Tuesday, September 13, 2005

This Site Will Go On

The time has come for me to make a tough decision. The short sidedness of just a FEW ignorant people has turned this site from a positive discussion about the Tulane community, to a ranting site with misinformation and purely malignant commentary. I’m disgraced that any of those people would call themselves members of my community, the Tulane community. The Tulane community is the wonderful group of people who showed support and love at the inception of this site. They have continued to care about the future of Tulane, despite the challenges it faces due to this catastrophe. This site's intent hasn’t changed, even though the situation has. We are still here to discuss the positive aspects of the Tulane community. But there are just too many people poisoning this site’s content, for me not to say something.


Do you have the right to question the people in charge? Of course. Do you have the right to answers to your questions? Undoubtedly. Do I mind if you voice opposition on this website. Not at all. However, you do NOT have the right to personally attack the administration and, more importantly, each other. Yes, there are questions to be answered, but there is a mature and respectful way to ask them. My Tulane Student Blog is for students, alumni, staff, faculty and parents to communicate about Tulane issues. Some parents have embarrassed the Tulane community beyond any belief, by obsessing about a few tuition issues, which are making positive progress each and every day. Certainly, you all have issues with the current situation, as it is extraordinary. I want you to have an opinion. I want you to have a place to voice that opinion, which is why I created this blog. But there is a tactful and productive way to get answers. Why do I have to explain to parents that ranting won’t solve anything? Isn’t that something we teach to a 10 year old child?


Other parents have been wonderful, many of which are communicating with me about how they appreciate my supply of useful information and analysis of the issues. To all of you, thanks for the kind words and please keep voicing your support. The site turned nasty when money came into the picture.


Let me first affirm- everyone is obviously entitled to their money. You are right to be worried, confused and uncertain. I do NOT disagree with any of your opinions. I do, however, disagree with the way you present them. Do you think your tone resonates well in the outside community? What do you think the CNN producer is looking to do a story on? She wants to report about how disgustingly obsessed some of these parents are with their money. She will tell the world how some of you can’t just wait a day to see what Tulane does, but instead demand and command before even knowing that facts. We all know that this type of person is in the minority of our community. But why isn’t it clear from the site? The interesting thing is, I entirely believe there are plenty of people who are not in comfortable enough financial situations to handle this. It’s terrible we all have to go through this and I think this ranting is only hurting those who really need the help. Those who really need the help are going through the proper channels- the university. Yes, it is nearly impossible to contact them, but they all know that in due time, they will be able to get their problems solved.


I’ve been told to shut down this site. I’ve been told to shut it down by students! These students are people who are having their hopes of a Tulane future shattered their own parents. These students can’t bear to read what these so called “parents of Tulane students” are saying. How could you be a parent of a Tulane student if you hate the institution so much? How could you claim to support your child while brutally criticizing the institution that he or she loves? Maybe you should talk to your kids and get their opinions. If you as unhappy as you say you are, maybe you should take them elsewhere.


I had to seek out the advice of my wonderful parents in dealing with this situation. I was so hurt by the scathing attacks both on my university as well as on the leaders of my university; I really didn’t know how to respond. My parents read your comments and gave me two pieces of advice. The first, “don’t shut down the blog, keep it positive and the students will still benefit from it.” So I won’t shut it down. Instead, I will keep posting my articles and thoughts, and hope that the students can benefit from what I’m saying, if nothing else. The second piece of advice came when I told them that I didn’t know how I could write again, because your comments brought my spirits so low. They told me, “This isn’t about them; it’s about you and the students who care about Tulane. Read their comments or not, just don’t become one of them.” So I won’t, I won’t stop my belief in Tulane. I won’t stop my belief in a future New Orleans. I won’t stop believing in the wonderful community that makes up Tulane University.


Let me reiterate this argument. I am only speaking to a few parents who have truly crossed the line. Everyone is entitled to your opinion, and if you want to speak out against the school, you are welcome to do it on this site. But remember, you are examples of the Tulane community both to students as well as many people who are looking in from the outside. What do you want them to see?


Therefore, I’m going to continue this site as a resource for students. It’s going to get a bit more political as I start to talk about issues surrounding the relief effort. Expect to see some days with 2-3 articles. I’m still working on the non-profit organization as well as a concept to help Tulane recruit a 2010 freshmen class. Tulane, I’d like to share my ideas with you so email me.

To those who want to bring us down: if you hate Tulane so much, then take your business somewhere else. To those who love Tulane as much as me: join me by showing it on this site. Cheers to the future of Tulane University, to the future of New Orleans, and to a stronger Tulane community.


Brett N. Hyman


PS- If you really want to defend you comments, say who you are and put your email address after you comment. If we don’t stop the anonymous and mean spirited comments I will get rid of it as an option.

137 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wonderful, censorship as well as extortion from Tulane. Have a nice life in whatever dream world you're living in. Others might like the raw, unvarnished truth about the situation but you keep cheerleading and candy coating everything, Brett. I'm sure Mr. Cowen will be SOOOO greatful!

3:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Keep up the good work Brett. You provide a valuable forum for students as well as most parents and it's greatly appreciated. Focus on the positives and things will get better as time goes on. Now that the basic tuition questions have been addressed most people will move forward. Stay strong, better days are coming.

4:09 AM  
Blogger es said...

Best of luck Brett.

For concerned parents, there is an alternative Blog offered at http://pelican83.blogspot.com/

4:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The true attempt at censorship has been coming from those who have continued to attack and defame anyone who does not agree with their position.

Keep up the good work Brett and yes, you may need to abolish the anonynmous feature - perhaps the parents who continue to carry on will think twice if they must identify themselves for not only the world but for their own children to see.

I look forward to seeing some information about moving on and picking up the pieces - it's time.

4:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From the chat:

Stuart: Have you considered the issue where a student attends a lower-priced school?

President Cowen: That is a topic we're talking about right now and will be answered on our FAQ, published next week.


Translation: We're arguing about it and would be open to mature proposals from the parents and/or students.


I will be communicating with the University that to keep the goodwill of students and families, they have to meet them halfway on this!!! You guys at University of Houston, how about delegating a committee to meet with the administration on it. My read of the administration's stance is that it leaves obvious room for compromise, but in the absence of an organized, responsible student/family negotiating body, what we have on this side are rants that will get people nowhere and the University will take advantage of that, which, frankly, is an appropriate business decision.

You got a U. Houston education this year (which is probably fine for what it is but not Tulane) but you still carry the Tulane brand and its goodwill. 50 cents on the dollar makes a lot of sense to me. What do you say? Get your act together.

I want to point out the lottery aspect of this. My daughter has the best of all possible worlds, because she is on full scholarship and she is at Columbia. But Columbia only took 200. If her Grandma hadn't heard about Columbia on the radio and I hadn't dropped everything to rush up there and get her registered, she would have wound up at Brooklyn College, an excellent low-cost school, but not Columbia.

4:40 AM  
Anonymous es said...

Actual data obtained by tests of floodwaters by the EPA may be found at:

http://www.epa.gov/katrina/testresults/chem/090305/chem2005_09_03.html

Those are the facts. Anything else, conjecture, and in most cases, needless hysteria.

Yes, when the time comes, I'll let my kids decide if they are ready to go back to NOLa.

5:58 AM  
Anonymous es said...

Sorry, that url got clipped in my post. Here it is:

http://www.epa.gov/katrina/testresults/chem/090305/chem2005_09_03.html

6:02 AM  
Anonymous es said...

Still clipped. To get there, you need

http://www.epa.gov/katrina/testresults/chem/090305/

followed by (no spaces):

chem2005_09_03.html#sep3

6:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brett I think your site is wonderful and agree w/ you on many points. Attacking each other and anyone associated w/ Tulane is wrong. At the same time, many of us are looking for answers as to what to do.
Some news has come out today that will help students and parents make their OWN decisions.

See the article in the LA Times - goto "Levee Damage Leaves City Vulnerable"

http://www.latimes.com/

See the article today in the Houston Chronicle called "Test find New Orleans soaking in toxic stagnant stew" based on the EPA tests results just released

http://www.chron.com/

or just go to the gov site and read it directly

http://www.gcn.com/vol1_no1/daily-updates/36955-1.html

This is the kind of information I think will determine what we do about our son, it makes the tuition issue unimportant. Don't worry no one (I believe) will blame Dr. Cowen for these problems and I don't believe he can fix them.

6:10 AM  
Anonymous greenwave said...

brett its good to see you back. someone needed to stand up to the ranting parents and i'm glad you did. i encourage you to remove the anonymous option because i do think that a lot of the parents won't be as vocal and emotional if other people know who they are.

looks like the situation in new orleans is getting better and better each day. the water is going down and people are getting power. i've heard that it takes about 90 days to completely flush the water system and have clean water, so we are on pace for a spring semester. i've seen on the Freeman FAQ that Angelo DiNisi said that Tulane is looking at several options regarding housing for the spring since a lot of people might not have a house to go to. any speculation on what some of the options might be? i think they might be considering taking over a hotel. a lot of schools do that when they are short on student housing.

6:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brett, you remind me of Percy Weasley.

6:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

how about some amount of credit issued against future tuition bills. Tulane keeps the fall money already recvd and we are given a monetary incentive to return for future semesters?

6:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brett, the work you are doing is amazing. Don't listen to these ignorant people. Youre site has helped me so much during the difficult time when my life was turned upside down. You see, I actually lost everything in this hurricane, and all these parents care abotu is their damn money. They need to think about those whole lost their life possessions... parents who are bashing brett and whining about their money.... shut the f*** up!

7:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

parents get used to this fact.... if you go to the spatang website, you will see that EVERY SINGLE STUDENT wants to return to Tulane as soon as possible. Deal with it, shut up, and sit down! brett youre the best!

7:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

that last post was definitely brett..

7:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You really need to get over yourself Brett.

7:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

no actually it wasnt my name is lauren and im at my last year at tulane i lived on fountainbleu in uptown. what is your problem anyway?

7:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

how about you get over yourself. leave brett alone he's got bigger balls than you to take on all this

7:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

At least those of us committed to returning to Tulane will receive an education that teaches us how to spell grateful.

7:41 AM  
Blogger mother of a freshman said...

