane’s disaster recovery plan? So far it has consisted of a one page web site with the theme ‘we’re thinking about what to do, we’ll get back to you’. This is totally unacceptable for any business, much less one of this size and importance to not only the Tulane community, but to New Orleans.

Scott Cowen said in his speech on Saturday afternoon of “Freshman Moving-In Day” at McAlister that “. . . I didn’t get to be a university President because I was dumb or naïve.” To not have a disaster recovery plan, at least for their technology infrastructure is ‘dumb’. It is ‘naïve’ to not expect that a hurricane could do serious damage to the City of New Orleans and possibly the University itself, especially after the Times-Picayune series “Washing Away” published 3 years ago warned of this exact scenario.

Did Scott Cowen and the administration of Tulane University depend on the resources of the City of New Orleans, the State of Louisiana and FEMA to rescue and care for the University the same way the poor people of New Orleans depended on those same government entities to rescue and care for them? Aren’t Scott Cowen and the Tulane administration smarter than those people? If not, why are they running the University? It appears to me the administration of the University has acted no better, and no smarter than Ray Nagin, Kathleen Blanco or FEMA Director Michael Brown.

On Saturday 27-August when I left McAlister after Cowen’s speech, I believed in Cowen and the University. Since Katrina hit, my faith in them has gone down to the point where I believe if they don’t act quickly and decisively to resolve, or at least to definitively decide on how to handle the issues surrounding the continuing operations of the University, I would no longer want to send my child to Tulane, nor would I continue to endow it with my financial contributions in the future. I would also be embarrassed to call myself a Tulane Alumni.

All of the above is ignoring the fact that I’m unsure that I would send my child back into a city when I would be concerned about the long term health effects of living there, and the distinct possibility that at any moment, another hurricane could permanently damage New Orleans already fragile infrastructure.

A word to Brett – This is a good blog, and Cowen has said he’s reading it. I AM JUDGING SCOTT COWEN AND THE ADMINISTRATION. I believe I have a right to as do others with ‘interests’. I have various ‘interests’ in the university. One is financial (about $20,000 right now), which I personally can’t afford to lose, but I could eventually recover from. The more important ‘interest’ is my faith in the leaders of Tulane and their ability to manage the school in the future and have it maintain the prestige that it has attained. The leaders of the university need to be judged, because if we don’t, others will. And they will vote with their feet and leave and never come back.

8:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been watching this blog for days and can only guess that many of the parents venting here are from places in the US that have never (and will never) experience a Category 4 or 5 hurricane in all its fury.
The devastation, disruption of communications and resulting chaos lasts weeks and sometimes months, not simply days. In fact the real hard work only begins after the media becomes bored and leaves because things aren't so dramatic anymore.

To expect people who, when it all comes down to it, are only human like all of us,(and who are probably still operating in a state of shock due to their own personal losses), to have all of the answers you want to hear immediately is completely unreasonable.

I live in South Florida and I know personally what it's like before and after a hurricane. You pick up the pieces and get things back together, but it takes time.

We're not wealthy so it's not like we have money to throw away or lose. But I don't believe we are losing anything in the long run. My son made arrangements to find a place for this semester to study with that in mind. He picked a school that would credit his Tulane tuition and where he will get good courses and experience. If he couldn't find an acceptable school that wouldn't charge extra tuition, he had an alternate plan to find an internship for a semester to gain valuable experience in his field of interest.

Patience is the key word here. Give these people time to recover and deal with the loss of their life as they knew it. I don't believe anyone involved is out to scam or rob or use anyone else, especially not their students. They are working in an unprecedented situation and trying to hold things together.

There are so many people in this who have lost so much more than money - they have lost loved ones, jobs, and futures. Yes it's rough on the students but it can be a growth experience for them as well. Life isn't fair or easy - life is what you make it. The inconvenience of changing your plans for one semester of college pales in comparison to what you could be dealing with.

My thoughts and prayers are with all of the residents of the affected areas at this time. The rest will work itself out.

8:42 AM  
Anonymous R Berkley said...

I am a Tulane parent. My daughter and her friends are Tulane seniors. It is their intention to graduate from Tulane...whenever. As parents we support that decision. Tulane and New Orleans have served our daughter well. Her loyalty is our motivation. Scott Cowan has been terrific. He has shown himself to be a true leader of leaders. I can't say enough about his conduct during these terrible days. Our kids chose Tulane, we should support their choice. Freshman who leave are going to miss a truly unique college experience. They will be part of the reconstruction of New Orleans. Let me tell you from my own experience, college in NOLA is very worthwhile. Stay the course. Tulane and New Orleans will come through this stronger and better, and more fun than ever.

8:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am so surprised by many of the assumptions underlying these comments. For parents to want to have a choice in how they spend their hard earned savings -- some of which sits at Tulane in the form of tuition paid for a fall 2005 semester AT Tulane University -- does not mean that these parents are indifferent to the plight of others who have lost their family members and homes and who, without doubt, have suffered far worse in this disaster. But that is not an appropriate measure for the topic of tuition paid to Tulane.

I too was very impressed with Dr. Cowen. In fact, his presentation at the admitted students’ reception was the major reason I supported my child’s decision to choose Tulane over other (higher ranked) colleges.

My impressions of Dr. Cowen aside, and my understanding that others have suffered, and are still suffering, in a far worse manner than my own family also aside, Dr. Cowen does not have any legal or ethical right to decide that my child’s decision to take classes at another school (while Tulane is closed) means that I lose the tuition I paid for my child to attend Tulane this fall. End of story. I do not need a check today or tomorrow; and I am satisfied to be credited by Tulane for those monies for my child’s attendance at Tulane in the spring 2006 semester.

But, again, no, (and especially on top of our emotional stress and other extraordinary expenses during the past week and a half), I do not choose to donate the fall 2005 semester tuition monies paid to Tulane because my child is taking classes at another private college. And, no, I do not choose to accept Tulane’s unilateral attempt to vary the reasons behind out paying tuition to the school. I am comfortable that Tulane cannot force me to do otherwise.

9:24 AM  
Blogger Parent Beth Johnson said...

I am a Tulane parent, and let me add my voice to those who are praising Scott Cowen. Frankly, I'm appalled that parents are ranting against Mr. Cowen, as if this storm and the aftermath came through their own backyard.(If, in fact, it did, then I can understand). Yes, our family is lucky that our local school is willing to defer any payment until Tulane sorts it all out, but from what I've seen, most of the other colleges are willing to be flexible. It seems monumentally self-absorbed to be venting at Scott right now. Seeing the loyalty and love that my daughter and her Tulane friends feel for their college shows me that the President of the school is on the right track and that we're lucky to have him in charge. And when Tulane is back up and running, what a remarkable experience and education it will be for our children to be part of the rebuilding of that wonderful city. Please, parents, remember that this is not all about you right now.

9:38 AM  
Blogger Parent Beth Johnson said...

I am a Tulane parent, and let me add my voice to those who are praising Scott Cowen. Frankly, I'm appalled that parents are ranting, as if this storm and the aftermath came through their own backyard.(If, in fact, it did, then I can understand). Yes, our family is lucky that our local school is willing to defer any payment until Tulane sorts it all out, but from what I've seen, most of the other colleges are willing to be flexible. It seems monumentally self-absorbed to be venting at Scott right now. Seeing the loyalty and love that my daughter and her Tulane friends feel for their college shows me that the President of the school is on the right track and that we're lucky to have him in charge. And when Tulane is back up and running, what a remarkable experience and education it will be for our children to be part of the rebuilding of that wonderful city. Please, parents, remember that this is not all about you right now.

9:38 AM  
Anonymous Beth Johnson said...

I am a Tulane parent, and let me add my voice to those who are praising Scott Cowen. Frankly, I'm appalled that parents are ranting, as if this storm and the aftermath came through their own backyard.(If, in fact, it did, then of course I can understand). Yes, our family is lucky that our local school is willing to defer any payment until Tulane sorts it all out, but from what I've seen, most of the other colleges are willing to be flexible. It seems monumentally self-absorbed to be venting at Scott right now. Seeing the loyalty and love that my daughter and her Tulane friends feel for their college after just one year there shows me that the President of the school is on the right track and that we're lucky to have him in charge. And when Tulane is back up and running, what a remarkable experience and education it will be for our children to be part of the rebuilding of that wonderful city. Please, parents, remember that this is not all about you right now.

9:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I completely agree; I am not getting worked up about all of this b/c I just do not think it is realistic that Tulane will not refund the difference in tuition. Until I see an official communication to the contrary, I expect that I will be receiving some partial credit towards spring term. That is fine with me as long as Tulane is willing to accept my son's credits from this fall. I expect nothing for free, but I have no reason to believe right now that Tulane does either.

9:47 AM  
Anonymous Lester said...

To the poster who cited Cantor Fitzgerald's example after 9/11 and compared their response to Tulane's, those are apples and oranges. I remembered hearing about their story, so I looked it up. Two things:

a) Canton Fitzgerald had an office in New Jersey where they had duplicates of everything that was in their WTC office, and that's why they were up and running so fast. Tulane is based in New Orleans, and needs all of its people to function as a university. Practically every one of its employees reside in the area - how do you expect to find people when all the contact addresses in your database are houses that are underwater? That's why it's being so difficult to locate all their employees.

b) How can you compare the logistics of running a university in a city that's underwater that has everyone who attends it and works for it scattered across the country, to running an investments firm which had one office destroyed?

I've lived through two major hurricanes previously (in Manila in '95 and on Guam in '02) and affected schools had to shut down for the semester. No one ever attempted to sue then. Perhaps self-absorbed, pessimistic, litigitious dickery is a uniquely American thing.

I understand people's anger and confusion, but parents are planning to file LAWSUITS AGAINST THE SCHOOL? NOW? They sent their students there, a catastrophe happens, and the first thing on their minds is, can I get my money back? I have friends who were living in the city at the time, who I still haven't heard from two weeks after the storm. When Ivan was supposed to hit last year, they just holed up in their houses and waited it out, so I figure they did the same for this one. I'm worried about whether or not they're alive, not whether or not my tuition can be refunded.

I'm a returning sophomore. This semester I'll be at the local university on Guam, and was helping out with a telethon that ran a couple of days ago to help the displaced in the TX shelters. I love Tulane, and I love New Orleans. I flew four thousand f-ing miles to get there, and I will go back as soon as possible.

9:48 AM  
Anonymous lester said...

Fourteen thousand. Not to self-aggrandize, but I hate to leave a typo in which diminishes a statement's impact.

9:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This isn't about what how much we like or dislike Scott Cowen.

This isn't about how horrible we feel about the hurricane victims.

This isn't about our desire for the school to survive.

This isn't about how much we want our children to have their school back.

This is about one thing -- the right of the administration to come in and change the rules without our knowledge or consent because they feel they have no alternative.

I am not a lawyer but it seems to me that we had a contract with Tulane which Tulane has been unable to perform.

If the parties mutually agree they can modify the terms of the contract. One party can't modify the contract without the others consent however. Sending our children to other schools BEFORE we were aware of the facts ( we still are not completely aware of the facts) does not mean we accept a modification of our original contract.

10:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i understand that some parents are angry but look at this in a rational way.

1. Tulane is going to accept all credits and GRADES from these hosts schools. The dean of the Business School even said that they will try to accept only the grades that help your GPA, so that it won't go down this semester. If your child is going to a state school, look at it as an opportunity to really boost their GPA.

2. Some of the parents are complaining about paying full tuition even though their child is taking 2 or 3 classes. I'm sorry but that is your problem. By taking less than 4 classes, you have to realize that you will have to go an additional semester anyways. I would recommend either taking a full schedule or nothing.