Brett, I can't agree with you more. I feel Tulane not only reacted quickly and with great wisdom and care when Katrina was not even determined yet to be a level 5 hurricane, they also reacted quickly to the needs and safety of the displaced students.
As a parent, I know the financial end will be taken care of...lets be real... what do you think...they are going to take your $$ and run!!
My son is looking forward to returning as a freshman to Tulane and I feel it will be a wonderful environment for learning what life is really all about. Good luck to everyone.

8:06 AM  
Anonymous M. Moss said...

After reading some of the responses made after the publishing of a heartfelt plea by Brett to exhibit some degree of decorum and propriety in the emotional contentiousness exhibited on this blog,I must respond to the "community" of Tulane. It appears that many people are being nothing more than wannabe H.L. Menkens in their continued and unnecessary vitriolic comments, laced with satirical misplaced humor and misguided comments. For all of you who enjoy publishing this simplistic negativity, I suggest that you come up with a comprehensive plan of action regarding issues of tuition, school leadership, class resumption, et al and present your proposals in an organized and cogent fashion with constructive and considerable thought presented instead of emotional rantings and finger pointing. In other words, try being a "fantasy president" of Tulane if you dare.

As a Tulane parent, I am faced with as many difficulties and issues as many of you. It is an extremely complicated and uncomfortable situation trying to make a decision that I can afford financially as well as to provide my son with the best educational experience available under these very trying and unusual circumstances. Do we present a good picture of the advantages of an education to our children by acting like under-educated and uninformed parents in a crises like this?
This is not to suggest that I am painting a contented scenario, that I am happy or agree with everything that has taken place so far with the leadership of Tulane's administration. Like everything that occurs in life I think that we would like to do things differently or have been better prepared than we were. Isn't hindsight wonderful. Mistakes happen. Good people, responsible people make lots of mistakes. I am willing to give Tulane's leadership the chance to make the decisions to do what is most appropriate and beneficial for their student population and the parents that support this population as well as the community supporting the school.Are any of you willing to do the same?
Without sounding too redundant, I again call on all students,parents, and other interested parties to present a well considered outline of their opinions on how to deal realistically and constructively with the myriad problems Tulane is faced with now and present them in this forum or on other blogs or direct letters to Dr. Cowen and the administration. I am sure that constructive suggestions presenting thoughtfulness would be better received than the Monday Morning quarterback mentality displayed by a number of respondents on this blog. I will be anxiously waiting to read those future responses.

8:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks to the person who posted the 6:10 blog.
This is the kind of information I need right now. If you haven't read the LA Times article here is a section of it.

"Army officials disclosed the destruction of the city's eastern levee system in a detailed helicopter tour of the region Monday. Unlike some of the levees in New Orleans that continuously hold water back from areas below sea level, these levees exist mainly to repel storm surges.

The loss of the levees has left portions of New Orleans with little or no protection midway through the hurricane season, senior Army officials said. And rebuilding the levees will be a massive undertaking that could take years, meaning the city could be vulnerable for a long time.

"It is gone," said Col. Richard Wagenaar, the Army Corps' head engineer for the New Orleans district. "It is literally leveled in places. The power of the surge in this storm was greatly underestimated."

Wagenaar estimated that 90% of the levee system protecting the region's eastern flank had been knocked out.

If you want to see the rest go to the 6:10 blog. The other 2 articles are also very good.
"

8:37 AM  
Anonymous es said...

"or just go to the gov site and read it directly

http://www.gcn.com/vol1_no1/daily-updates/36955-1.html"

The fact is, that is NOT the government site, and IS an editorial commentary.

The source site for the actual data is properly referenced as the EPA, in my earlier post.

Again, why post hysteria? Except to indulge one's personal agenda?

I can identify what Brett is dealing with here.

8:45 AM  
Anonymous es said...

I'd also add, that you can link directly to the EPA data through an alternate Blog set up for information (facts):

http://pelican83.blogspot.com/

8:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've refused to post until now, but how can those attacking Brett be taken seriously when they refuse to have their names out their like he does? It is really easy to post as anonymous, hey I am doing it right now. I am sure some of you negative people constantly post as anonymous simply to make it look like more people disagree. You might disagree with how he is taking the situation but this is his site, when you have the balls to do something similar with your name on it maybe you can stop getting in a frenzy and attacking him from your computer chair.
-A Displaced Tulane Freshman

8:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear "ES"
The web site wasn't the gov site just Gov Computer News. The article connected me directly to EPA and I was able to see the results.

Thanks to the person who listed it.

8:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a student and read the article in the LA times and the quote by Col. Richard Wagenaar, the Army Corps' head engineer.

Do you really think they will even let us back into New Orleans for spring semester?

9:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brett,

Good for you! These are 2 response placed on the Dailyjolt forum which is truly getting sick and sad. The students need positive action and if some things don't quite add up, well, most lost everything, family included. I'm a TU parent in Northridge, no insurance and lost in the '94 e'quakt..oh well...we escaped with our lives and a smashed antique vase...so what....these parents may take a hit but they've come up with no other solution, TU says they'll refund your money if you leave, give a credit if you spent this semester...disasters create monetary losses...and I'm sure their credits will be accepted...Dr. Cowen understands all of these concerns I'm sure and they'll work with you or your kid. As far as getting a job after this, Tulane's reputation is awesome or your kid wouldn't be here....the only bad news getting out that will make future employees or future freshmen think different are the horrible, negative, greedy comments. Stay away, go to Fox News, go to Iraq if you're not going to help the students stay positive and look forward to going 'home'!


ditto...most others in NOLA didn't even get their $2000 voucher which is all they'd get w/o insurance, home, clothes,job, food...etc. It may be a loss but our loss, money, computers, books...so what...your kids have their lives and parents who either care about their well being or their money. You may take a hit but you went or sent you kid to an area where you knew this was possible!

hey perturbed, i'm not Mrs. Cowen, I'm a TU parent and proud of it, stop with all the negative talk...this forum should be uplifting the kids as well as asking your questions but come on, enough...if you're unhappy, get your BevHills lawyer from usc and sue and take your kid or yourself out of Tulane. This is not suppose to be a boxing match, get a job, get a life and wait to hear the answers, if you don't like the reply, leave or appeal or fight your battle but your negative talk is sad. I know most of these kids only want to return ... no matter what!

9:10 AM  
Blogger TU Parent said...

Brett,

Good for you! These are 2 response placed on the Dailyjolt forum which is truly getting sick and sad. The students need positive action and if some things don't quite add up, well, most lost everything, family included. I'm a TU parent in Northridge, no insurance and lost in the '94 e'quakt..oh well...we escaped with our lives and a smashed antique vase...so what....these parents may take a hit but they've come up with no other solution, TU says they'll refund your money if you leave, give a credit if you spent this semester...disasters create monetary losses...and I'm sure their credits will be accepted...Dr. Cowen understands all of these concerns I'm sure and they'll work with you or your kid. As far as getting a job after this, Tulane's reputation is awesome or your kid wouldn't be here....the only bad news getting out that will make future employees or future freshmen think different are the horrible, negative, greedy comments. Stay away, go to Fox News, go to Iraq if you're not going to help the students stay positive and look forward to going 'home'!


ditto...most others in NOLA didn't even get their $2000 voucher which is all they'd get w/o insurance, home, clothes,job, food...etc. It may be a loss but our loss, money, computers, books...so what...your kids have their lives and parents who either care about their well being or their money. You may take a hit but you went or sent you kid to an area where you knew this was possible!

hey perturbed, i'm not Mrs. Cowen, I'm a TU parent and proud of it, stop with all the negative talk...this forum should be uplifting the kids as well as asking your questions but come on, enough...if you're unhappy, get your BevHills lawyer from usc and sue and take your kid or yourself out of Tulane. This is not suppose to be a boxing match, get a job, get a life and wait to hear the answers, if you don't like the reply, leave or appeal or fight your battle but your negative talk is sad. I know most of these kids only want to return ... no matter what!

9:10 AM  
Anonymous LongLiveTheWave06 said...

Brett is doing an amazing job, giving us his opinions and the facts while having to deflect some people's greedy and selfish attacks. Brett doesn't control the university's actions, nor when and how they answer your questions. There is no reason to be attacking him for providing a useful and uplifting site for our community in our greatest time of need.

That said, Pres. Cowen's guidelines set forth yesterday have pretty much answered our tuition questions. We now must wonder how soon we can get back into the city to retrieve our belongings and begin to rebuild. Pres. Cowen has no control over when they'll let us back into New Orleans, and it is childish to blame him for things he has no control over. You should direct those questions to Pres. Bush, the Governor and the Mayor for answers to questions that they control.

No one has talked about the 40,000 volunteers that the Red Cross is requesting. If you have decided not to study this semester, I urge you to join the Red Cross to help rebuild our wonderful city.

Let's keep this site productive and uplifting. Negativity helps no one. Keep up the good work Brett!

9:10 AM  
Anonymous Financial Analysis said...

Brett, you are a "business finance, business management and political economy major". Very impressive. I would like to explore this issue from a business perspective. In order to do that I have a couple of questions:

When the schools initially began to step forward some offered free tuition but others did not. We had offers from schools where we were told that they would accept us but that we would have to pay the full tuition. We were also offered places at schools with "free" tuition and some were even offering free room and board. Subsequently all of this changed, as we know.

My first question is this:

Have all the schools that opened their doors to Tulane students agreed to waive their Tuition? Are they willing to forego all tuition so that Tulane can survive or are some expecting to collect their normal tuition amount?

If they are not all offering to waive their tuition, then Tulane will only receive the differential. The point here is that I am trying to understand how much money we are talking about. Some students didn't enroll in other universities so Tulane will not benefit from their tuition this semester. Their tuition will be rolled over to the spring or refunded if they withdraw. Some students who are at other universities will withdraw and Tulane will have to refund their entire tuition. Perhaps (and this is a large part of the question) some private colleges or universities will charge their full normal tuition and Tulane won't benefit at all.

This whole tuition issue has created a lot of bad feelings. I want to understand how much tuition money Tulane collects in one semester and then of that amount how much they will actually retain for the current semester after the other schools are paid and they borrow from the tuition for the spring semester. Crediting your tuition to the spring is in fact borrowing from future revenues ( tuition will decrease next spring).

My second question is:

Has any parent actually talked to the administration since they arrived in Houston? When I watched Scott Cowen on CNN last night he told them that people weren't calling to complain about the new policy. My understanding is that there is no way to call them. Has anyone managed to reach them?


Maybe some of you business majors would like to think about the first issue.

9:24 AM  
Blogger RealityCheck said...

At 8:50 AM "A Displaced Tulane Freshman" wrote:

"I've refused to post until now, but how can those attacking Brett be taken seriously when they refuse to have their names out their like he does? It is really easy to post as anonymous, hey I am doing it right now. I am sure some of you negative people constantly post as anonymous simply to make it look like more people disagree. You might disagree with how he is taking the situation but this is his site, when you have the balls to do something similar with your name on it maybe you can stop getting in a frenzy and attacking him from your computer chair."

Welcome to the real world kid. I'm really not trying to say that in a mean way, but I've been involved in various forms of on-line communication since before you were born. While its nice to have everyone put their name down, unforunately that stifles pure thought and discussion because of the vicarious liable and slander laws in our country.

It is the way it is. I'd like everyone to put their name down too, but the reality is its not going to happen. Like flooding and hurricanes, learn to live with it.

9:43 AM  
Anonymous TUluv07 said...

how many of you actually know brett? from someone who does... you have no right to attack him! If you were tulane students you would know how hard he works and what a driven individual he is. Even while he is still a student, he runs a prosperous entertainment company. And now, he's adding a relief foundation. A LOT OF WORK! give him a break, this site is really just for students in its origination, please keep it that way because we honestly dont care about what everyone else thinks about Tulane especially if you dont go there.

10:20 AM  
Anonymous Financial Analysis said...

Looking at this whole issue from the side of the school is very disturbing. In some cases they get the tuition but in others they have to return it or credit it to the spring. Essentially you could call it either prepaid tuition or interest free debt. Whichever you call it though cash flow to the school is going to be less come spring than in the past.

10:20 AM  
Blogger Brett Hyman said...

Dear Realitycheck,

What is wrong with you? Can you not spare me the respect that I probably deserve? Saying "welcome to the real world, kid" makes you sound so arrogant and vain. Get off this site and stop wasting everyone's time with your postings. Seriously, if you disagree so much then go back to your site (in which your prose sounds more like a student that mine). No one's gonna read or admire a site that's filled with belligerantly hateful content. I'm sorry you hate tulane so much, it makes me sad to see that this situation has turned you off. But really, no one cares anymore. If you care about anything realitycheck has been saying, please comment so we can tell him or her to come back

PS- What did I ever do to you? Stop writing about me.

PPS- Do you have a life? You post more than anyone. For someone who seems to hate Tulane, you sure like to talk about it.

10:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love Tulane... the students, the academic opportunities, the faculty and the general Tulane environment. However, I consider the university's response to the tuition issue disgraceful to Tulane's reputation and stature.

I would have been more than comfortable with the administration keeping half the fall tuition, and requesting that families donate at least some percentage of the remaining half to relief efforts or to Tulane itself. If the university itself had not encouraged students to find alternate academic opportunities for the fall, perhaps I would look at this differently. But the emergency website held a post shortly after school was cancelled for the fall semester asking that students enroll in any of the universities tied to the three consortiums/organizations. So I did.

Now I'm being punished for it. Like many Tulane students, my tuition is paid for by a combination of scholarships, loans, and parental contributions. To me, it is fundamentally illegal that Tulane is taking the federally funded loans and scholarships I recieve, when they are not educating me this fall. That money should go to the institution I am attending, an institution that has showed remarkable generosity in opening its doors wide to any students displaced by Hurricane Katrina. This is an enormous financial and institutional stress, but the school (Georgia State University in Atlanta, GA) deserves to be commended and rewarded, not punished. Despite my agreement to give them what financial aid I was recieving for the fall, I cannot do so, because Tulane has already taken it.

I am not the least bit satisfied with the Tulane I know. I had just transferred in this summer, and I was very excited about the opportunities and experiences awaiting me. Now I am confused. The warm, welcoming, energetic community that I associate with Tulane does not resemble this dishonorable, distant, and inaccesible university in exile.

Tulane is the largest private employed in New Orleans, if not Louisiana. This emplies enormous economic obligations, not just to its employees, but also to the city of New Orleans, and now to all the communities that have taken in evacuees. Their desire to continue giving their employees full pay and benefits is commendable. The Sheraton and Marriott hotels are doing the same thing. However, the Sheraton and Marriott aren't charging guests who had reserved rooms for the period of time when neither the city nor the hotels will be open. They are not charging for a service they are not providing.

My family paid for me to attend Tulane University, to be instructed by Tulane faculty, and to recieve the level of education and resources for which Tulane is known. This is not being provided. I understand that as Katrina was the largest, and most destructive, natural disaster to hit the US in my lifetime, as well as the lifetimes of my parents. Such a disaster cries out for sacrifices. I am more than willing to give my time, money, and services (I've been donating babysitting time to families displaced to the Atlanta area). What I find distasteful and unacceptable is Tulane taking donations by fiat. So many people along the gulf coast have suffered enormously. Why is Tulane being so greedy? If I heard that they were planning to donate fall tuition money I would feel differently. But I have not heard that. What I have heard is arrogance, mild deception, and a serious lack of faith in the students of Tulane and their families.

Interestingly enough, the media has not been covering this, or similar issues, much at all. Quite frankly, I prefer this, at least as long as it is so difficult to gather opinions that are not offered under the shield of internet anonymity (I sometimes wonder how many of these flamers actually are associated with Tulane at all, and whether they honestly care what a solitary online blog says about them.). However, that preference is changing slightly. I realize that the most "news-worthy" items these days are full of shock value and emotion as opposed to patience and reason. That's to be expected. But often institutions of higher education are allowed to run rough shod over their students, families, faculty and staff because no one wants to bring in the uncouth eye of the media.

Thursday evening I will email out a letter to the editor, as well as a seperate letter to the news department, of the following papers:

New York Times, Houston Chronicle, Richmond Times Dispatch, Houston Tribune, Dallas Morning News, Dallas Star-Telegram, Baton Rouge Advocate, Lafayette Advertiser, Atlanta Journal Constitution, Washington Post, Washington Times and other newspapers in the effected states.

If anyone else would like to write a letter/email as well, or co-sign a letter/email, feel free to email me at: erm2003@gmail.com

10:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a junior at Tulane and have loved every minute of the time I was fortunate enough to spend there. New Orleans is much more than a second home, and I am returning to it as soon as I possibly can. This situation is absolutely devastating to so many people including the thousands of displaced students from Tulane and the New Orleans area. Instead of dwelling on the monetary concerns that plague us all, it is much more beneficial to concentrate on the reasons that we love the school and the city so much and the reasons we want to return. No, it won't be the same city when we return but I am willing to stick with it in order to return it to the wonderful place that we all remember.

10:52 AM  
Blogger dh3ma said...

Brett - I am a student at Tulane. I agree that things should be kept positive but would have to agree that the parents on this forum have been more mature than you. You truly embarass the university Brett by backing Scott Cowen as President. He tries to put the liability on students and then labels it as the "morally" right thing to do. I'm sure if both your parents work, you can overlook one semesters tuition, but not everyone's parents work. Grow up, please. People don't like whiny jackasses that are trying to exploit a disaster.

10:53 AM  
Anonymous Karen C. said...

I'm glad my parents raised me to believe in the importance of people, their safety and well-being above money. With such anger and self-entitlement, it's no wonder consumerism is an all time high; how else can we solve our problems if not to buy our way through it?

Parents and Tulane Students alike, take something into consideration: you or your child were/was most likely not one of those whose entire lives were washed away in that flood. They didn't drown in their attics. They didn't get stuck for days in the Superdome. They didn't swim in the flood waters. If they did, I'm sure you're grateful they're alive.

How important is money now?

Believe me, I've got only up to double digits in my bank account. My family has stacks of hospital bills and has put four children through college. We're not rolling in the dough, and yet my biggest concern is the welfare of my fellow students and the New Orleans community as a whole.

Thanks, Mom and Dad, for giving me something to care about other than dollar signs.

10:54 AM  
Anonymous Chuc said...

Everyone has their opinions and feelings of what to do with tuition for the Fall semester at Tulane University. Some people don't want to pay for something they aren't getting and others have no problem with making the payment to an institution not directly serving them. Thats just how things are working.

Now Cowen, as stated in the FAQ, has said that he expects all of us who have attended another University this semester to pay our tuition to Tulane anyway. As I said before, some people are okay with this and as many or more aren't. This is where you have to consider where that money is going to be headed.

I have conducted no poll, but I would assume that approximately 5000 students have decided to attend classes at another University. It may be many more, or it may be many fewer students. Now in Cowen's ideal world, all 5000 (or whatever the number turns out to be) of us students and their parents will be paying tuition at Tulane's rate, to Tulane. Problem is getting 5000 of us to agree on that. It is very obvious from this site alone that most, or atleast many of us, do not agree with Cowen's decision.

The result is going to be a multitude of lawsuits (perhaps thousands) which, invidually, will cost the University thousands or even millions of dollars in attorney and court related fees. Where is this money coming from? Probably tuition. We don't know how the judges would decide, for or against the school. But regardless it will cost a lot of money, and all that tuition we paid for the fall semester would have essentially accomplished nothing.

What the administration should do is rethink the initial tuition policy to make the most efficient use tuition. They must consider the cost of enforcement of payments at a certain value, retention of students at a certain value and even the reputation they will earn at a certain value.

In my personal opinion they should do things much differently than the current plan outlines. Not because I want to get out of paying Tulane tuition for one semester, but because I think it will cost them more money and reputation to enforce the full tuition plan.

What should they do? I don't know but maybe they could charge students the rate the visiting institution would have charged. Maybe charge students one-quarter of a semester's tuition. This will account for the fact that if they just charged $4000, there would be a number of parents to complain that they pay less than that anyway, through scholarships and financial aid.

This would be much less money paid by the students from tuition, but they can expect lowered court costs, they will have saved face. They could also look to the government for money, and perhaps increase donations and perhaps the endowment as a whole.