3. I know you think that this is a huge burden on you. But this is NOTHING compared to what almost the entire city is going through right now. I strongly recommend volunteering at a shelter that is housing some of the evacuees and talking to them and hearing their stories. You will soon realize that your troubles can't even compare to theirs.

by the way...i found this great site where you can click on the map and it will tell you the highest the water level got and the current water level. enjoy.

10:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This wonderful president of ours has time to be on TV, and to be interviewed by newspapers -- why hasn't he had time to deal with the Tulane community?

10:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hang in there Brett. Your website, in addition to being creative and insightful, has been extremely informative as is evidenced by the constant responses. I agree with you wholeheartedly that Scott Cowen is doing the best he can right now with the situation he has been dealt. I view his communication timeline as being very appropriate. While I understand that everyone is waiting for more information, myself included, I would be more concerned that quicker decisions might not be well thought out and could come back to bite us in the fanny later. It's never a bad thing to take a little extra time and be sure that you have considered ALL your options. Knee jerk reactions are nothing more than a quick fix and many times prove to be shortsighted. I concur that most of the negativism is most likely coming from parents. Students are experiencing the enormous emotional impact of all this and parents are more focused on the finances. Both are understandable, but people do need to take a deep breath and let the Administration determine their path. If people disagree with the final decisions, and it's only human nature that some will, then that's the time to deal with specifics. In the meantime, don't let it get you down. You have provided an incredibly valuable tool here for so many people and it is greatly appreciated.

10:14 AM  
Blogger Brett Hyman said...

In answer to one of the comments, I AM enrolled in a school this semester so I do have the same concerns.

10:19 AM  
Anonymous Pete Ward said...

In paragraph 1, you stated "If you are not a student, you have little basis calling for Scott Cowen’s resignation."

Please do not forget those of us who are parents or alumni. We pay for you to go the school and we have helped build Tulane to a school you can be proud to attend. We also have every right and basis for our opinons.

While I have absolutely nothing negative to say about President Cowen; as an alumni, I will always reserve that right.

Thanks for your open discussion Brett.

Pete Ward

10:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i think what brett was talking about when he said that was that a lot of these parents know nothing about the guy, and don't realize how much he has done for the school. therefore they have no right to call for his resignation when all they know about him is that he is the president of the school.

10:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Scott Cowen has done nothing but good things for our university and as a student, I think that he has done a fabulous job since the hurricane hit New Orleans, nobody in the world knows what it's like to be him right now, because nobody has ever gone through this before. He's done an awesome job at Tulane and he needs to stay there and do an awesome job once we are back in New Orleans.

10:36 AM  
Anonymous Tulane Junior said...

I had been under the impression that Brett started this blog to help bring all the Tulane students back together and keep us informed and up-to-date. If you look back at the previous posts and comments (pre-parental involvement), for the most part everyone was optimistic and remniscent about the city, school, and faculty we love so much. Suddenly there's an influx of angry rants and raves, all basically saying the same thing over and over again, and everyone starts getting defensive and on edge. I'm incredibly disappointed in the negative response. People seem to be losing sight of what's most important. And right now, in my eyes, that's accounting for all the missing and displaced students and employees, many of whom we have close ties with.
I know I come from a family which greatly values human lives over a tuition check. My parents are extremely confident that in the end, everything will be worked out financially, and for the time being are happy that I'm safe and go to a University which takes such great care of its often forgotten employees. If I were the daughter of one of the parents who have posted such angry and hurtful accusations towards the President we love, I would be incredibly emberassed.

Brett, thank you so much for the last post about President Cowen. It was nice to hear something positive again about the President we all love so much. Take care!

10:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

After reading the comments from parents and students it is clear to me that parents need their own website. The fact that parents have to communicate on this site shows me the extent of the communication breakdown between the President and the parents who do after all pay the tuition. To the hysterical students who think we don't appreciate the President, well parents have other concerns like finances, safety and even if you don't feel the need now someone has to look out for your careers, not just that he is a friendly guy. And at the risk of sounding judgemental unless any of you have actually saved $18,000 while supporting a family, you also would be concerned about your money. After reviewing the Loyola website I feel the problem is this. While Loyola accounted for it's studnts and assisted them in finding mew colleges, the Tulane President waited a long time and then said "the semester is cancelled" We were on our own at that point to determine what to do without the assistance of the University, which may have made me feel they are entitled to my tuition. As a parent who has worked ,many years I have encounted many CEO's who who could talk to the talk but not walk the walk. I am concerned since he seems to be bungling his big crisis big time why the other faculty are not jumping in to try to save him. Usually this indicates to me that they are unwilling to help him out since he is alienating them as well. So students, you think all will be well but do you have a plan if the University doesn't open in the Spring? Parents we need our own website to exchange information.

11:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just a reminder .......

There is a live chat today with President Cowen at 5 pm central time

11:32 AM  
Anonymous Sarah, freshman said...

It's all well and good that Loyola had such a complete plan of action immediately following the hurricane, but consider: the undergraduate student body at Tulane is more than twice that of Loyola, and Tulane is not a Jesuit school that can simply call upon the numerous other affiliated schools in the country for help. Loyola is much smaller than Tulane, and it will cost them over $30 million to pay faculty and employees during this semester; imagine how much more it will cost a school that is 4 times the size. Also, consider that Scott Cowen cannot possibly have spoken to all the colleges that are taking Tulane students about the financial situation, so the plan he stated was a preliminary assessment at best. I understand the financial concerns of the parents, but there are hundreds of things the university is trying to sort out at this moment--they don't even know where all the professors are. Be patient; anyone would need time to figure out precisely what to do in this situation.

And if you think you need a website for parents, why don't you start one rather than sitting around complaining to us--students who are upset enough as it is that they aren't at the school of their choice. Be proactive and stop being so hypocritical about Cowen--at least he's doing something.

11:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My sentiments are very much echoed in the 10:06 AM post that this is NOT about how we feel about Dr. Cowen and whether we support our children and their chosen school, and it is certainly NOT about whether we understand and sympathize with others who have suffered horrifically since the hurricane. Rather, as said:

>>> “If the parties mutually agree they can modify the terms of the contract. One party can't modify the contract without the others consent however. Sending our children to other schools BEFORE we were aware of the facts ( we still are not completely aware of the facts) does not mean we accept a modification of our original contract.”

And, I understand that some students (and parents) have agreed to Dr. Cowen’s proposed modification of the contract when they enrolled in visiting schools -- although the mere fact of taking classes at another institution, alone, is definitely NOT enough to affirm the proposed modification. Instead, the student’s agreement to accept the modified contract must be expressly made (as it sounds like some students and parents have done with their visiting institutions).

Other students may be taking classes somewhere under some other arrangement -- free, reduced tuition or full tuition. They have not agreed to modify their contract with Tulane, and Tulane cannot “make them” do so.

To the people who have entrusted him with their money, Dr. Cowen should acknowledge they have free will to make CHOICES.

11:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Check out the latest message at:

Tulane is extending the deadline to withdraw to give families more time to review their fall tuition policies (to be posted in a FAQ Monday) before making decisions. The administration specifically stated that the concerns of students attending less expensive institutions would be addressed in the forthcoming policy.

12:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Most "all those students and families living in fear" still have homes.

12:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am troubled by Tulane's newly posted extension of time to withdraw. The decision to not withdraw is not the same as a decision to accept AFTER-THE-FACT-tuition-contract-MODIFICATIONs.

12:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This issue is not the fact that Scott Cowen is a nice guy, loves Tulane, its students and NOLA. The issue is he has failed to respond in a timely manner nor has he shown that there is any type of plan under these circumstances. There is no excuse that Loyola was prepared and Tulane was not...size has nothing to do with it nor does the fact that Loyola is a Jesuit institution. Loyola had a plan and executed it...Tulane and Cowen are working on a plan, but have dug such a deep hole they'll never get out. Tulane will never be the same for the current students.

12:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your blog is a great service. I think the problem is that it seems to be the best service around. I am not a Tulane student. I am constantly in contact, via the internet, and locally in real life, with people in high school. So far, I have strongly encouraged them to apply to Tulane for next year, as it will be a once in a lifetime experience to help rebuild such a great city. But the response from the administration is making think I should reconsider that advice.

paragraph 1: actually, theatening legal action does get things done. Why does it happen often (in cases completely unrelated to Tulane) if it doesn't solve anything? Having members of the student population insult the people footing the bill for your school is probably not the best idea. Is that the picture you want the parents to have of Tulane students?

"You must be the change you wish to see in the world."
- Mahatma Gandhi

If things at Tulane aren't the way parents want it, then they will act to change it.

“Reasonable people adapt themselves to the world. Unreasonable people attempt to adapt the world to themselves. All progress, therefore, depends on unreasonable people.”
- George Bernard Shaw

Maybe the parents are unreasonable. Maybe they will cause change. Would you rather them cause the change by writing angry letters / posts on this blog, or cause change by no longer writing the checks to Tulane? I would prefer the former.

paragraph 2: do students at other schools really protest the views of their Presidents? That seems kind of out there to me. My school has open fourms for discussion. And, there are other Presidents that care for their students as much if not more, you just have to find them. They might not be everywhere, but they are there.

paragraph 3: do we blame him for what? Do we blame him for the hurricane? no. Do we blame him for not releasing important information in a timely manner? yes. It's nice to know what Cowen does when the sun is bright, but on these cloudy days, he hasnt' been doing so well.

“You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.”
- Abraham Lincoln

“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”
- Theodore Roosevelt

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
- Martin Luther King, Jr.

He has an endowment, use it. To keep it because it will lower the US News rankings is quite ricidulous.

paragraph 5: The other alternative is that Tulane could come back stronger than ever, as an even closer community.

12:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From another blog:

If Scott Cowen is monitoring his messages at his East Hampton, NY home you might be able to get a personal message to him. You can find his number on "people search" on He is the only Cowen in East Hampton.

1:01 PM  
Blogger jwu said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

1:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

in a 12:31 PM post anonymous said:

I am troubled by Tulane's newly posted extension of time to withdraw. The decision to not withdraw is not the same as a decision to accept AFTER-THE-FACT-tuition-contract-MODIFICATIONs.

I agree completely. We never made a decision to accept a change in our contract with Tulane when we enrolled in other schools - why do we now have to withdraw from a school that didnt open for the semester and why would not withdrawing indicate acceptance? This is looking more and more like we need legal representation.

Where is the NY Times? Perhaps its time for another paper to get on board - looks like the NY Times may have dropped the ball ?

1:21 PM  
Blogger jwu said...

money can buy happiness in this case. So donate, stay strong and come back to Tulane. It'll be worth every penny spent.

1:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It seems to me that we are all speaking our minds but we are not really talking to each other.

Would a committee work for us or are are situations too diverse ?

1:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am the parent of a freshman and have been very upset with the lack of information about tuition. I have watched this website and read all the comments. I am so very impressed with the student's love of Tulane! It makes me want to fight for it's return and send my child down to be part of your community!! Keep telling us what it means to you. You are being heard.

1:51 PM  
Anonymous TulaneMom said...

Based on an earlier blog, I checked the Loyola website as I was particularly interested in the reference made to campus photos. I only found a few and they did not depict much; in addition, the other links did not address all of these complex issues regarding tuition payment/reimbursment.