None of this is fact, but purely a rough opinion at what I feel the school needs to take into consideration before trying to charge everyone for Tulane tuition without receiving anything from the Institution.

Chuck

11:01 AM  
Blogger dh3ma said...

If they donated the fall tuition, I would still feel the same. It is my money and I am paying the rate of the education at the University of Virginia. It is my money: they do not have the power to decide what to do with it when they do not do ANYTHING to deserve payment (billing for a service that hasn't been rendered). Every lawyer I've talked to and have seen quoted thinks Tulane has setup the tuition policy improperly and that their will be massive lawsuits against the instituion that will potentially cripple it. I do not want to sue. I am writing media and Tulane to convince them that they should reverse their course for the sake of keeping their good reputation.

11:08 AM  
Blogger emilyfaye said...

brett-

if you want this forum to serve the tulane community, then it might be important to remember that everyone who has responded to your blog is a member of that community. if you don't like what some of these people are saying, delete it. this is, after all, your blog and you can do what you want. but it's getting harder and harder to belive this martyrdom business. either censor people or don't. there's nothing wrong with a percy weasly; he gets all the attention from all the people he wants. but don't expect a whole lot of adoration from people who are pissed off and have an entirely different perspective.

also, if this is so upsetting to you personally, maybe it would be best to remove yourself from the editorial position on this blog. you could still include the helpful information you are receiving, but would not have to charge yourself with the arduous task of deciding whose posts are acceptable.

11:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Brett,
COngraualtions, your whiny, suck-up comments have finally made me realize your blogspot is only to be a cheerleader for Tuane and probably enhance your own career. Because I don't believe in censorship, I will no longer access this blogspot. While I can certainly understand the students anguish at the alteration in thier plans I would like to see some maturity from the students as well as the parents. Thoughtless cheerleading without anaylsis of the situation for Dr. Cowen and Tulane does not indicate to me that you have moved past your dissapointment and are now helping your parents out with the tuition problem (do any of you out there actully earn any of the money for tyour tuition? you see really clueless and spoiled)and the reality that NOLA may not be environmentally able to open in the Spring. WHat happens then? More hysterical blaming of the parents? I would like to see some thoughtful discussion by the studnts that theygrasp the seriousness of the situation.

11:14 AM  
Anonymous Dean said...

Brett - you need to get off Cowen's bandwagon. He is a sinking ship. I'm wondering if he has pictures of you in compromising situations that could affect your admission to law school. So what if he attended one of your frat meetings or you had a drink with him at Hillel. The guy is a liability in higher education today. He has gone from a college president to a pariah in a few weeks. I'm sure he's getting stroked by the Board and his underlings at the Houston hotel, but those of us outside the Tulane environment think he's the higher education fool of the century. He'll be back in the classroom at some midwestern 4th tier school before you can say, "roll wave". You have a life and career ahead of you, Brett. Move on or you'll forever be associated with one of the biggest bone headed moves in the history of higher education.

11:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm going to drop out of the school I'm going to now because my parents are very upset and don't have the financial means to pay full tuition for this semester. I love Tulane and want to go back! I'll just forget that I don't like what they're doing now and remember what I like about the school. I think the parents complaining about this are being fairly reasonable. Tulane should hear their feedback.

11:19 AM  
Anonymous befuddled in va said...

I am related to a key member of the Tulane administration and could not speak with them even if I wanted to, communications are that bad. Nor would I want to tell them what to do. I trusted that what they would do would make good buiness sense, and be fair. I do think that, so far, the policy misses on both counts. I do think that there is time to sort this out.

I've talked to dozens of people, including students, non-students, faculty and administrators here (not TU), parents, business people, volunteers -- not one has expressed an understanding of Tulane's position.

Why? It just doesn't pass the logic test.

But, it is what it is.

11:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the student who posted at 10:49:

Thursday evening I will email out a letter to the editor, as well as a seperate letter to the news department, of the following papers:

New York Times, Houston Chronicle, Richmond Times Dispatch, Houston Tribune, Dallas Morning News, Dallas Star-Telegram, Baton Rouge Advocate, Lafayette Advertiser, Atlanta Journal Constitution, Washington Post, Washington Times and other newspapers in the effected states.


Kudos to you !! I thank you.

11:26 AM  
Anonymous es said...

"It is my money and I am paying the rate of the education at the University of Virginia."

For the record, UVA is not charging any tuition to Tulane students. They are working under the guidelines that Tulane has set forth.

I don't agree with the policy Tulane has set up, but those are the FACTS.

As an alternative, you can visit http://pelican83.blogspot.com/ for rational discussion and factual information.

11:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One more time...no one is keeping your money. You cannot sue for money the school has offered to return to you. All you need to do is send a letter to Houston withdrawing for the term. They gave you 2 weeks to do it. Or follow Brett's example and take the semester off so you can get "what you paid for" in the spring. If you don't want to come back, fine. If you do, reapply in the spring. There are tradeoffs here...make yours and MOVE ON. No one is giving you a semester worth of transfer credits for $2000, and no one is legally required to do so. Think that's wrong? Well, you have an out now, so use it.

11:37 AM  
Anonymous es said...

"The web site wasn't the gov site just Gov Computer News."

Exactly. You made my point.

11:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"...make yours and MOVE ON. No one is giving you a semester worth of transfer credits for $2000, and no one is legally required to do so. Think that's wrong? Well, you have an out now, so use it. "

how do you know they won't an out? It's just a stupid policy. If they don't change it people will MOVE ON and it will hurt the university more than losing tuition money.

11:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"If they don't change it people will MOVE ON and it will hurt the university more than losing tuition money."

You might be right, but realistically, I suspect you aren't. People talk a good game, but in the end most will probably accept it or take a semester off. Especially now that Tulane has offered to refund any overpayment, most people will lose the rationale that they are "out" money, which I think was probably the most powerful incentive to withdraw. While this seems like the biggest issue in the world right now to some people, 6 months from now, right or wrong, not many will remember or care.

11:55 AM  
Anonymous daniel said...

I recieved an email from the CNN producer today, saying that she did not know if they would now run the story, 'due to all the breaking news they are covering this week.' It seems maybe she realized that there sensationalit journalism would not go over well in this case. Thanks to Mr. Steven Herman and everyone else who emailed her to make a point that everyone wasnt furious.

11:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just in..........Was just told by the bursar's office at LSU that UNO is refunding all money to students for the books they purchased prior to the hurricane. What is Tulane's book refund policy?

12:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Consider adding to that list the "hometown" papers of Universities that are acting as host schools. Then you will be reaching the people who ARE providing the services and hospitality, who likely KNOW all sides of the issue, and as PEERS are most likely to have influence with the leadership at Tulane.

Outside of Texas and LA, I believe that UVA is the largest host. The Charlottesville Daily Progress ought to be on your list.

If you publish in the hometowns of the largest host schools, that would be the most effective. Your post is well written.

12:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Personally, I think that whole CNN post was a phony ruse.

12:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

11:37 you said :

One more time...no one is keeping your money. You cannot sue for money the school has offered to return to you. All you need to do is send a letter to Houston withdrawing for the term. They gave you 2 weeks to do it. Or follow Brett's example and take the semester off so you can get "what you paid for" in the spring. If you don't want to come back, fine. If you do, reapply in the spring. There are tradeoffs here...make yours and MOVE ON. No one is giving you a semester worth of transfer credits for $2000, and no one is legally required to do so. Think that's wrong? Well, you have an out now, so use it.

Your arguement doesn't hold water. The school we had a contract with did not open it's doors. Therefore they should return our tuition. Why would we have to withdraw from something that's not open? The school didn't open, people went to other places and paid those schools for services ( or maybe they didn't go anywhere). Tulane should evaluate those transfer credits using the same standards they normally would. If they wanted to keep my money and apply it to the next semester I would be fine with that. Frankly it would create undo hardship for me personally to withdraw. (senior, etc)

12:19 PM  
Anonymous LongLiveTheWave06 said...

I'm not a business major but since money is the main discussion piece of the recent week, I'm going to try to put this in perspective.

Since the Tulane website is still down, I've gone to the Princeton Review site for my facts.

There 11,945 students enrolled as undergrads and graduates, each paying $28,900 in tuition alone each year, or $14,450 each semester. When you add student fees and such, it's more like $16,000 each semester.

This means that Tulane brings in around $191 MILLION in tuition and fees each semester. Granted many students receive need and merit based aid, and maybe that number falls to $170 MILLION after all aid has been dispensed. I'm not a cheerleader of Tulane, but from a purely business standpoint, no one can expect to survive if you lose $170 MILLION in expected revenue over a four month period.

If we want Tulane to survive, to be able to pay faculty and staff so that they return in the spring, and have sufficient funds to operate and repair the damage, we cannot expect them to hand over $191 MILLION in tuition and scholarships.

While other schools are being extremely generous to us, and you're free to donate however much you can afford, it doesn't cost that much to have an extra 20 or even 50 students study at your university for the fall. Professors don't charge more to teach if there are 30 students in their class as opposed to the usual 28.

We do have to be realistic and understand that if Tulane hopes to be viable for the future, a loss of an entire semester's tuition would cripple any university. There is no insurance policy to cover such a dramatic loss and we cannot expect Tulane to survive if we sue them or expect full refunds.

I want Tulane to live for a long, long time and I hope most of you share my sentiments. We are all taking a financial hit, and the University is taking an even greater one, even with keeping our tuition so that we may someday hang a proud Tulane degree on our wall.

12:23 PM  
Blogger tulanemaine said...

Thankyou Brett for working to keep folks connected and positive. I am a Tulane parent, and my daughter and her roommate were there for a week before the storm. They were lucky enough to evacuate safely and now I am just thankful that they are safe and home, and that they have a place to go this semester. I am saddened by many of the comments posted on your site. Don't these people realize that this is not "business as usual" and that many many people lost their homes, their livelihoods, their friends, their family? So much worse than a semester.. Where is perspective? Life throws curve balls. Tulane students and all New Orleans folks who live through this will be changed, and hopefully come out stronger and more compassionate. Keep hope alive..

12:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The school didn't open, people went to other places and paid those schools for services ( or maybe they didn't go anywhere). Tulane should evaluate those transfer credits using the same standards they normally would. If they wanted to keep my money and apply it to the next semester I would be fine with that."

First, people that didn't go anywhere ARE getting their money back. Those that overpaid are ALSO getting refunded.

The "contract" that you refer could not be kept due to our nation's largest natural disaster--so some new arrangement has to be made. Now you have a chance to decide whether you accept it or not. Tradeoffs will be involved, for you and for the university, but no one has the obligation to protect you from having to make hard decisions.

12:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am concerned about the future viability of the Tulane degree amidst all this chaos. Could someone knowledgeable in this area, give us some sound advice? I don't want to hear rants about "keep tulane alive...or long live scott cowen". I just want fact-based opinions from someone in the know. Do you think the Tulane degree will be devalued by this catastrophe? Do you think the long-term effects on Tulane's national rankings will affect our degrees? I admit, it's a pretty selfish question, but aren't we all paying the big bucks for degrees that will be worth something at the end of it? I'd just like to hear some informative discourse--and please, if you're going to blast me for disloyalty etc. Save it. I love Tulane (there, I said it) So, someone please tell me the truth.

12:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the biggest issue will be whether the school is able to retain the faculty, many of whom obviously lost everything. Also important is how financially stable the school will be going forward. A big part of the prestige is Tulane's research capabilties,etc. which require a lot of money. If the institution emerges financially sound and with the faculty largely intact, I am not sure why this would affect its reputation. Other than employers will probably incessantly ask students if they were "there for the storm" in interviews...=)

1:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brett:

You are one goofy dude.

I am an independent Junior who is LMAO at your comments to parents. HERE'S EXACTLY WHAT YO SAID, BRETT!!!

"Talk it over with your parents. Make sure they are willing to spend in the upwards of 40k for you to have this semester. If not, I still advocate getting a cool internship or working somewhere productive."

Now you say parents should not be involved in this process... get real man. What teen has this kind of money? It all come from parents, loans, grants, and financial aid.

You want to "pretend" you have some sort of inside angle on everything that's going on, NOT...

btw... speaking of misinformation, where in the world did you get a $40K semester from?

And you should thank the parents for visiting your lame site, dude. If the parents didn't make posts here you would prolly be posting to yourself LOL...

1:11 PM  
Blogger RealityCheck said...

Brett Hyman said:

Dear Realitycheck,

What is wrong with you? Can you not spare me the respect that I probably deserve? Saying "welcome to the real world, kid" makes you sound so arrogant and vain. Get off this site and stop wasting everyone's time with your postings. Seriously, if you disagree so much then go back to your site (in which your prose sounds more like a student that mine). No one's gonna read or admire a site that's filled with belligerantly hateful content. I'm sorry you hate tulane so much, it makes me sad to see that this situation has turned you off. But really, no one cares anymore. If you care about anything realitycheck has been saying, please comment so we can tell him or her to come back

PS- What did I ever do to you? Stop writing about me.


PPS- Do you have a life? You post more than anyone. For someone who seems to hate Tulane, you sure like to talk about it.


This is from the person who posted this on his own web blog, and who has said:
"The purpose of this blog is to allow everyone to coordinate information about damage to uptown, news about Tulane, and pictures of property. I will try to update everyday, but I rely on all of you to keep this site filled with content. Until then, safe travels and good luck. Please keep these forums filled with positive remarks about our beloved city."

It seems like my web blog (http://tulanerealitycheck.blogspot.com/)is the only one with a fair and balanced discussion of the issues. Apparently Brett Hyman is a hypocrite. That is not a personal attack, but a factual observation from his own postings. I don't know Brett, nor do I care to, and I certainly don't have anything against him personally. I disagree (as do others) with what I believe to be his blatant cheerleading of an administration that is failing its community, and will eventually drive our cherished school to ruin. That's my opinion, and if you don't like it you can just pass my posts by, or ignore my site. Or, when I post on this site, then Brett can choose his right of censorship and delete my posts. His choice.

1:16 PM  
Blogger Brett Hyman said...

Those of you who attacked me with no substantive argument: at least give me something to respond to. Do you think I'm bothered by people making personal attacks against me or my posts? These posts are what I think, these comments are what others think, and stop criticizing others for beliving in the institution. You can attack me all you want but we are here to stay and so is tulane.

brett hyman

(posting from a different computer)

1:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I urge you to read this descriptive account from a Tulane freshman. Only 18 and more maturity than many adults.

//http://www.courant.com/news/opinion/op_ed/hc-freshsennett0910.artsep10,0,4774098.story?coll=hc-headlines-oped

1:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I disagree (as do others) with what I believe to be his blatant cheerleading of an administration that is failing its community, and will eventually drive our cherished school to ruin."

"OUR CHERISHED SCHOOL"??? You were there, what, 4 hours???

Give Brett a break. At least he has more than 4 hours experience with Tulane.

1:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I feel the Tulane degree has already been devalued largely due to Scott Cowen's shortsightedness. I am a professor at an accredited institution in the Western US and I can tell you, my colleagues and I are dismayed at what has happenend at your institution. It is almost like the Keystone Kops are running the show. Scott Cowen is the biggest joke in higher education today. For someone with a business background, Cowen blew it big time. He doesn't seem to understand that the mission of the institution centers on the students - without students, there is no faculty or no staff and certainly no Cowen prancing around as the big time president. Immediately he should have promised full refunds or credits to everyone. He should have also addressed the small, but important textbook issue and authorized refunds when campus opened. Instead he sat back and played footsies with the good ol' boys at the accrediting bodies. If these financial decisions meant closing down until next fall, so be it. Cowen has created so much chaos now, nothing will be able to stop the devisevness. As students and parents you should demand that he be removed from any decision making position immediately and find someone with strong leadership skills to represent Tulane until this crisis passes. As far as the reputation of the degree and the school's future - that's a tough call, but it's something I wouldn't chance if I was a student or parent. Get out while you can even if it means another year to complete your degree.

1:37 PM  
Blogger RealityCheck said...

At 1:36 PM Anonymous said...

"OUR CHERISHED SCHOOL"??? You were there, what, 4 hours???

Give Brett a break. At least he has more than 4 hours experience with Tulane.


Just a correction. I'm an alumni. I lived there for 4 years and met my wife there. Tulane and New Orleans are as much a part of my family and myself as they are to any student.

1:43 PM  
Blogger A Displaced Tulane Freshman said...

Honestly RealityCheck why are you still here? All you have done is plugged your site and talked about how you dislike everything positive said here. If people want to here what you say they will go to your blog, you've linked it here enough.

1:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope the Tulane degree hasn't been devalued because of this! Cowen has only been president for three years. I don't think his decisions regarding tuition are truly representative of Tulane. I hope they aren't. I imagine leadership will change eventually and people won't judge the school by one president or administration.

1:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dr. Cowan-

Why are you more focused on communicating with employees and staff b4 students? You said your main focus is getting your payroll system up and running, and securing the services of staff members.

What are you thinking, idiot. Without students both of these "problems" would me obsolete. Without students there would be a payroll or staff.

I suggest you reorganize your priorities and place students as #1.

I really wish you and your entire administration was given A VOTE OF NO CONFIDENCE.

1:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Lord! I am a concerned, finacially-strapped parent, too, paying thousands of dollars in extra expenses.

Concern and constructive comments are fine, but you people are like a lynch mob.

Go ahead - rant, rave, complain, threaten. God forbid calm, rational, communication with the Administration take place.

Yes, they are trying to make sure next year's freshman still come to Tulane. Yes, they want to make sure they have a faculty to teach students and personnel to keep the school running. Yes, they want to be able to pay for electricity, etc.

If they don't, your child might not have a university any longer. Is that truly what you want?

2:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I hope the Tulane degree hasn't been devalued because of this! Cowen has only been president for three years."

Try eight years.

2:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Last week a Tulane Recruiter came to our town and asked my daughter, who had only actually spent 3 hours there as a incoming freshman, to come and help her promote Tulane. My daughter said sure and went hoping to get some new information. When she asked the recruiter how the new freshman class was going she said, "we had 20,000 applicants last year, so we are sure we will be able to recruit a full class for 2006." She said they only expected to lose "the best" freshman students in the Spring Semester. Then she went on to say that they would probably have to offer less scholarships and finacial aid because of their financial situation.
So based on this information I think we can read between the lines that Tulane WILL go on. The question is what will be the quality? I think Tulane is counting on 2nd, 3rd and 4th years students returning. They are already commited to the school and know the Tulane experience. Plus transferring to a new school would be difficult when you are already on the degree track. The question is really if this years freshman class will return in the spring. I wonder if somehow the administration has written them off and is moving on. Just food for thought on why the administration is strangely alienating the very students it should be courting

By the way Brett, I think you have missed the value of your own blogsite. When there was no information coming from the administration, your site was a wonderful source of connection and information for EVERYONE. In a way the blogsite became bigger than you, yourself. You provided a very needed service to the WHOLE Tulane community and I for one thank you for it. However you recent censorship shows me you don't understand that by being a leader you are opening yourself up for critisim and you need to let some of it roll off your back. No one has a 100% approval rating and you should be proud of the vital role you are playing and let people vent on your site. Just because people have negative comments doesn't mean they don't care for Tulane. Just supporting Tulane without asking questions doesn't mean you love Tulane either. Honest discussion can only serve to make the University a better place.

2:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Why are you more focused on communicating with employees and staff b4 students? You said your main focus is getting your payroll system up and running, and securing the services of staff members. What are you thinking, idiot."

He is probably thinking that many faculty and staff have lost everything including their homes. That they need money now to find a place to stay and care for their families. Disagreeing with the administration is fair; suggesting that students' concerns in this situation are more important than those of faculty and staff is unbelievable.

3:05 PM  
Blogger Herman said...

In an ideal world there would have to be priorities. Ideally Tulane could magically take care of the problems of New Orleans, the students, and its employees immediately, but it can't. So, Cowen has to make some choices. What's most important to solve immediately for Tulane to exist, at all, first in the spring, then in a year, and finally in next 100 years?

The answer is Tulane employees. As a Tulane student I find no fault in making employees the top priority. There are several reasons to make employees the top priority.