It is my understanding that most of our displaced students were granted admission to schools based upon the understanding these students were "visiting Tulane Students" and their grades and credits would be transferred back to Tulane. These institutions are also members of the various National groups which have suggested a policy to help all affected Gulf Coast Schools. Some have admitted students for free or reduced costs, or waived the normal application process, or made other concessions. Many did this before the official policy issued by the National organizations were in place. Either way, they did it with the understanding these grades were being transferred back to Tulane and that the students were Tulane students. They did it with grace. They did it for the benefit of both the students and the affected Gulf Coast institutions.

At this time, the Q&A has not addressed our situation (less expensive school we have agreed to pay, but have not yet been billed, and have already paid Tulane). It is our plan to help our Son return to Tulane in the Spring. We also hope to continue to patronize the businesses in Nawlins on our future visits. Getting back to "our normal" will be a great help to the City! Multiply that by 8000 students and their parents!

When our son chose Tulane, it was with our encouragement. He didn't know anyone when he arrived last year and was already totally thrilled with Tulane and Nawlins (first time he ever told us we were right!) when we evacuated him just weeks later for Ivan. When we dropped him off early last month, he was thrilled to be back.

I may not have articulated our sentiments as well as I would have liked (new to blogging!) but want to state for the record that we are grateful so many institutions opened their doors and also have confidence that Tulane will come up with an equitable solution.

Even more importantly, we are counting our blessings that our Son made it out before the madness started and that missing his friends and the school he loves and having to replace his things and start school late at another institution and not figuring out the money thing just yet is our worst problem in the wake of Hurricane Katrina! We can only hope that the faculty and staff and their families are all safe and that the losses to their personal property can be overcome. It is painfully obvious that is not the case for many people on the Gulf Coast.

2:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with the sentiment expressed in the last post 2:16 PM but it still misses a serious tuition issue. My child is enrolled in a school where he does not want to be. Tulane does not get to tell me that I have to pay them all my Tulane fall 2005 tuition for this -- AFTER the fact.

2:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Loyola is a completely different case than Tulane. The only similarity between the two is that they are next to each other.

As it has been said before, Loyola is a Jesuit school. Jesuit schools across the nation accepted Loyola students because they are part of the Jesuit family.

Not only are they a Jesuit school, but there are several Loyola universities across the country. It is much easier to place students when you have other campuses in different states. I know of at least 3 different Loyola schools (LA, Chicago, Maryland) and I'm sure there are much more.

That is why they were able to move people easier and had a plan faster. They could say "just go to any jesuit university". We couldn't. We had to wait for Scott Cowen to negotiate with the leaders of these Academic Institutions to make sure that we weren't going to pay extra tuition at these schools and that we were going to be taken care of.

2:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Enrolled" is the key word. I understand many of the schools that took Tulane students told them that they are welcome as long as they want, and can graduate if they so desire. I think many may do it if their parents can not afford to send them back to Tulane after all the expenses of this semester.

2:44 PM  
Blogger dhorstman05 said...

For everyone who is criticizing, it needs to be pointed out that there is NO precedent for a situation like this. President Cowen and the administration are working day in and day out in order to make everyone happy- parents, students, faculty, employees, and administration for 11 schools. While we at home have only ourselves to worry about in regards to Tulane, they are trying to rewrite policy that affects EVERY aspect of the University. Rome wasn't built in a day, and Tulane won't be rebuilt in one either. President Cowen is trying hard to listen and make decisions, while finding a balance between the two. The bottom line is he is trying hard to please everyone from the people who pay him, to the people he pays, to the high school students who are vital to the continuation of the University. Lets continue to give him the benefit of the doubt and watch as some of the top ten schools in the nation graciously take in our students- that says a lot for a Tulane degree right now. Lets all help to Re-New Orleans.

2:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My son would have been a third year student in the School of Architecture.
We looked at many options even before Dean Kroloff printed a lsit of other Architecture programs. I checked the websites and made many phonecalls to several schools. Even with the agreement that other colleges and universities are supposed to have regarding waiving tuition if it had already been paid to Tulane, there were inconsistencies in the information I received within the same school and even the same department. Many of these other schools are holding daily briefing sessions, some with just the Deans. Have patience and be persistent in speaking with admissions offices, financial aid offices and department heads. You will eventually find a "person of reason" who will understand the circumstances.
My son chose Tulane over 11 other schools. He loves it and cannot wait to return.
Thank you to Scott Cowen and to Dean Kroloff for sorting through this mess and organizing and researching options.
I hope that all of our kids will be back in New Orleans in time to celebrate Mardi Gras!

2:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That chat sure was informative - I am soooooo relieved that there will be a spring rush !!

How could i be so silly to think i would be able to ask a question about my tuition?

4:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

FYI - For those of you who have found it difficult financially to replace items left at Tulane...The Red Cross is giving out $360 debit cards for the college students who evacuated (I believe the money is government, not Red Cross) The student can go in to their local Red Cross with a student ID or the parent can go in with the Tulane bill-this little bit of money might just help with replacement. I know we have all had to incur many costs way beyond tuition. The process took about an hour. Call the local office first - as rules continue to change.

4:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you Dr. Cowen for all the information and facts concerning Tulane. I wouldn't know what to do if you were unable to address the issue of Greek rush in the spring. What a load off of my mind.

Will someone get the ball rolling and get this guy out of here - he hasn't given us one bit of solid information yet. All these promises about the spring opening is just a way to keep everyone at bay. The truth is no one, including the feds have any idea when NOLA will be open for business. And do you think they will allow 15,000 students in before all the residents return? Someone needs to recall Dr. Cowen like they did today with the FEMA director.

4:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you are so unhappy with this situation, have your child officially withdraw, have your money refunded and take your anger elsewhere.

4:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah if you hate Tulane so much and hate Scott Cowen, than tell your child that they are transferring from Tulane and going to some other less prestigous school. If your not, then keep it to yourself because nobody wants to hear people complain all the time. People like you are ruining this website. This site used to be a great source of information for the Tulane community, now it is a great source of a headache because of a few ranting parents.

4:24 PM  
Anonymous lester said...

"Will someone get the ball rolling and get this guy out of here - he hasn't given us one bit of solid information yet. All these promises about the spring opening is just a way to keep everyone at bay. The truth is no one, including the feds have any idea when NOLA will be open for business."

If no one knows anything concrete, why are you castigating Cowen for being optimistic? For all you know, Tulane will open for the Spring semester. If you were in charge instead of Cowen, you would have shut the school down until further notice and everyone would be complaining because Tulane had taken such a cynical and drastic step, and people would still not know anything about refunds. COWEN HAS GIVEN YOU THE OPTION TO WITHDRAW AND HAVE YOUR TUITION REFUNDED. If you are so bitter that the school has not pushed you to the very front of the list when it comes to the myriad concerns it has at this time, why don't you send your child somewhere else and stop attempting to annoy the entire Wave? Or, at the very least, post under your actual name. Anonymous vehemence tends to be diluted when one has to take responsibility for it.

4:29 PM  
Anonymous greenwave said...

i agree, i don't need to hear a few angry parents complain about their money all day long. why don't you parents go and start your own blog so that you can have your grand forum of hate? then, those of us who actually care about the school (not about only about our wallets) can have a place to talk.

4:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the person who wrote ....

If you are so unhappy with this situation, have your child officially withdraw, have your money refunded and take your anger elsewhere.

My "child" is a senior with very specific requirements to finish. You can not transfer 3 years of credits to another school. Besides my "child" loves Tulane.

Why is it that we have to wait all this time for a chat with President Cowen and he didnt answer one serious question. Most of the questions seemed to be prepared with prepared in advance answers. Why would the President answer some high school guidence counselors question - or some kid who wants to know if they got his application and ignore serious questions we have about our childrens future and our tuition reason........MONEY

4:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

He also ignored serious questions that didn't have anything to do with money. He was asked about the fires at Dillard and what if anything Tulane is doing to protect the buildings in the event of a fire.

But we learned about the football game instead

4:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Isn't it their job to make sure the levies are fixed? Perhaps this would make a good research project for the engineering department?

One of the organizations of schools which were asked to accept our kids free of charge asked what was being done to prevent a repeat of this flood. It could happen, you know.

The federal government website re. student aid said receiving institutions should register our kids as regular, not visiting, in order to keep the aid.

4:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

An update on financial aid from the NAFSA website:

House Approves Bill That Would Allow Students Displaced by Hurricane to Keep All Federal Grant Aid

4:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not sure, but I don't think Tulane has anything to do with the levees. They are the responsibility of the Levee Board of New Orleans and the Army Corps of Engineers. A Tulane engineer did design the pumping system in the city a long time ago, though. His sail boat is the one that was in the Pocket Park before it was turned into a construction site.

4:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was present for the second half of the chat. I thought Dr. Cowen was great and it was an opportunity to ask questions of the administration during these times when normal communication is not yet on-line..They indicate they will post a frequently asked questions page based on the questions submitted, so I wouldn't assume your questions won't be answered. I believe I read there were about 600 people logged in at one time.

I witnessed a question about whether a refrigerator at dillard would be cleaned out, but nothing about a fire there. While that seemed frivolous, there were very serious questions as well. Some were answered, and I don't think answers for some are worked out yet. We just have to be patient. This is a complex process and involves the Department of Education, Tulane, other Gulf Coast schools and the host schools for visiting students. I understand now that if you withdraw, you withdraw not just from classes, but the school. You'd then have to reapply to attend again in the Spring. Is anyone really ready to make that decision yet?

I don't think I could ask for a better response from the school. I suppose if they'd been better prepared for such a disaster, they'd have been able to come online faster, but how would anyone predict or prepare for such a disaster. I strongly believe that the disaster, and the response of many organizations will be analyzed and perhaps modeled in future efforts at disaster preparedness.

I am tired of reading posts that simply criticize and pass judgment. I realize that everyone is frustrated and want answers yesterday, but the personal attacks on Dr. Cowen or other members of the administration are ridiculous. I even read one site where they basically handed out Dr. Cowen's home phone number. Let's get real!! I do believe that a small contingent of the administration is working 24/7 and probably in fairly untenable working/living conditions. He isn't working from home and many of the staff and professors working with him may have lost everything. I just think we should try to be patient. We should be supportive and certainly try to avoid the personal attacks. If we can take the opportunity to share constructive advice and information here rather than filling the blogs with negativity, we'll all be better off.

In that light.. I'm going to post here some information on a residential fellowship available at University of Maryland for a graduate student or professor in the humanities.
I'll quote the page in the next post.

Maybe Brett will create a Thread for this type of information. It may be helpful for some of the grad students and professors to know that there are accomodations available for them at other universities as well, and it would be good to have a blog where we could collect similar types of information.

I also heard today that some stafford loan lenders are offering supplemental loans. I know Sallie Mae is offering up to $1000 interest free until June and then the loan doesn't have to be paid back until you finish school. That may be just enough to help replace the clothes, furniture, books, laptops etc. that many off campus students have lost. I do think you have to have a stafford loan with the lending group. I suppose the other lenders may offer something similar. I'll post on your blog when I know more.

5:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

September 7, 2005
Immediate Residential Fellowship for a Scholar Impacted by Katrina

The Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH) at the
University of Maryland, College Park is pleased to be able to offer an
immediate residential fellowship available to any one faculty member
or ABD doctoral candidate at an institution closed by Hurricane

Housed in the campus’s primary research library, MITH is a community
of scholars devoted to the application of new media and digital
technologies to humanities scholarship and teaching. Projects have
typically taken the form of electronic editions, scholarly databases,
or high-end teaching materials. See examples here:

While colleges and universities seem to be moving very fast to
accommodate displaced undergraduates, the careers of graduate students
and faculty also have to be protected and tended to. We are therefore
able to offer a scholar his or her personal workspace, the use of our
extensive hardware and software resources, easy access to the
university’s library collections (and a base from which to access the
unparalleled academic and cultural institutions of the DC area
besides), and expert-level consulting about digital scholarship.

While we regret we are unable to offer a stipend, *funding is
available* for temporary relocation and some initial start-up

To apply, please send a letter of inquiry describing the project to be
undertaken (either new or continuing research), a CV, and contact
information for three references. Application materials may be sent
electronically to or by fax to 301-314-7111 or by post to
Neil Fraistat, Acting Director, MITH, McKeldin Library, University of
Maryland, College Park, MD 20742. Consideration of applications to
begin immediately. Applications from women and minorities and graduate
students and faculty at Historically Black Colleges and Universities is

5:05 PM  
Anonymous Newcomb Junior said...

To all the angry parents: In case you haven't gotten the message, we really would appreciate it if you created a separate blog for yourselves. Your negativity and condescension is not appreciated. You all keep posting the same questions over and over again, as if you're expecting Brett or one of us to answer them. Despite several pleas to have you look at the big picture, that money really isn't the end of the world, you continue to turn it back on us, the students, and imply that we somehow don't understand finances. Some of us actually are paying our own way through school, with scholarships and loans, but still maintain a level of decorum. I, for one, would certainly never stoop as low as to call President Cowen at his private residence in NY. That's incredibly sad and emberassing for the entire Tulane community.
So again, please taking your finger pointing and blind anger elsewhere. Thank you.

5:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Parents-- as previously suggested please start your own tuition complaint board. I think this issue has been blogged to death now.

For those of us who care about the Tulane experience, the chat was very reassuring-- I, for one, can't wait for rush, the bubble (who would have thought?), and everything N'awlins next semester! ROLL WAVE!!!

5:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i just want to point out that i have no problems with parents in general posting, because there are a lot who share the same love for the school that we do. but the parents who are obsessed with the tuition should look elsewhere to another site. the tuition is not the only issue that the tulane community is facing.

5:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I suggest we devote all comments on this board to 1) the problem of moving sorority rush to the spring; 2) why Scott Cowen is the world's greatest president; 3) How much we love Tulane and NOLA.

5:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

has anybody heard how the bars on maple did during Katrina. Let's face it, that's a much more pressing issue than tuition.

5:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am so tired of hearing parents rant about the slow resolution of the tuition issue. My son is a Junior at Tulane in BME and it is unthinkable to me that he would not return to Tulane at it's greatest time of need. My son turned down many A-list schools in order to accept Tulane's offer when he was an incoming freshman. He did it because Tulane wanted HIM and seriously recruited him, while the other schools just accepted him. He didn't know anyone, he came alone to New Orleans- leaving his girlfriend and all of his childhood friends and family a thousand miles away. He has had an amazing experience at Tulane...and we are adamantly supporting him to return for Spring semester. After spending last week weeping over the condition of New Orleans, I am actually hopeful that this wonderful city will rise again. I have developed a loving relationship with New Orleans because of our many trips here over the last two years. I had great concerns about not only the faculty and staff, but the wonderful people in New Orleans I have interacted with who provide services to our kids.
Obviously President Cowan has his hands full. I couldn't believe how parents were starting to lawyer up over a tuition issue that will be addressed. I didn't let my son quickly enroll at another school BEFORE Dr. Cowan made last week's announcement. We waited so we could make an informed decision. We were under tremendous pressure from other great universities who had already started their classes. We opted for another university that is starting later this month, which has bent over backwards to accomodate many Tulane students, even saying they will house them together to retain their community.
How can anyone that saw last Thursday's convention center video bellyache about a possible "lost" semester. Our kids are so blessed- and they made it home safe and sound because the university put them first when they saw a hurricane coming. They didn't leave them stranded in their dorms. Maybe they weren't put "first" in terms of answering questions because President Cowan knew THEY were on their way home and safe, unlike his faculty and staff. My friends can't understand how I can say I'll send my son back to Tulane for Spring semester. My response is, I can't imagine NOT sending him back to Tulane! What does that teach your child-- Cut and run when things are tough? My son could transfer to any university... particularly the A-list school he will be attending this semester. But it is unthinkable to us that he play it "safe". Real life is happening around them and they need to participate, not only when things are good, but especially when they are challenging. Sorry about my ranting... but I was sick of all of the nasty potshots. If Tulane isn't your "thing" and the school has either disappointed you or wasn't your first choice anyways, than do everyone a favor and transfer to another institution; but if you want to raise a child that has a strong sense of community,identity and responsibility, HANG in there and pray that the city has recovered enough to let our most precious commodities return and make a difference in January.

5:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the 5:56 post..thanks, couldn't have said it better.

Our children, and yes, they are still our children, need some reassurance and support (other than financial) from us now. Their young lives are now NOT normal and their surroundings and short term plans have been ripped apart. Any sensitivity out there at all???

Put aside your wallets for a few minutes and ask them how that feels? These ultimately aren't our lives and futures..they're theirs.

Let them get positive..and be positive while their parents vent elsewhere. We've gotten to the "beating a dead horse" stage with this one.

6:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm trying to decide what to wear to Mardi Gras this year - thats why we are here right ?

6:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the 4:08 PM post about debit cards for students - thank you for the information. I for one appreciate it.

6:49 PM  
Blogger Pamela Shaw said...

Message For Freeman students from Pamela Shaw (Burkenroad Reports accounting professor): The following offer was posted by Emory Univ. at the Freeman site we are temporarily using (

Name: Andrea Hershatter, BSM '81 Associate Dean, Goizueta Business School, Emory University

Contact Info: 404-727-0327

Help Offered: I have been thrilled to help 16 (and counting) BSM students enroll in the undergraduate business program for the semester here at Emory. We can still accomodate a few more over the weekend, so please contact me via email by Monday if you are aware of an undergraduate business student who has not yet successfully found a place to take classes this semester. I will post a list of the students here in our program next week with their Emory email addresses. Anyone living in the Atlanta area who would like to reach out to them can also do so via my address above. They are a smart, energetic and delightful group!

6:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As the parent of a 2003 Tulane grad I have nothing but respect for Scott Cowen. We have grown to love Tulane and the city of New Orleans. Scott Cowen has done a phenomenal job in communicating with the students and parents. With the news from New Orleans so sad and chaotic, I found myself logging on to the Tulane website and being reassured by Dr. Cowan that the students were safe and the campus was relatively intact. He is a true leader and will be most influential in rebuilding the city. Given the extreme circumstances I do not think anyone could have communicated in a more timely manner. He has our full support and we will continue to give to this great university.

6:53 PM  
Blogger Schiffman said...

I remember last week when this was a student blog, not a parent blog. So I have stopped reading it. Mom and Dad, don't pay Tulane anything. I, a Tulane Admission Counselor, a 22-year old B-School grad, will work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (almost what i have done the past week) FOR FREE. I love this school that much. Oh yeah, I also lost EVERYTHING I OWN. keep complaining mom and dad. You make me proud.

7:25 PM  
Anonymous Tulane parent said...

As a parent I am embarrassed by the ranting and venting and hijacking of this blog by a few self centered parents. In other words - get over it. Get over yourselves and think about your kids if you can't think of anyone else.

Right now our kids need support and encouragement - they too are victims of Katrina, they too have lost their possessions and their homes in New Orleans. They don't need to hear spoiled parents carrying on like two year olds. Many are in strange schools away from the friends and community they are a part of and love. They need a place to come to reconnect with their fellow students, not a place to read tired rantings by parents.

I agree wholeheartedly with the comments posted at 5:56 PM. I am so hoping Tulane will be able to be back in the spring and my son will have the opportunity to participate in rebuilding a great city. That kind of experience is something that is unique and invaluable in dealing with life.

I am so proud of my son right now. He evacuated taking several friends with him who had no cars; he came home and found himself a school that would waive tuition and welcome him for a semester and he is determined to return to Tulane in the spring to help rebuild the school and the city. He did that himself - not by waiting for his parents to do it for him. That self sufficiency is something he has learned in the last 2 years at Tulane. He and the many students like him deserve our support and help.

Hang in there and don't let a few parents get you down - Tulane is a very special place judging by the students I have met and comments by them I have read. I believe it will come back stronger than ever and those who stick with it will be better for it.

7:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I saw this update on flooding/looting situation in Uptown on

A few friends and went in and out of NO yesterday. As of yesterday, the waterline is at Freret St. near Tulane and at Newman School on Jefferson. Most of the dry areas are clear of debris. What is noticable is a HUGE military/police presence. Police have com from all over, we met some from Colorado. There is a military bivuac/base in Audobon Park. At this point it seems as though looters are at a tremenous disadvantage, so anyone worried about their properety being pillaged can rest at ease from here on out.

8:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


In light of many of your inquires during these uncertain times, below is a list of the the most most important questions and answers that the Tulane administration feels need to be addressed:

1) Q. How long will spring orientation be for new freshman?
A. We are hoping to have an abbreviated, but comprehensive session as soon as the campus opens in mid-January. We will be staffing our team, designing the t-shirts and putting together the festivities to make this one of the best orientations ever!

2) Q. I paid $18,500 in tuition and fees plus almost $6000 in room and board. It was my entire life savings and now I am being asked to pay an additional $9500 by my visiting institution to take enough classes to graduate in December. I do not have the money as I have lost everything and if I do not have my degree in December I will not be hired by Bastman and Rolfe and will be unemployed. What should I do?

A. We will be working on issues like these and will have something posted next week or maybe the week after.

3) Q. Will there be fraternity rush in the Spring?
A. Most certainly! We are working with Greek Life at the moment. We have hired a Jazz Band to welcome interested students and are planning the catering menu already.

4). Q. I am in the process of applying early decision to law school. I need to have some sort of grade report by October 1 or I will miss the deadline to the school that I am certain I can be admitted to. What should I do?
A. We will post information on this sometime in the near future if the details become available.

5). Q. I am a high school junior and would like to visit Tulane. What can I do?
A. We are putting together our calendar at the moment and will have all the details posted very soon. Please contact us with your name and address and we will get back to you right away and will stay in contact with you through through your senior year.

6). Q. I am one elective unit short of graduating with a biology degree and have been accepted in an internship at Johns Hopkins and can earn that one unit during this time. Can I apply this one unit toward my Tulane degree? If I cannot then I will not be able to attend medical school next fall.
A. We are working on issues like these and will have answers posted sometime soon.

7). Q. I am a high school senior and just applied to Tulane. How can I be sure that you received all of my materials.
A. We have a toll-free number with admissions reps standing by to assist you in any way possible. They will let you know if they have all of your materials and will walk you through the process.

8). Q. I have tried very hard to enroll in a number of schools that you said would admit me for the Fall. None have been able to accommodate me due to the limited class offerings for my major. What should I do?
A. We will post additional FAQ's sometime soon.

8:12 PM  
Anonymous GO GREEN WAVE! said...