First, although the majority of students left their "lives" behind in their dorms or off-campus housing, most of us don't live in New Orleans or the area affect by Hurrican Katrina. As students, with a few exception I'm sure, we have the luxury of a home to return to. This is the case whether both your parents are successful professionals or you have to work as a student to make ends meet. This luxury, no matter how strenous the financial burden this disaster has places on your family, stil leaves you with a roof over your head, a place to call home, food to eat, and the ability to rebuild your lives relatively easily.

Sadly, I am sure some, if not most, of Tulane's employees actually lost everything they own. Yes there probably is insurance, and I'm sure most Professors have family and friends to house them, but our problems as student pale in comparrison. And, this is not to mention the Tulane employees that work in Bruff, cleaning the dorms rooms, doing mantenance, etc. These individuals or their family members, god forbid, may have been some of those refugees stuck in the Superdome or the Convention Center. Think about that for a little, then consider Cowen priorities.

On this level, although you may not believe it is the best priority for Tulane's students, Tulane's future, or Tulane in general, it is hard to believe making employees the top priority is not the most humane decision.

If you disagree with my views on this, you truly are a member of the ME generation and not only aren't welcome in the Tulane community, but shouldn't be welcome in any community.

The second reasons to make employees the top priority is to ensure Tulane may return in the short term. Tulane is nothing without both its students and its professors. Although we may not like to face it and I'm sure Tulane is trying to avoid it, Tulane can exist with half its students. A institution of higher education cannot exist without high caliber Professors. Without the employees there is no Tulane, now and forever. Without some of its students, Tulane goes on.

Additionally, although Tulane cannot be entirely self-sufficient Tulane can, partially, stand alone. It would not be the same Tulane without the city, but it would be a Tulane. We need the city's water, we need the city's electriciy, we need the city to be safe interms of people's health. We, however, don't need Bourbon to be packed with tourists, we don't need Emerald's or the Brennan family restaurants, we don't need McDonals, RiteAid, Walmart, etc , etc. Tulane can make it work on the bare minimums of the city if it retains its employees to run Bruff (oh I'd hate to eat every meal in Bruff), to keep the campus running. Tulane can exist with a both its students and city at half capacity. Tulane cannot exist without both its Professors and employees, period.

My final reason to make the employees the top priority is Tulane's future. And, there is no future without a today. If the professors and employees aren't the priority now, there will be no priority tomorrow. If this isn't the top priority of Tulane, there might aswell not be priorities because there won't be a Tulane.

I wish I knew what would be the consequences of every possible option put before my by this disaster. What happens if I take take time off? What happens if I transfer? What happens if I am a part-time students? What happens if I go to state school? What happens if? There is no way to know, thats life.

3:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not all cases are the same.
Cost of Attendance is a term defined by the government, determined by the financial aid department, and used by almost every financial aid organization.

Consider scholarships. Funds have been deposited with Tulane for BOTH the first and second semester.

Books, room, board, books etc. besides tuition.

The student needs those funds to pay for those at the host institution for the first semester. Tulane already has both semesters on deposit.

One size does not fit all is the point. No peace will occur until a student by student analysis can be done within a reasonable framework.

I believe Tulane is working through the guidelines, but should allow some flexibility or appeals process, rather than simply deferring to the second semester.

Books and food. Students need those just like the employees on the payroll. Not meant as mean, simply that expense obligations are the same for employee's and students.

3:25 PM  
Anonymous tulane08 said...

just think of Fall's tuition as a big donation to get Tulane back on its' feet. you can probably write it off as a donation on your taxes.

3:26 PM  
Blogger emilyfaye said...

for students who want to continue studying but can't commit to being in one place for the next few months:

the alfred p. sloan foundation is organizing the sloan semester, a program that allows students affected by the hurricane to take online classes from more than 200 different colleges and universities for full credit at their home institutions. check them out at sloansemester.org. there is no cost to the program. course lists go up sept. 15th. classes start oct. 10 and end on or before jan. 6th. through this program those of us who want to volunteer in the gulf coast region don't have to fall behind with school.

3:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think what Herman said is total crap. I am a freshman, and when I was recruited I was told that the students are Tulane's top priority in any situation.

This is an example of what came first, the chicken r the egg? In this case it's the students that come first. I agree that the students must come first.

Tulane can hire all the professors it want, but without students what good are they. It's a simple case of supple and demand. We as students first supply the campus with our bodies, and then we demand professors accordingly. this is why students should come first.

However, I do understand that the Tulane staff have families and obligations and need to be employed. I blame Dr. Cowan for comparing the two priorities. He could have simply stated that employees and students were his to priority. Instead, he chose the wrong words.

Dr. Cowan and his administration is a joke. Hey Dr. Cowan, can I join you in Texas for one of those champagne dinners, or is that just for people like Brett?

3:29 PM  
Blogger emilyfaye said...

anon:

watch yourself. i don't think you understand the complexities of running a university. i'm sorry your freshman year has to be this awful, but there is no comparison between your current situation and that of our faculty and staff. when you do get to college, definitely take intro to microeconomics, as you clearly do not understand the law of supply and demand. as for the champagne dinners, i guarantee they are few and far between. be grateful for how unscathed you are in this whole thing. many of us have lost a lot, and many more have lost everything.

3:34 PM  
Blogger Herman said...

To the freshamn student. I agree it is partially a chicken and egg situation in the long run and in terms of the university's survival. However, the demand, as I see it is for good high caliber professors.

Being a freshman you havent sat around with your friends from home talking about your college experience. You'll find Tulane,(with some exception) has excellent professor and needs to keep them.

There is ample supply of students.

More importantly, what sets the employees apart from the students, and therefore makes them the top priority, is the employees, with some exceptions, NEED money and answers and everything they possibly can get NOW. As students, with some exceptions, we have time, there may be a WANT for our money and answers and everything now, but there is definitely not, and again there may be exceptions, an imperative NEED.

3:45 PM  
Anonymous Financial Analysis said...

If you are in your senior year at Tulane University you will return to Tulane when it reopens in the Spring. If they fail to open though, all bets are off. Transferring is really not an option at most schools because you need too many credit hours to be able to graduate in one year. If however you didn't get the courses you need this semester and you are in a great school with lower tuition you just might want to stay the extra semester --especially if this mess is going to throw you in summer school or add an extra semester at Tulane anyway. If that is the case it might be financially beneficial to you not to go back to Tulane.

If you are a sophomore or junior you have some choices. Everyone keeps talking about the Tulane experience. Is the Tulane experience really the same now as it was before hurricane Katrina? Is the city really the same? What about housing and then there are the unknown health concerns to factor in.

If you are a freshman, you don’t really know anyone at Tulane, you are now at a new school where you have made some great friends and if you are enjoying the school why would you go back to Tulane?

If I were the parent of a freshman, sophomore or even a junior I would ask myself if this school is financially stable. When I look closely at their new policy I see a school that is DESPERATE for our cash. I'm not talking about the whole tuition issue that has been going back and forth here but I am looking a little deeper.

For example :

Question 3: What if I am attending classes at another institution and I have not yet paid Tulane University tuition to Tulane?

If your host institution charged tuition and you are returning to Tulane University in the spring, you should pay your fall Tulane tuition no later than December 1, 2005. We will later take steps to ensure that your total expenditures for tuition ultimately will not exceed the sum of what you were supposed to have paid at Tulane for the fall semester.


Why if you hadn't paid your Tulane tuition would they expect you to pay twice? Why didn't they say that they would need to see proof that you paid the other school and then you should remit the difference to Tulane? They stated in their policy "it was never the intent of the guidelines to provide lower cost alternatives or impose an added financial burden on students; rather, their intent was to provide immediate relief, on a temporary basis, during this challenging period." Isn't paying your tuition twice an added financial burden? It's one thing if they have your money right now and the new school is demanding payment but in this case you pay the new school and then come December 1, 2005 ( by which time they should have their records and systems in order) they still want you to pay them the entire tuition??? Something doesn't smell right here and it's not the New Oreans water !!!

Also, they say that they will credit you for the spring tuition in many cases. Why don't they give you the option of getting that money back? I don't mean right now - or even next month but when they get their systems up and running. Are they that desperate for cash and if so -- WHY?

What happens in the spring when they have to pay the piper? My guess is that they will be requesting federal aid or taking on debt and I doubt there will be much in the way of financial aid for any student.Tulane will most likely become a rich kids school ( of course the rich kids families will be a little poorer now). There will probably be some big announcement that the school is in trouble because they borrowed from the future. I see increased tuiton coming, more debt, less financial aid, less diversity. Not a pretty picture in my opinion.

4:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For those of you who are pissed off at President Cowen and the tuition policy:

1. You have no legal recourse. You have the opportunity to withdraw and take your money back. You can also take the fall semester off and get your money back. You can validly gripe about switching costs, and how they prevent you from taking one of these options, but technically no one is stealing your money. By the way, don’t you think President Cowen would have consulted with the law school before he set up the tuition policy?

2. Those of you who say that you are in dire straits financially because of this decision are lying. This money is tuition you had planned on spending anyway.

3. Tulane’s reputation will not take a long-term hit. No one outside of the Tulane community really cares about this issue, which is why the media is covering it the way it has – as an “interesting dilemma” instead of a scandal. Why would prospective students care about what happens to your tuition anyway? Applications might be down slightly in the next year or two, but I haven’t read one convincing argument that the university will take a permanent hit from this.

4. President Cowen is not getting fired. The Tulane Board has strong confidence in him, as does a large majority of the Tulane community. Don’t you think he would have consulted with the Board in putting out this tuition policy?

I suspect that you realize how completely powerless you are to change this policy, or to inflict punishment on those responsible for it – which must be what makes you so mad. But the truth is that you are peons, as am I. Feel free to attack me and other posters if it makes you feel better, but all your hate and vitriol is good only for a few second read on an internet blog. Nothing more.

4:06 PM  
Blogger Herman said...

Generally I support and believe Tulane's tuition policy is far, but I did have some reserves about Question 3. And, I hope it is an issue that the TULANE ADMINISTRATION REVISITS.

I do not think, however, it indicates financial desperation, just a mistake or weaknness in a largely fair policy.