Tulane University is my Dream School, and I am very sad that I will not be spending my first semester in college there! After considering Duke, University of Miami, and other notable schools, I decided on Tulane because when I visited campus everything felt right! As a High School Junior simply touring the school, Dr. Rice in the Biomedical Engineering Department personally showed me around the building, the lab, and the entire department staff. I believe you will have to look very hard to find such willing and welcoming faculty anywhere else. Visiting other schools of great caliber on the same visit, I did not find any that even compared with my Tulane experience! Arriving on campus August 26th, I was positive I made the right decision! My roommate is amazing, and I look forward to us being roomies in the spring again. On Move- In day, you could not have asked for a smoother transition into rooms, and the orchestration of getting about 2,000 freshmen from cars to room was very efficient. Of course, we did not expect move-in day and move-out day to be the same day, but life is unexpected! We must give Tulane and President Cowen credit for making the early call to let us evacuate, as even the city officials did not call for the mandatory evacuation until much later! We were able to make early arrangements to ensure our safety out of the city promptly. I do understand those of you who feel that the school waited along time to actually close school for the fall, but from a school's perspective, serving the 10,000+ students and trying to see any feasible way to keep the school running is obviously the primary plan. As for tuition, many schools are asking for no money, allowing tuition deferment, and opening their doors to all of us! You see, if you wanted to go to a schools still charging full tuition and do not have the money, then your situation is more precarious, but you still have options. I hoped to go to the University of Miami in the interim, but not for 20,000 dollars, therefore, I am now at a University that created a special luncheon for affected students, and everyone there is helping us to adjust very nicely. I would have like to spend every hour possible attaining my Tulane degree at Tulane, but unfortunately that is just not possible right now. Instead, I cannot think of anywhere lese I would like to finish up my three and a half years, and in the meantime, I will make the best of this situation. I do not believe that in this time of devastation, with some who lost everything, the pettiness of complaints and rants is necessary! I am sure that President Cowen, the academic community, other universities, and Tulane are doing everything possible to overcome this disaster in hopes of returning to some type of normalcy. Tulane is an extraordinary school, in that it is one-of-a kind. You will not find the kind of diversity and international research anywhere else, nor will you notice the down-to-earth people or the vibrance of the surrounding city. I realized in looking for a temporary school, I could not find what I was looking for because there is NO school like Tulane. I miss this school, and cannot wait to go back, even as a freshman! You see, this experience has made me come to realize now, that I 100% know Tulane is where I belong, and truly is where I will fulfill my DREAMS! A friend of mine asked me if I ever regret choosing Tulane, considering everything that has happened, and my answer is simply NO! I would have made the decision to go here again because this is exactly where I want to be! You have to live with no regrets, and I hope to see my fellow freshmen (Class of '09) back at Tulane very soon! All my love! You can e-mail me @ if you ever need someone to talk to or anything at all!

8:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a senior and amen to that last comment

8:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i'm glad that we are finally having some more representations of the understanding parents. i just can't see how some of these parents can only be concerned about their wallet, and could care less about the school in general. as long as they get their money they are happy and that matters.

i don't think they realize how this is affecting us tulane students. yeah some of us are concerned about stuff like how certain bars are doing and if there is going to be rush in the spring because that is part (not all) of the tulane culture. we are concerned about everything in the greater new orleans area and uptown in particular because it is our turf. that is where all of our memories are. some of you just can't understand because you haven't experienced it, but places like the boot, the palms, brunos, and other bars are where we socialize and we can't wait to get back so we can be part of the community again and be together. i also can't wait to go to camellia grill and get a burger or order favori when i'm hungry and don't want to drive anywhere. not having done any of that stuff in a while doesn't seem right. it feels like i'm missing something. so what if we like to have a little fun at night. at tulane we work hard, so we get to play hard.

a lot of you just won't understand, but imagine watching your favorite city being destroyed and missing a lot of the stupid stuff that the city has to offer.

8:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

exciting new orleans news!!!

according to the DRUDGEREPORT...

The New Orleans business establishment-in-exile has set up a beachhead in a government annex building here, located across the street from the state Capitol.

It is here that organizations like the New Orleans Convention and Visitor's Bureau have begun to plot the rebirth of the city, the NEW YORK TIMES plans to report on Saturday.

In the cramped offices and hallways of this building, called the Capitol Annex, and continuing into the evening at watering holes and eateries scattered around Baton Rouge, New Orleans's business leaders and power brokers are concocting big plans, the most important of which is reopening the French Quarter in 90 days, the paper's Gary Rivlin is planning to report on Page One.

Other schemes being discussed include staging a scaled-down version of Mardi Gras, scheduled to take place at the end of February 2006.

9:04 PM  
Anonymous daniel said...

I'm an incoming freshman at tulane this year, and I'll be the first to admit i was angry and disappointed that things ended up this way. Yet, that anger shouldnt be placed on the shoulders of dr cowen. It has been less than 2 weeks since new orleans was ripped apart. I think everyone in here needs to take a moment and realize this. It's very easy to throw blame, to find a target to manifest all your doubts and anger in, but thats not appropriate. We've all suffered, thats one common bond that should help keep us focused, not force us into petty arguements. Lets give them time to reveal their plan; to get back on there feet. I mean granted, it is easier to armchair micro-manage right now than to be patient, but we must. Calling this a scam is ridiculous as of now. Tulane is a business, and businesses typically dont wish to alienate there customers. tulane is not trying to scam anyone, scott cowan is not trying to take your tuition to help pay for his new yacht. I have read many angry comments here and elsewhere about the lack of firm details concerning tulane's recovery. Again, we must take a moment and try to gain a little perspective. The timetable for cleaning the city is unreliable at best, and Tulane's future is currently tied to the recovery effort. To expect President Cowen to use his magic psychic capabilities he know doubt picked up from his time with the french quarter palm readers is assinine. He can't make definitive promises right now, because so much hinges on events outside of his control.

If, after the dust settles, President Cowan has built a huge tower filled with your tuition money and swims in it daily a la scrooge McDuck, than you by all means have a right to complain, but until then, lets all sit back, and let the man do his work without being subjugated to the microscopes of ten thousand angry soccer moms.

9:08 PM  
Anonymous Will said...

Brett, while I admire what you've done here, your brown-nosing of Cowen has gone too far. You're lying. There have been NUMEROUS protests against Cowen in the past few years, including entire websites devoted to his resignation. While it's true that he has done some great things for the school and has handled Katrina better than I expected, some of his policies have been disastrous. He almost ruined athletics. His policy of low pay for professors and refusal to match offers from other schools has caused a MAJOR loss of MANY ofour most senior faculty members. Stop being such a blind follower and maybe get to know who you're following.

9:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I will add that my dream school was also Tulane. For the past three years, I have worked very hard to be where I am now, a Tulane senior due to graduate in December 05. But my plans have changed due to this disaster and it has been hard to deal with. Trying to find a school that was compatible with my needed courses and major has been stressful and I don't have the opportunity to go to another school out of my state because of the housing situation so I opted to stay home and continue my internship. And I understand that I now will graduate a semester late....But that is fine because I would rather get my credits from Tulane anyway.
My parents have worked very hard to send me to this amazing school and with the help from other scholarships and loans, I was able to attend. I just cannot believe that some people, whom may not know this school very well as most of the upper classmen do, can sit there and complain about tuition instead of hoping that the campus will be ready for the spring. I know that if I am not refunded for the semester lost, it will be a financial burden BUT I also know that my parents would bend over backwards to pay for my last semester if need be so that I can graduate from Tulane. My education and happiness come first and it would be disappointing if 'my parents' reacted in such a fowl manner as other parents did. It just seems like money is the most important thing to some out there.
Finally, no one is perfect and I believe Cowen did as much as he could. Yes, he probably could have informed us on Thursday, Sept.1 on the outcome of the semester to allow more time to enroll in other colleges but he could not due to the situation in the city. At least he has made an effort which is much more than I can say for other officals in New Orleans trying to better our city.

9:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brett - take heed from the previous poster who commented on some of Cowen's issues while at Tulane. The problem with most students is that they judge him on the fact that he's a nice guy - and he is...very visible, energetic and on the surface appears interested. I'm sure he plays the Board the same way. However, some of the things Cowen has tried to introduce (way before this fiasco) could have been disasterous. I suspect that his move on athletics will be on the agenda when Tulane gets back on its feet because it's an easy way to cut the budget.

12:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the other students who are angry that our parents are obsessed with tuition (see 5:29 blog). Let's face it, the only reason we are Tulane students is because our parents have been obsessed (saving) with that tuition for MANY years. I know my parents have worked very hard and I appreciate them for all their sacrifices. Let them speak! It is the only way they can make a change, or sadly, many of us will not be back.

4:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks like the story has made the NY Times Education section today...

4:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very confusing article. Seems to miss the important points.

5:57 AM  
Anonymous TulaneParent said...

Well, my child is a student with a generous financial aid package at Tulane. We have been thankful for the opportunity to study at the school. The professors have been terrific, and while some may complain that they don't get the top pay that may be available at other universities, perhaps Cowen's focus is on the students. I, for one, am thankful that he is. Any administrator is faced with fiscal problems and tough choices. Those choices are not always received well by everyone. So, people disagreed with him on athletics. His focus was on building an internationally respected research university. There are other schools with big athletic teams, but that don't carry the academic reputation that Tulane has. We preferred Tulane over those schools because of that academic reputation. It is just that those parents or others that disagreed with his policies have been more vocal than his supporters.

6:25 AM  
Anonymous Susan Leboff said...

We are parents of a displaced Tulane senior, now at Columbia University in NYC. We are willing to house one Katrina affected college student (priority to students with financial problems from Tulane) for the semester in our Brooklyn NY home (near Manhattan, very gentrified and safe). No pets, no smoking anything in the house, no rent. Pay for your own phone calls. Spacious, comfortable, furnished basement with separate entrance and backyard access. Interested parties call 718 768-6112 and leave a very detailed message.

6:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the Tulaneparent with the generous financial aid package. Please waive your financial aid this semester and pay the full tuition, it will help keep our school alive.

7:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re the NY Times article: I am confused. According to the article, the two parents demanding the return of their tuition money have students attending other universities that have waived tuition. Do they not want to pay any tuition? Perhaps I have misunderstood the article.

7:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I got the same impression from the NY Times article and THAT IS CRAZY! Fair tuition is all I ask!

7:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The blog of 8:12 is funny, sad but true.
Last night I asked many general questions about tuition and all were ignored. It is an issue that must be address ASAP.

7:48 AM  
Anonymous sharon feigenbaum said...

I was quoted in the NY Times Article -- although badly quoted and the reporter (to whom I was at first reluctant to speak) missed a lot of the important points I thought I made. So to be clear, No, I am not looking for a free ride for my son. Yes, I am incredibly grateful for the good will shown to us by “the visiting school.” But, no, I am not willing to have Tulane unilaterally make after-the-fact-changes in the terms under which I provided them with a check for $20,005.00 in August of 2005 for a fall 2005 semester at Tulane. That money was hard coming and I want some say in how it is spent.

7:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A few thoughts for President Cowen and all ……..

Why can't Tulane University request a loan from the federal government for one year's tuition revenue? The tuition money of any students who paid for the fall semester could then be returned to them. Universities and Colleges who are hosting displaced students could charge or not charge their own rates of tuition as they see fit. They would then have the option of giving the money back to Tulane. Likewise the families of Tulane students who come out whole educationally and financially could donate what they save back to Tulane (in some situation this could be the entire tuition amount). I know that this plan isn't perfect but it would create more goodwill for the school than the current situation. Yes, Tulane would have additional debt but we all have suffered financially from this horrible disaster.

As the situation now exists the school must open for the second semester. The plan that I have outlined above allows Tulane some breathing room. If New Orleans isn't safe by the first of the year Tulane could cancel the second semester and still be fine financially.

In addition to the tuition money donated back to the school, fund raising efforts could be undertaken. Let's not forget that the Tulane students are now located at campuses across the country. Some schools have taken one hundred or more students. The students at these schools could devote a portion of their time to organizing events to raise money for both the school and the community. Concerts could be organized. I'm sure that some big name celebrities and many lesser know artists would volunteer to perform just for the public exposure. The help of the major record companies ( like SONY) could be enlisted.

It seems to me that we need to enlist the energy and talent of our community at this difficult time - not play hardball. This is a time to think outside the box before we ruin the good name and reputation of a great school.

8:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I understand your frustration over the published article but it is a starting point. Now we need to get them to cover the real issues- many of which were missed or lost.

8:20 AM  
Anonymous sharon feigenbaum said...

Well ... I appreciate the comment directed to me.
My son fell in love with this school and I was and am behind him.

I want to support the school (financially and emotionally) and I want it to be stronger than ever. I think it could be an amazing opportunity for our children to be part of the rebuilding of Tulane and New Orleans.

(But, yeah, I do want some control over how someone else spends my hard earned money -- and I have 2 other kids to get through college after this one).

8:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dr Cowen, (I hope are reading this)

You are getting ready to cost Tulane thousands of $$$. Our State University has just (09/09/05) come out with it's policy for the more than 100 Tulane students attending. That policy reads as follows: If you have already paid tuition to your home institution, you will not be charged tuition here. IF ON THE OTHER HAND, You have not paid tuition at home institution, you will pay us our tuition rate. HOWEVER, because this university is a state institution, administrators said they could NOT donate the tuition dollars to help affected schools.

Many of the students I know at this institution have not paid Tulane (it was not due until 8/31/05). You are about to lose $4k per student because you have made no decision on a fair rate for students attending In-State schools. I guess those $4,000 checks will be going to the State University, and Per Tulane's policy, it is $4,000 we will not owe you.

9:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the person who posted at 9:14 reagarding the $4000.00 in lost state tuition,

I think the way this will work is that if you had paid Tulane your full tuition amount they would have to pay the state school the $4000.00 anyway. Tulane gets the incremental amount of your tuition over the $4000.00. You are now expected to pay the difference to Tulane. They get to keep your money even though you are at a state school, in different classes than you may need and you started late.

9:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My point was the that if Tulane resolves the In state Tuition dilemma fairly - I will pay Tulane. If I pay the state institution Tulane will NEVER SEE that 4$K

9:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Look, Tulane is closed for the semester. Whatever you paid for is not happening. Some new arrangement needs to be made.

So far we know that if your student doesn't attend classes, you get a full tuition credit. If your student only takes a partial load, you will get a partial credit (this was stated in the chat). Further details will be given Monday. If you don't agree w. them, you have 2 weeks to withdraw your child and get ALL of your money back. I am not sure what people want...the university is not going to negotiate new arrangements with 13,000 families based on their individual circumstances. You have the right to get 100% of your money back if you feel the new arrangements are unfair. But you are NOT going to get free tuition, a semester of transfer credits and continued enrollment at Tulane. Face it, this IS a difficult situation, any resolution will be imperfect and may involve hard choices. But ultimately those choices are yours.

9:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My husband and I both work in higher education. We have been very impressed with the way President Cowen and the Tulane staff has handled this terrible event. My freshman daughter is strongly committed to returning to New Orleans to begin her Tulane experience and to help rebuild the city. We support her.
The reality of the situation is that there will be some additional costs for everyone--financial and emotional. I believe that Tulane is looking to preserve this fine institution, together with its faculty, staff and students. Many institutions are supporting that goal by waiving tuition for the displaced students who attend this semester. The US Dept of Ed has given some quick guidance for transfer of federal aid from home institutions to receiving institutions. I am confident that given a little time Tulane will be able to work out arrangements for all affected students.

10:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The 9:59 post pretty much sums up the situation. Either take it or leave it. Just like they said, you aren't going to get a free semester and transfer credits and grades.

11:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I haven't heard of one parent looking for a free semester. If you are please identify yourselves.

11:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The only person looking for a free ride here is Scott Cowen. He should be embarrassed by that chat yesterday - that was nothing but a PR event. Scott Cowen may be a great guy but he is so far out of his element here - that he is not even on the radar system.

Get a federal loan and stop worrying about your moodys rating President Cowen. Frankly this is a great excuse to ignore that rating. Start to think about the students and not about saving your Balance Sheet - thats what all this is. Its not about what is fair or right or just its about money - nothing but money.

His new contingency plan is as bad as his old one. The old one didn't exist. The new one is to open for the second sememster come hell or high water ( no pun intended)

11:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amen to the 11:37 post. Scott Cowen is clueless. He would have been better off cancelling the "chat" yesterday than embarassing himself with the questions he decided to respond to. And by the way, every question was screened well before he answered them - nothing was live. Scott Cowen wants to be remembered as the savior of Tulane - he's loving morning show television interviews and his good old boys network of academic cronies ("I can't do anything in the real world, so I'll be a university admnistrator") are stroking his ego to no end. Don't confuse the fact that he's a helluva of a nice guy (and he is) with the fact that he's proven his inability to handle this crisis on a daily basis the past two weeks. No excuses either that this is an unprecedented situation and 9/11 was different. The only difference here is there is no one in charge. Step down now, Scott Cowen.

11:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To all the people who say that we can withdraw. You are wrong.

You can not withdraw from Tulane if you are a senior. No school will accept you and transfer 3 years of credits.

To all the people who say that we are getting a semester at a school and a semester is a semester. You are wrong.

Required courses were not necessarily available at the new schools which could add an additional semester to graduate. Its not so easy to make up all this is you are an upper classman.

To all of you who then say - withdraw - How do you withdraw from new leases you signed when you were told one thing only to find out that Scott Cowen had changed the rules? You can't.

The problem here is that if you are a freshman or even a sophmore and you live on campus your situation is very different than a senior who lived offcampus and has very specific requirements to finish and possibly a job waiting for them in June.

This whole mess has been botched from day one. Scott Cowen was in denial about the fate of fall semester and his failure to act in an expediant manner is what created this situation. We all had to move forward . When he finally saw what was happening he jumped in and changed the rules.

11:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

People have sunk to a new low, hoping that the Federal government will bail out Tulane's tuition obligations. I sincerely hope that not one penny of these critical funds will be diverted from those who have lost absolutely everything (including some Tulane families and employees). As the 9:59 post noted, if you are unhappy with the administration or its forthcoming tuition policies just withdraw your student and collect a refund. If you do not, then accept responsibility for that decision. Do not suggest that someone (the university OR the government) should protect you from having to make any tradeoffs.

12:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

its really easy for some of these people to be armchair quarterbacks and say what they would do and how easy it is to remedy the situation when they have no idea what it is like to have your entire organization spread out across the country. just like some of the parents are worried about paying tuition, which is understandable, there are just as many people who are worried about getting paid. try to be a little more understanding of scott cowen and the administration because there are so many more variables in this equation than you think. tulane already has laid the groundwork for a pretty fair deal, and i'm sure that in the next few days there will be more details. does it matter if 1 out of 8 semesters is at another university? considering the circumstances, i would say no. you or your child will still get the tulane degree and employers are going to be very understanding that you or your child had to attend a worse college for a semester. you will not come out any worse than you would if your child attended tulane without the hurricane ever happening. if they are taking a full schedule of classes then they will graduate on time, if they are taking a light schedule, then they will have to attend another semester and you will not be billed the full amount for this semester. what more do you want? do you want scott cowen to come to your house and apologize for the hurricane hitting the gulf coast? everybody on every level of the university was affected by this storm and everyone will have to suffer in some way. tulane is trying to make the suffering as little as possible but it takes time. if you are so upset, then withdraw. it is pretty simple. but if you want your child to have that tulane degree and be part of that tulane community than deal with what god gave you. don't think that the school is going to be making tons of money after all of the expenses of the hurricane are paid for. don't expect scott cowen and the rest of the faculty to be cruising around town in ferraris because they "stole" your money. it is going to cost a lot of money to rebuild the several campuses that were damaged by this storm and i don't think that fema is going to write tulane a blank check. the school probably will get some money from fema, but not enough to pay for everything. have some patience. this is hard on everyone right now, but it will get better.

12:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All the complainers should just withdraw and take their kids elsewhere. Tulane is going to be a great place in the Spring. Your tuition will apply to the coming semester and almost all other schools are honoring these students as visitors, with the credits and current tuition going back to Tulane. Everyone that will be there will have gotten through this together. No one needs a naysayer, so keep it positive, or withdraw, transfer your kid elsewhere and take your tuition. It will be a tight knit community that rebuilds the school, and not one ridden with conflict.

12:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

can someone tell me what 9/11 has to do with this?

12:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the person who said,

"People have sunk to a new low, hoping that the Federal government will bail out Tulane's tuition obligations. I sincerely hope that not one penny of these critical funds will be diverted from those who have lost absolutely everything (including some Tulane families and employees)."

No one is asking for free government money. There are loans to help in situations like this. The point you fail to recognize is that the way things are right now this is President Cowens new plan to save Tulane : "Tulane's President, Working in Houston With a Skeletal Staff, Says Reopening by Spring Is Essential"

He does not have a contingency plan. He does not have the funds to survive if he doesn't open on time. Doesn't the school have business interruption insurance? Did the school consider other alternatives like federal aid ? Who is running the show at Tulane ? Cowen is not a business man and as far as I can see he's not much of a leader right now. We were promised a chat to get our questions answered instead we got a PR event. I know i asked some important questions ( 5 or 6 of them) not one appeared. This was an actual question from the chat ---Diann-guest says: Will student tickets be available for the game and how to locate them. answer: President Cowen:yes, and we will make sure we post how you can get these tickets on the TulaneGreenwave website.

12:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tulane is going to be a great place in the Spring. It better be because your children will be there no matter what.

We don't really know what the immediate future holds in store for the city. Just look at this article.

12:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi everyone - I just have a question. I missed about the first half hour of the chat and I didn't catch any questions about attending a school on quarters for the fall. It is obvious that one quarter does not equal one semester, so is Tulane going to accomodate that financially? I realize the whole "visiting student" situation, and we will pay what is needed, but I don't see the logic in paying a full semester's tuition for what will translate to only 2/3 of a semester's credit. Please respond if you know what they are doing about that - Thanks!

12:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The question was asked "how lenient are you going to be taking credits from a school that is on quarters?" The answer given was " We understand the peculiarities of schools that are on the quarter system and have a way of translating that into a semester basis.We have done this in the past and will follow the same proceedures in dealing with student situations this semester."

They did say that they would have a transcript of the chat on line on Monday. Nothing was said about an adjustment as far as money as it relates to that issue.

1:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This post is from the other thread on the $18,000.00 question. I thought it was worth reposting here :

Anonymous said...
Yes the option is ours. The issue however is one of trust and risk. We the students are being asked to TRUST that our credits will transfer and that consideration will be given that each and every course we take will satisfy the requirements for graduation at an institution that traditionally has been very picky about these issues. We also are taking ALL the risks including the risk that we could be paying FULL TUITION for only partial credits; that the University will reopen; that it will be safe and that suitable living condition will exist in Jan. I want to graduate from Tulane in the spring! The policy with the first difficult issue-tuition-is simply UNFAIR. Why would I assume FUTURE DECISIONS AND POLICIES WILL BE ANY DIFFERENT! I have no clothes, no car, am two weeks behind in my classes. I am trying to stay on course! Dr. Cowen stated that we are getting an education in life yesterday. Should Tulane at this point in time be giving this harsh lesson! If Im wrong in my assessment I will listen but apparently many feel as I do. I want to work with the university and wish to support it! I need to be treated fairly!

11:14 AM

1:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am an administrator in a higher education institution. I am appalled at how much Tulane is keeping all of you in the dark and evading answers to questions that could have been responded to before Katrina. Below are a few questions that continue to arise that I would like to answer. If there are any other questions you may have, please ask.


Q: I am going to be a senior at Tulane. Can I still transfer to another institution this last year and receive a degree?