On other issues,
Tulane's unwillingness to dip into the Endowment fund (which may be partly impossible because of legal or logistical matters) is to ensure that it may continue being one of the most generous universities in the country when it comes to financial aid (need or merit based).

As to crediting spring tuition, this is both a logistical and financial answer. Logisitically, it probably wouldn't be possible to refund money in the form of checks until the Spring semester anyway. Financially, a dollar given to the Tulane in the form of tuition is not, for Tulane, equal to a dollar returned in the form a refund. This is an aspect of almost any service industry, especially education.

Take for example the dorms. If X dollars of a student tuition go toward housing, it does not cost Tulane X dollars that year to house the student. Part of the money Tulane spends to house students has already been spent in buying property, building the dorm, maintaining the dorm, etc.

Therefore, it is probably logistically and financially impossible to refund everyone tuition. Instead Tulane must offer the solution of deferring tuition until Spring, if the tuition is unused at another institution in the fall. For those who decide not to return to Tulane in the spring, tuition will be refunded in time.

4:21 PM  
Anonymous greenwave said...

Disregard if posted already, I didn't feel like reading through all of the posts since I just got back from my host University (the lovely University of Houston)



Uptown and several other New Orleans neighborhoods could be open for business as early as Monday. Nagin believes that they could have potable water as early as next week. Let the rebuilding of the school and the city begin!!

4:24 PM  
Anonymous meg said...

brett, i think you're absolutely right. the facts of the case are that we have all lost something in this disaster, be it a house, our possessions, or a sense of security. there will be plenty of time to argue over financial compensation when we are sure that our things are secure as well as our futures, and just for the record, i am a student who receives no aid or scholarship, and paid her bill in full.
this forum exists to share information and support. the most important thing for us as a unit is to stay strong and stay optimisitic. in light of this, there is very little room for those who feel that they are somehow owed something for having undergone this catastrophe. let me reiterate, to parents and students alike- we have all suffered. but few of us have suffered as much as the other residents of new orleans, or even the students of other universities.
as a side note, i do agree with dr. cowen's belief that tulane will open for spring, if for no other reason than the fact that tulane is in fact the largest employer in the city, and as such is vitally important to the recovery of the city's economy. yet whether or not we all attend classes together in january, the vitality of this blog illustrates the committment of the community to the university.
keep it up, brett.

4:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dr. Cowen and the administration:

Mayor Nagin feels the Uptown neighborhoods could be up and running on Monday. Please put this in your list of priorities:

Please make arrangements for security to be on campus to let us in to get our things. That will be one less headache that you will have to worry about. If the neighborhood is open, then we will all be over to get our stuff, so, be prepared!

4:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brett, I am the parent of a Tulane sophomore and I am trying to be patient and keep an open mind. My daughter LOVES Tulane and wants very much to return there as soon as possible. Our number one concern in her returning centers on health and safety. We will not let her return until WE are satisfied it is safe to go back and there is no lingering risk of disease. What upsets me the most is the administrations implied threat. If you attend another school this fall and do not return to Tulane in spring you will no longer be a Tulane student and will have to reapply. I greatly resent this. My family and my daughter should be the ones that decide if and when she should return. She shouldn't have to worry about being blackmailed by the university if we decide it's too soon to return. I think Tulane should be doing everything it can to encourage students to return whether it's spring semester, next year or whenever.

5:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Update: The call center number is, toll-free, 866-502-7264, or in Texas, 713-888-5008.

5:14 PM  
Anonymous Don Brown said...

Herman, not only is Tulane NOT going to touch the endowment, they apparently do not intend to touch any of their insurance claim settlements as well, opting to bank those assets instead of fairly sharing the burden of keeping Tulane afloat across the board. They also have two rebuilding donation sites up and running as well. And don't forget, they're currrently in their endowment fund drive (started before Katrina) that is expected to push the endowment over $1 Billion!
They are placing the financial onus squarely on the students and families. Isn't that WONDERFUL! Tulane's endowment could actually GROW from this calamity. Making money from the misery of others. But why should I expect anything else from this bunch of shysters? Read the following, it might wake a few people around here up.

http://www.detnews.com/2005/schools/0509/10/skuls-309689.htm

5:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don Brown, that could be why Cowen is so adamant about telling students there will be a Spring semester, whether there is or not. He needs their dollars to keep rolling in. I wouldn't be surprized at all if they didn't start up again until next fall.

5:30 PM  
Blogger Herman said...

One thing that confuses me about continued complaints of many in terms of the tuition issue, is that Tulane has made clear they will make every attempt to, in the end, make all students financially whole. Meaning, in the end, you wont have paid, as far as university costs (tuition and housing) go, more than you had originally planned to pay at Tulane.

As a studnet of Tulane, I hope Tulane doesn't touch the endowment and continue to ensure that it grows larger, despite this disaster.

And, unless you have some sort of inside information, I am not sure how you say anything of Tulane's intention to execute insurance policies. I would, however, be willing to guess that Tulane will use insurance to repair damages. Our tuition is need to pay employees, not to rebuild. If insurance money must be spent on paying employees, then there isn't money to do repairs and the school wouldnt be ready to take students in the spring. And I know most of Tulane wants to be back in the spring.

To the 5:11 post: If your daughter chooses to take a semester off and not return in the spring, I doubt her status as a Tulane student would be in jeopardy. There are reasons students require to take a semester off that are acceptable and allow them to continue as a Tulane student, I believe and hope this is one of them.

Tulane is saying that if you transfer to antoher college, thus becoming a student of that college, then you will have to be reaccepted to Tulane, just like any other student attempting to transfer from another college.

5:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Herman, that's fine. If you want to be a Cowen apologist, that's your choice. We're comparing apples and oranges here, but you don't seem to be able to grasp that. By NOT refunding tuition that we've already paid we have 3 choices. 1. Go to another College, in many cases a far inferior one and pay the SAME tuition as if we were getting educated at Tulane. Some students are getting charged TWICE ( I knowm they're not supossed to, but you see, Cowen changed the rules on the fly and many students have globs of money tied up in this semester). It'll all work out "later on" whenever the nebulous "later on" will be. You seem to think that's fair. I don't. 2. Take the semester off, graduate late, and HOPE that Tulane opens in the Spring, which in my opinion is VERY doubtful. WEANWHILE, Tulane has my money tied up for GOD knows how long, and 'ya know what? Some of us just can't afford that option. 3. Withdraw from Tulane and go some where else, EXCEPT the money you have tied up with Tulane and need to "move on" will be refunded to you in some yet to be identified time frame. Most Seniors want to graduate from Tulane. Therefore, we are subject to Cowen's demands and have no other choice but to wait this out. In the meantime, everyone else across the land is graduating, moving on and Tulane Seniors are STUCK in limbo until it's absolutely safe to return to NOLA, money gets returned etc. When that will be, no one, not even the fantastic Scott Cowen can know.
Now THOSE are some pretty shitty choices, don't you think? No, I guess you don't.

6:15 PM  
Blogger Herman said...

No, I do believe having limited choices is a bad situation, but the problem is this is just a bad situation no matter what anyone does. And, the options offered in this situation are the best and probably only options viable at this time. Take your pick. And, for those you continually insist they can't afford to incure the cost associated with attending another institution. Then you have little option but to take time off. Get a job, volunteer, use your time productively, if you use your time productively, no matter your situation, your losing nothing.

The real problem is even if they wanted to refund money, Tulane probably can't. Refunding money within a week, a month, maybe even several months is just not logistically possible. Access to records is probably limited, access to bank accounts is probably limited, the resources to process refund requests then issue refunds is none existent.

I really do understand that some people can't afford to have this money tied up in limbo. That is a legitimate problem, and something I am sure Tulane wishes they could resolve. It however, at this time is not possible.

Tulane doesn't keep refering to a "later date" for the fun of it, its just a reality that some of these problems can't be resolved until a "later date". And, when your unsure of when you will be able to get something done (there are many uncertainties in this situation out of Tulane control), then its not wise to offer an arbitary, possibly inaccurate, time frame.

These are your options, you may not like them, it may be strenous for whatever reason, but these are still your options.

6:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Herman, if we choose not to send my daughter back to Tulane for spring semester and send her to a local school Tulane is going to drop her as a Tulane student. In order to attend Tulane again she would have to reapply. This is what has been posted on Tulane's web site. Do you think they're going to accept students that have "deserted Tulane in its time of need?" Is this fair in your opinion? In my opinion it's blackmail to make sure students return for the spring.

7:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is amazing to me that so many of you are not focused on the most important of issues - that being the impact of this disaster on the quality of the education that Tulane provides. As a parent of a Senior (yes at this point we feel stuck) I have been willing to fund the tuition and fees (which are exccessive) at this school as I have felt that my child was benefiting from the experience of being exposed to small classes made up of the top tier of students in the world. I have felt that my child was benefiting from being taught by quality professors. I have also felt that New Orleans offered the best this country has to offer as far as a cultural experience, one that cannot be duplicated in the US. HOW MUCH OF THIS IS LOST AS A RESULT OF THIS DISASTER. How much will Tulane have to lower its admission requirements to fill the freshman class of 2006? How many professors have been lost to other instituitons becasue they have decided that they will not live through this experience twice? What is the quality of the replacement? How much will they have to increase tuition or reduce financial aid in order to cover the lost revenue or increased cost of this crisis? The value of a Tulane diploma may be significantly lower today than it was on August 29. We may not want to admit it, but the ratings that Tulane recieves in the popular press (US News and World Reports) are significant when it comes to deciding where to send our children and our hard earned savings. I may find out that I have invested over $120,000 in a volkswagon when I thought I was buying a Mercedes.

7:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm really amazed at the short-sightedness and assumptions made by many. Do you really believe that Dr. Cowen is not getting input and advice from all professional levels? Do you honestly believe that the regents or board or whomever and not giving him direction. Do you think he's a king or something? And even kings have advisors. And the assumptions...I know I went to college a long time ago, and I went to a "state school", yes, one of "those"..but we were taught in business classes what oftened happened to us when we ventured to ASS-U-Me...Regardless of where your child is going to school..the credits are Tulane credits..do you think there's going to be an asterick by those classes on their transcripts or letters of reference??? Has any bureacracy you've ever experienced acted swiftly? What would you do, given all of the identical circumstances...oh, but wait...you don't know all of the circumstances..do you? That's why you're ASSUMING...