A: Most schools in North America have a 30 (semester) 45 (quarter) unit residency requirement. Assuming the transfering institution takes all of your previous credits, the final year in residency will be sufficient to earn your degree.

Q. What is the situation with transfering quarter units?

A. Quarter units transfer in at the rate of 1.5 times a semster unit. A typical 4 quarter unit course would be equivalent to 2.67 semester units. As an example, if you need a 3 semester unit social science course and you take a 4 quarter unit course at XYZ University, you would transfer in 2.67 semester units. The accepatability of these fewer units would be up to the discretion of Tulane. Under the circumstances, Tulane will be in no position to play hardball and I suspect they will be very generous with what they accept.

Q. Can Tulane bend the rules regarding graduation requirements, course requirements, residencey, etc?

A. Yes, there is leeway and Tulane's accrediting body will most certainly assist in allowing the University to stray from previous common practices. While accredited colleges and universities have guidelines, there are always caveats in these guidelines that permit them to make exceptions. This is a common practice in the admission of athletes, children of influential alumni that may not meet minimum requirements, etc.

Remember, you are in the driver's seat here. Tulane will be desperate to bring back every one of you and I am confident you each will have negotiating power for tuition reduction, course acceptance, etc. that was never available to you before. The big question is will the University be ready to open in the Spring. Personally, I feel it doubtful.

1:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How nice of this anonymous adminstrator from an anonymous school to be SO SUPPORTIVE of Tulane in such difficult times!!!!
I'm sure you have had great experience in dealing with a disaster of this magnitude.

1:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, he/she has at least given more answers and advice than anyone at Tulane. Even if Tulane does not support the responses he/she has given, we have solid advice.

1:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the info. I have a question...Without litigation, what course of action do we have if we feel we are being treated unfairly with refunds, credits, etc.

1:49 PM  
Anonymous Robert said...

"I have a question...Without litigation, what course of action do we have if we feel we are being treated unfairly with refunds, credits, etc."

ANSWER: You can file a complaint with Tulane's accrediting body (link below), Southern Association of Schools and Colleges. The wheels move slow here and such issues are usually decided by Tulane's very own peers.

2:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can anyone tell us why Tulane has no back-up system for their records? I work at a college and every night we back up our data and it's copied and moved off-site in case of a catastrophic event. Tulane appears to have not enough information to even put together a student transcript. Is this poor planning, or am I missing something?

2:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a Tulane Junior, who lives in Mississippi and I have found that all the schools in my area has some type of damage. My initial plans was to find a online school to attend.

I contacted Umass Online to enroll for courses. The staff was very friendly and offered to assist me the whole way.

Before she signed me up for classes she offered me an option I think very few people know about. UMass Online and 100 universities and colleges across the country are offering FREE ONLINE CLASSES to anyone who displaced students.

The program is called the Sloan Semester, and it starts in October and runs until Jan. 6. So if some of you are like me, close to graduating and can't make up your semester by attending summer school, you may want to consider this option. The addy is

2:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, btw... I was reluctant t share this info on "Sloan Semester" b/c I thought Cowan would use his influence to persuade these colleges to still make Tulane Students pay.

The reason the colleges have formed this consortium is b/c they too see that displaced students have paid enough.

2:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beware, under the current policy, if you take a full load of courses on-line you are still responsible for 100% of the tulane tuition, similar to any other school which costs less.

2:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you to the "administrator in a higher education institution ". I sincerely appreciate the information.

3:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's milk in my refrigerator. Yuck.

3:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

my Bud Ices are SO warm right now

6:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Friday night I bought milk, chicken, and eggs. I don't even want to know what my apartment smells like.

My Purple Haze must be soo lonely.

6:35 PM  
Anonymous Laury said...

I very much agree with your opinions of Scott Cowen. I think he is a wonderful man and I, personally, would definitely not want to be in his shoes right now. That having been said I do feel a little cheated. My parents have paid $18,000 for me to take business courses at a school which is 3 spots away from the third tier. One semester of tuition here would only cost me $4,000. I'm not saying I only want Scott to have $4,000, I have no problem paying him some more, but my parents also own a house in New Orleans which is presumably very damaged, and it IS possible that its contents are gone. I know that Tulane needs that money to help rebuild the school, but we could really use that money to help rebuild our life down there.

6:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The University of New Orleans is giving their students until November 1 to decide if they will return. If they withdraw by November 1 they will receive a full refund of their tuition. Why is Tulane in such a hurry to make us decide by September 27? Most of us who attend Tulane had other choices to attend college, but we were attracted to Tulane and are happy there. In retrospect and in speaking to some of my classmates, there are many other choices out there - schools with higher rankings, more prestige and much lower tuition. I will be reassing the situation. I never did like the connotation that by attending Tulane I was "buying" my degree. Now with all that is happening I'm afraid the word will be Tulane just gave away the degrees to those affected students.

6:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I understand the need for all Tulane students to show their loyalty during this time; however, it is equally important for parents of these students to question and be concerned about President Cowens lack of SOLID INFORMATION. Where are the campus pictures? I've read (from the president) that the campus sufferered minimal damage, then read it was extensive. Which is it? Is there security on campus to prevent looting? When does he plan to let us back in to retrieve our things? Not only do I feel like I'm not getting solid answers, but I feel like there is a total lack of concern on his part for the student's belongings. Some families are not wealthy and can't replace everything our children own. Speak to us on this issue, President Cowen.

6:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am quite offended with a couple of things: how can he be dining with wine and champayne at a time like this? Who is footing his champayne bill? WE ARE. Maybe HE should donate the cost of that champayne to the RED CROSS in lieu of keeping our tuition and having us pay for his lifestyle. I'd like to see his expense report.

6:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For those who say that Tulane will receive back all of their losses from their insurance - that is extremely doubtful.

I work in insurance in Florida and I handle accounts the size of Tulane. Number one, they most likely have a hurricane deductible that runs in the millions of dollars - from what I have seen of the damages I doubt they will exceed that deductible and recover much money for the physical reconstruction of the campus.

As far as the business interruption insurance - it generally does not apply if the reason the business is closed is due to order of civil authority. Even if it does, the coverage period is limited - usually to a maximum of 2 weeks.

Most people don't understand that closing because the governement has said you can't be there does not constitue a covered business interruption loss.

So while I'm sure Tulane has extensive insurance coverage their losses will still most likely be in the millions. We saw that happen many times over last year here in hurricane country.

7:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't see loss in the "millions" if the damage, according to the President is "minimal". And if it is, that is what the savings account is for, not the tuition of students who did not get what they paid for. I am not blaming him for the hurricane, but I am concerned about the way he is handling things. He is very vague. If damage is so extensive, how does he expect to open in the spring? Will NO be open in the spring, or is this a way to keep us all hanging on?

7:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

President Cowen:
Please answer the following questions:
1. Are the kids belongings secure, and if so, how?
2. Please explain, and show in pictures, the damage to the facilities.
3. How do you know that Tulane will open in the spring? What are you basing this statement on?
4. Did anyone on staff lose their life?

7:50 PM  
Blogger RealityCheck said...

For the people who want something other than cheerleading for Tulane and Cowen. See

8:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

President Cowen:
Please answer the following questions:
1. Are the kids belongings secure, and if so, how?


2. Please explain, and show in pictures, the damage to the facilities.


3. How do you know that Tulane will open in the spring? What are you basing this statement on?


4. Did anyone on staff lose their life?


Thank you for your continued support of Tulane. It is so wonderful to see the love all of you share for our great institution. Tulane will come back stronger than ever before and we will have fraternity rush in the spring. We are working 24/7 on spring rush, orientation and processing freshman applications.

8:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a parent of a Tulane sophomore and of course am following the tuition situation closely as I pay the lion's share of my daughter's costs. It is my understanding that universities are generally insured for catastrophic losses such as this so I would expect the University to be able to recover most of the lost tuition income in that way. Regardless, I can't imagine that a business (yes, that is what a private university is) would insist on taking money for a product or service it did not actually provide.

8:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


9:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the person who commented at 9:03, I'm really hoping you could tell that the 8:51 post was a joke. If you couldn't, then no wonder everyone is so upset around here. Sometimes we need to just step back for a second and breathe.

9:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I suspect one of the reasons that tuition is not simply being refunded 100% for the fall semester is that as Tulane is the largest private employer in New Orleans, and as our tuition dollars help pay that massive payroll, any cut in pay checks will have huge effects on the individuals and families tied to Tulane. Last time I checked many employees were still recieving regular, full pay checks. I imagine it would be difficult to keep the current faculty at Tulane if their pay was cut. It's a more complex situation than simply "they have our money." That said, I certainly hope a good deal of tuition returns to the students and their families, especially since so many students have attorney parents, which could mean multiple sticky legal issues. And no one wants that.

9:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Folks, Tulane is done. It's time to face the facts. Plan on at least a shutdown until next fall. If Cowen cannot even make a decision regarding tuition, how is he in a position to plan a spring opening? Make alternate plans before it's too late.

9:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great point on the comment regarding Tulane as the city's largest employer. Tulane didn't just employ faculty and administrative staff. The members of the university's physical plant staff, janitorial staff, and other lower paying positions will be counting on that money for survival. Even if the university does receive disaster relief or insurance money, it needs to pay the checks NOW, with the money that is currently slated for that purpose.

9:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of course I could tell it was a joke - just like the answers we have been given to date. My point was to Cowen that your answers were just like his answers, therefore you have many angry and upset parents and students who are beginning to tie their walking shoes! It was funny, but it was also just like we've been treated.

9:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


9:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yesterday in that chat President Cowen said that he remained on campus during the hurricane. In a letter on September 1st he said that a group of them arrived in Houston after 5 days in New Orleans.

It seems to me that while a decision to remain on campus could be considered noble it also might explain why it took so long for him to make a decision about cancelling the semester. I do know that our family sat watching the news and waited and waited for him to cancel the semester. We already had offers for places from 3 or 4 schools before we had word from him that the school wouldn't open.The other schools knew and we all knew that Tulane wasn't a safe or viable place for anyone. It seems to me that his slow response caused many of the problems we face today.

9:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The majority of students live off campus after the freshman year. Where will all these students live come January?

9:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with 9:09 PM. While I understand concerns about tuition, I think the dilemma the university faces on this issue is being trivialized. As correctly noted above "business interruption policies" do not cover losses of this duration. The endowment is not "a savings account for a rainy day"--its purpose is to generate investment income which accounts for much of the university's revenue. Use of these funds is often also legally restricted.

I, too, hope the tuition policies will be fair. But let's face it, the university will have to make some tradeoffs-- between keeping current families happy and its long term financial stability. I know many assume these are the same thing; I am not yet convinced.

9:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

6,000 plus students x $20K per semester equals 120 million dollars. Are you telling me that this figure represents what he pays his staff over the course of a semester? Is Tulane University tuition the only source of income? What about the profit on the endowment investments? Won't TU be given massive amounts of government money?

9:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tulane's annual operating budget is about $600 million, not sure how that breaks down between faculty and other expenses. Regardless of other income sources, $120 million of lost revenue is still a huge chunk. They will have some tough decisions...

9:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Every business in New Orleans is going to suffer lost revenue. Does that mean that other businesses in NO can take money for services not provided? There are several "businesses" that I LOVE in NO, but that they will all have to take their own loses, but not at the expense of their customers. This tuition policy is not only not fair to the families, but it is equally not fair to the wonderful universities that have taken in these displaced students. It is my understanding that if your child goes to ASU, for instance, TU will make 16,000 on that student that was educated for $4000 (assuming that child paid the 20K TU tuition) Is this correct? Is this fair to the other universities? Is it fair for a family to pay 20K for a 4K education? There is no way TU can argue about any course taken by these students, especially since the displaced student is paying the TU price!

10:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey all you whiners who continue to bitch about paying $20,000 for a $4000 education. You chose Tulane and should have known it was overpriced and overrated from day one. I'm sure you were sold a bill of goods, but the fact is you have overpaid and now have buyer's remorse.

10:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Look at it this way - your $20,000 tuition paid to Tulane is probably only worth $4000 anyway. You just paid retail.

10:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Keep in mind that not everyone has already paid their tution and with Tulane's generous scholarship programs, your figure is not entirely accurate.

And it makes sense to me that $120 million does represent the cost of Tulane personnel for half a year. According to Dr. Cowen's Sept. 3 (1:00 p.m.) letter, Tulane has 6,000 employees. Let's take your year-long approximate $240 million (because let's face it, they have to pay employees in the summer and there aren't a ton of students enrolled in those summer courses) and divide it by the 6,000 employees. I'm getting 40K pretax per year average for these folks. Obviously some people make more more and some make less, but this seems pretty in line to me. Even if you include a guess estimate for the summer tution revenue, it's not going to change the average that much. My calculation doesn't even include the cost of benefits.

On the endowment: It is my understanding that higher education endowments are not to be used for everyday expenses such as payroll. The funds are generally used to implement new IT initiatives, attract excellent faculty, etc. Though these are sometimes referred to as the rainy day activities, as I understand it, an endowment is not an "emergency fund." And while it may be possible that at some point government money may come to Tulane, but I'm guessing the university is pretty far down on the list, when compared to the people that are dying or without homes. As for the profit of the endowment investments, Tulane's endowment is not really that large and is likely not spinning of as much interest as we might think, particularly with the lower interest rates that we've seen lately. Unless of course their endowment is a managed fund, but I always assumed it was an interest-bearing fund to mitigate the risk of losing development funds.

10:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry, the above post referred to the $120 million comment posted at 9:46 p.m.

10:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry, the above post referred to the $120 million comment posted at 9:46 p.m.

10:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i agree with u brett, your not doing anything wrong, this site has given me much hope in a time it was direly needed, please keep up with your site and foundation, i'm sure i speak for everyone when i say we are unimaginabley (prob mispelleD) proud and thankful for what you have done for the Tulane community


11:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Many of the comments indicate that there is a lot of frustration over paying Tulane’s tuition rate for a semester while our children are attending universities and schools where the tuition is significantly less. I share in these feelings.
I think President Cowen would create good will, generate significant revenue and hold on to more students if he were to have those students submit tuition payments equal to the actual cost of the child’s education this semester. Then, ask the parents to please seriously consider making a donation to Tulane for up to the difference. That amount, if any would be entirely in parent’s discretion. This way the parent feels in control of their hard earned money, will recoup something with the IRS sharing cost and will have more positive feeling towards the school.

4:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Right on my Bro. Cowen will make Tulane a top 20 university and even if everyone still has to pay full tuition, (which I think we should wait and see if that's going to happen), it will be worth it in 15 years when our degree is worth a lot more than the one we're earning today. Hyman is right on, always and forever!

9:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. xxxx:

In regards to your reservation at the Beau Rivage Hotel and Casino, we appreciated the opportunity to be of service to you after your dropped your child off at Tulane. Unfortunately, we understand your disappointment in having to stay at the Best Western in Tupelo instead of with us because of Hurricane Katrina. However, we still must charge you our room rate of $239 a night, plus the estimated $325 you would have lost gambling. Even though you were unable to stay with us, we need your money to reopen the casino and to keep our pit bosses from moving to Atlantic City. To be fair, we will refund the $49.99 that you paid to Best Western. I know the room wasn't as nice and the bed wasn't as soft and the pool had dolphins in it, but we weren't properly insured and we need to pay our cooks and ground keepers. I know that you left all of your belongings in our hotel room and will have to pay $1,000s to repurchase them, but we need to stay at the Four Seasons while we plan our recovery. Again, we are sorry for the inconvience and we value your business.

Thank you,

The Beau Rivage Casino Management

P.S. If you ever want to come back to the Beau Rivage, then you must pay for your room and gambling losses.

9:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Cowen will make Tulane a top 20 university and even if everyone still has to pay full tuition, (which I think we should wait and see if that's going to happen), it will be worth it in 15 years when our degree is worth a lot more than the one we're earning today."

You are so right! You're degree will be a collectors item sold on E-Bay for big bucks.

10:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i can't believe how fast this blog has turned into a running rant dominated by a few people from being a great site for discussion.

12:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We are discussing, and looking for answers to important questions. If you want a cheerleading blog, start one. We have questions, and we need answers from our leader. No one is against the man personally, however, he is the leader, we are the followers, and we need leadership. He can avoid this "rants" if he'll simply answer some pertinent questions posed to him by the people who are displaced.

12:16 PM  
Blogger anonymous said...

As a parent of a Tulane freshman, I certainly appreciate the economic difficulty presented by the current circumstances. However, those parents who are essentially accusing the school of a "scam" or a "rip off" and demanding Dr. Cowen's resignation because of their early read of the tuition policy should try hard not to be so emotional and address the complexities of the situation. What would you do, send every student his money back asap, tell them "nice knowing you" and dismiss Tulane as a part of their lives? Don't be short-sighted on this. As has been said, the school will need to engender everyone's good will, and the fact that you are understandably anxious, as we all are, should not result you in bringing out the big brush (or broom), cleaning out the the people, history and sensitivity of the situation by a completely narrow minded and selfish approach. This can all be worked out, but not just by having you grab your money back and leaving the school and everyone else to fend for themselves. Let's act like adults, baby.

12:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No one is saying that they are going to take their money and run, leaving TU to fend for itself. They are asking for answers to questions and fair resolve for the tuition policy. We would not be registered to attend TU if we hadn't wanted to be there and become a part of the TU community, however, Dr. Cowen (who I am not asking to resign or get fired) needs to rethink how in the world it is fair to take tuition from kids who did not get their schooling this semester. I'd have more sympathy if he didn't have a 700 million dollar endowment. That is much more than I have in my account today. The financial stablility of this university should not remain on the backs of the kids who call TU home, rather on the backs of the endowment and the federal government, who, most certainly will be footing the bill for many years to come. It was quite scary to see him grab the tuition days after this disaster, rather than explore other options for the financial stability of the college. How much was raised at the alumni dinner parties in Houston?

12:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

there is a difference between discussing tuition issues and calling for his resignation because he doesn't have a perfect plan a WEEK after a hurricane destroyed 3 states. this is the plan so far.

- if you don't attend any school this semester, you don't pay tuition
- if you go part time, you pay partial tuition
- if you go full time, you pay full tuition

i believe this is a fair deal. if you take a full schedule then you will graduate on time. if you go part time, then will have to take another semester anyways.

12:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No one asked for the perfect plan a week after the disaster. However, are you saying that if I take basket weaving 101 at Maryland State University that this will be a credit that will be accepted at Tulane? I am going full-time, I guess I am paying full tuition, so I guess I can take basket weaving 101 and still graduate from Tulane on time!

12:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tulane has said that they will be lenient in accepting credits and grades from other universities. They have said that you should try to take classes that you would at Tulane, and try to take classes for your major, but they would be understanding and try to work with you. It is pretty simple. If you are a history major, take history courses. If you are an english major, take english courses. If you are a business major, take business courses. If you take courses that do not help your major, that is your decision. No one is forcing you to take classes. Think of this semester like you would any other semester at Tulane.

1:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My Tulane freshman left all her personal belongings in her dorm room aside from a few clothes which she took to Jackson. I have spent nearly $3K on a new computer, more books, minimal items for the new dorm room and some clothes to date. I want to know when we can get back into the dorms to get her other things. I have also registered her at another university where I have had to pay room and board to the tune of $4K for the semester. She is being housed with three other Tulane students and they are all in the same position. I can't afford to do any more than I already have.

2:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All my support goes to Scott Cowen: his personnal involvement, his compassion, his leadership, his determination, his efficiency, his committment, impressed me from the very first day. Hearty congratulations from a parent of a student from La Sorbonne, Paris, France, who was about to start teaching (TA) and studying at Tulane. She is presently in New York, waiting eagerly to go back to New Orleans whenever possible.

3:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To parents:
I'm a Tulane College Junior, and I have parents who tend to go nuts any time the subject of money or tuition comes up, so I know what it's like to be a student in that position. As angry as many of you may be at the idea of not getting an immediate refund or maybe even paying double tuition, please consider that by getting angry and emotional you may just be making the situation harder on your son or daughter, especially if you're constantly asking them for information or what they've heard. You may just be seeing things in terms of dollars and cents, but the students are looking at what basically boils down to a 4-month pause on their ultimate goals. I'm not trying to preach or tell anyone how to be a parent, rather I'm offering a student's perspective on the situation. It's difficult for us too, please keep that in mind.

3:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent point from the Tulane student. As for your children's stuff - it's just stuff. You don't HAVE to buy a new computer or a whole new wardrobe. I'm an alumnus and one of my friends from undergrad, who is now a law student, just arrived in my town with practically nothing. She is worried about her items, sure, but "stuff" can be replaced. She's surviving on a bare-bones wardrobe, and we've taken collections from friends and coworkers that are her size, so now she's got clothing to wear and doesn't have to worry about going out and restocking a closet. As for the computer for your kids, it's not neccessary. My freshman roommate went years without her own computer, and she did just fine. Any school your kid attends will have multiple labs, students are usually good about letting others borrow, and finally, if they are living at home, there is likely a family computer. Rent-a-center even lets you rent a computer apparently, which is perfect if you only need something for a semester. Before freaking out about the costs of replacing everything (when Cowen said the stuff in the dorms is okay), just do what it takes to get by for a few months. Your child can wear the same pants twice in one week.

7:00 PM  
Anonymous MassParent said...

As a parent of a freshman, I've been enormously impressed with Scott Cowen and with Tulane faculty and staff as a whole. Communications have been excellent before AND after Katrina. Dr. Cowen's efforts through various college associations have meant that my son has been able to attend a good school with comparable courses for no additional tuition. This university has also agreed to wait for housing and meal plan payments until Tulane can refund us this money. I realize that other families have not been so fortunate, and I can understand the panic some parents may have felt. I hope today's statement from Dr. Cowen reassures everyone. It is clear to me that, however the details are worked out, Tulane intends to treat us all fairly.

7:03 PM  
Blogger RealityCheck said...

At 10:11 PM someone wrote:
"Hey all you whiners who continue to bitch about paying $20,000 for a $4000 education. You chose Tulane and should have known it was overpriced and overrated from day one. I'm sure you were sold a bill of goods, but the fact is you have overpaid and now have buyer's remorse."

No buyers remorse here. I knew what I was paying for, but when I pay for something, I expect to get it. I'm not going to pay $20,000 for a State University education.

10:11 PM

7:18 PM  
Blogger RealityCheck said...

At 11:35 PM "Torbiak" wrote:
"i agree with u brett, your not doing anything wrong, this site has given me much hope in a time it was direly needed, please keep up with your site and foundation, i'm sure i speak for everyone when i say we are unimaginabley (prob mispelleD) proud and thankful for what you have done for the Tulane community"

What Brett has given you here is false and delusional hope.

And what has he done for the Tulane community other than "brown-nosed" Cowen into thinking everything in the Tulane world is ok?

BTW, its not.

11:25 PM

7:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tulane has an endowment that I believe tops $700 million. Tulane should dip into those funds. Rebuilding on the backs of the current year's students is unethical at best.

7:27 PM  

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