7:52 PM  
Blogger Herman said...

To 7:22... Sending your daughter to a local college is a decision your making. It isn't blackmail, its your decision. They are saying that student will have to reapply like any transfer student. And, I am sure they will let any student who could originally get into the University, back in, granted you have continued at an acceptable performance level. Additionally, I doubt they will label you as a "deserter," you have legitimate concerns. If I remember correctly you are afraid of health concerns. No one would hold that against you.

These are reasonable people, trying to make the best decisions, given the circumstances of a difficult situation, just like every parent, student, or faculty member.

8:17 PM  
Anonymous Don Brown said...

Like I said Herman, you're a Tulane cheerleader and wouldn't be at all surprized it your sole job is to monitor this blog and attempt to quell any criticism of Cowen or Tulane. Are you getting YOUR check from Tulane yet for services rendered?
One question about the tuition; if they're in the process of cutting checks for their employees, why does it suddenly become so difficult to cut refund checks to students? It's all coming out of the same pool of money. You're just making excuse after excuse to shield Tulane from ANY criticism and I'm starting to wonder who you actually are?
It seems plain to me that Tulane has no intention of refunding any student money until it's damned good and ready. By using the tuition money to pay it's bills now, it's suddenly occured to me that Tulane has no intention of opening in the Spring and will be using endowment money and insurance settlements to pay FUTURE bills for that period. It's not that they won't dip into those resources, just NOT YET. They'll need those funds for the Spring semester. So Cowen, KNOWING that Tulane will not be opening at all until the Fall of '06, at the very least, is stringing people along by offering a glimmer of hope that money will be refunded "sometime" and that there WILL BE a Spring semester, all the time knowing that Tulane is finished for at least a year's time. Reading between the lines here, that's the ONLY assumption one can make. Look, he's loathe to use Tulane tuition this fall for anything BUT paying employees. He KNOWS Tulane is not opening in the Spring, so he'll start using the endowment and insurance settlements at that time to keep the sham going until next Fall when MAYBE, just MAYBE they can finally open. How are all the Cowen apologists going to feel next Spring when he cancels classes for ANOTHER semester, and keeping your money (actually he won't keep it, it's already been spent paying employees) for another "as yet to be determined amount of time"? He's setting you up for more disappointment come Spring and how are you going to feel then? Please people, wake up and smell the coffee here. Cowen in using the Tulane student body to pull off what he HOPES is the scam of a lifetime. And some of you are just too blinded by "Tulane Love" to see it. Love and support to your institution is admirable, but you're all being played like a fiddle here and you're just too blinded by your love for Tulane to see it. Mark my words, there WILL BE NO Spring semester!

3:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Even if it does open in the spring, the city will still look and smell like a war zone, which is unprotected because of the extensive damage to the levee system and major highways.

5:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow. Tulane is blowing it, day by day, getting worse and worse. As an alum and parent of what was to have been a first year student, I am dumbfounded at the total lack of candor and communication from the administration. There are many many examples of how to handle these situations, from Tylenol recall to 9-11, and Tulane's administration seem not to have learned a thing. I am losing faith day by day, and believe that Tulane as an institution is destroyed. It won't come back for many years, and likely not at all, at least in any form or substance as it was before. Instead of communicating with the Tulane community, the administration has gone into the bunkers.

*******
Ditto, alum. I'm an alumnus, too and feel the same. Scott Cowen has failed the current students, their families and the loyal alumni. He might have been perceived as a good leader when things were going well - enrollment was up, demand for seats in each class were high, etc. However, he has been an embarrassment to Tulane this past month and I'm hoping the Trustees will see to it that he's replaced with someone with a strong ability to lead under these trying circumstances. I will not donate another nickel to Tulane as long as Scott Cowen is at the helm.

Note: Tulane will not open in the Spring. You are all being jacked around by Cowen who it is obviously cannot figure out which way is up. Think about it - how long will it take to sort out the safety issues? And that's after everything is dried out and cleaned up? Are they going to allow 15,000 students back in town before the residents? What about the damages (even though Scotty says there are minimal) going to take to repair? Are they going to be able to get a team of glass installers on campus in two weeks to repair everything? I know you all love Tulane as much as I do, but reality is reality. Don't be fooled by education's biggest fool today, Scott Cowen.

7:25 AM  
Anonymous Financial Analysis said...

Don Brown and all :

I agree with almost everything you said but I see it a little differently. I think that Scott Cowen intends to open school in the spring. As a matter of fact I think that he will push to open even it is isn't safe to do so. However, he has now realized the importance of a contingency plan. His contingency plan has one key objective:

>To maintain enough cash and financial resources to ensure continued operation of the university and also to insure that Moody's doesn't downgrade the university's $288 million in Moody's rated debt.

The way he is going to do this is:

(1) Keep every dollar of the fall tuition money that he possibly can.
(2) Roll over any money that he owes to students to spring semester this enables him to keep the funds and at the same time the students ( it's not going to be easy to get that check back from Tulane)


The point people are missing here is that spring tuition money is going to be a significantly less than it normally would be. This is a very important issue that is not really getting enough attention.

The reasons the tuition revenue is going to be less are:

>There are students who are not currently taking classes. I know of three students who decided not to go to school right now and as a parent I don't know many students at Tulane. Those students will not pay any tuition next semester. How big is this figure? Would 10% be reasonable?

>There are also students who will withdraw from Tulane. How many of the freshman class will not return?. How many students overall will withdraw from Tulane? This figure is a lot harder to estimate. Let's say it's 10%. (It could be 5 % but 20 % wouldn't surprise me either)

>Then there is the question of the other schools covering Tulane's tuition. I don't think that every school out there is given up their tuition dollars for Tulane. In addition, I think that in most cases the states are not allowed to give up their tuition. State laws are not that flexible --even in cases like this. The state schools must legally collect their tuition. Now granted, that tuition is substantially lower than what we pay but if you are an out of state student it’s a larger number. How much is this going to be credited to students accounts for money that has been paid to other schools? I would say that that figure is easily 20%. Does 20% seem reasonable?


So they may have the fall tuition money BUT can they stand this kind of a hit in the spring? What happens when the Spring revenue falls off by 20, 30, 40 % or more? This is why they didn't go out and borrow right away or tap into their endowment funds. If they had given everyone back their money and gone out and borrowed the funds necessary to hold them over until spring -- what would happen if they weren't able to open? What if they had to delay opening and students left and went elsewhere? The way they are doing this it buys them some time. They take the money now and then if they don't open they borrow or use their other funds. If they had done that right away would have lost the option of the tuition money.

Even if my estimates are off the point here is that they are going to have significantly lower revenue come spring. Now factor in that they are going to have a harder time attracting students and that there is going to be reduced financial aid available for students and probably an increase in the tuition.

This school is in very big trouble.

7:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good points. Here's another problem that's just beginning to surface that Mr. Cowen in all of his astute wisdom failed to realize. The "agreement" for tuition sharing with the other schools was a deal cooked up by the accrediting bodies and Tulane - a loose band of good ol' boys who account to no one. I heard some rumblings that some state legislators are not going to be too keen on giving away their potential tuition revenue to Tulane. Most state institutions are cash strapped as it is and I see a big battle here. Remember, Cowen has stated monies would be returned "when practical". When practical could mean after years of wrangling with other institutions, lawsuits, etc. This is a real mess and we thank you Scott Cowen.

8:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the "ananymous" poster at 4:06 PM who said, "Those of you who say that you are in dire straits financially because of this decision are lying. This money is tuition you had planned on spending anyway."
Watch who you're calling a liar, jackass! I'm paying tuition at TWO Universities now becuase Cowen changed the rules as he went along. I realize that these institutions aren't supposed to be charging tuition, BUT THEY ARE! Yes, Cowen has said this money will be credited for future tuition at Tulane, but NO timeline has been established for that credit. So, brainiac, I AM out over $15,000 at the moment that I ordinarily would have in my accounts. Not everyone has a rich mommy and daddy, and from what I deduce, you fall into that category that probably has no financial stake in this at all. This IS creating hardship for many people right now so keep your stupid, elite, gentrified comments to yourself.

8:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear 4:06 Poster; Well written, bravo!

Quiet simply your points may be well stated but that does not make a wrong action justified.

It was once said that a crisis brings out the best or worst in a leader. This time it has brought out the WORST.

I believe that Scott Cowen made a simple business decision somewhat akin to what big tobacco companies once did; preserve themselves and make money at any cost to society. It doesn't take a business genius to understand that keeping tuition money benefits the short term needs, but it is not the ethical and morally right action. Let's allow the courts decide on the legality. Some times making the right decision really hurts, really costs money and really seems hard.

Sure, Cowen is charismatic. Yes, Cowen is loved by the students. Correct, he paints his face green for football games. Absolutely he has a PhD in business and has grown the university endowment ... but Cowen will always be know for this singular bad decision.

Regardless of all of the advice, guidance and stress; He decided to proceed down this slippery slimy path. For that he will pay, maybe not now, maybe not in a couple of years, but in time...

9:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We are looking to get the ball rolling to oust Scott Cowen. We need your help...is there someone who can publish (this is public information) the names of the Board of Trustees on this site or on another blog? We would also like to see some sort of blog established related to this issue. Cowen needs to be removed as soon as possible. While another person in charge may not resolve issues to everyone's satisfaction, a change is imperative to set this sinking ship straight. If this was corporate America, Cowen would have been sent packing a week ago. Any suggestions?

9:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just called the call center. First I called the Texas number. The phone was answered by some girl who said that because the Tulane voice mailbox was full the calls were spilling over to her. Then I called the 800 number and got the following message. "Hello, you have reached the Tulane University student information center. Our call hours are ...Due to the high volume of calls your calls may not be returned. But please check the Tulane website at www.tulane.edu for furture information." Then you get a message that says that your message can't be delivered because the message box is full. LOL what a joke !

9:22 AM  
Blogger Herman said...

To all those calling for Cowens resignations or immediate tuition refunds, what do you propose should have been done? Everyone gets there money back? Where would that leave both the students and Tulane?

What are your answers to the problem?

9:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't have an answer but I do know that this wasn't the way to protect the schools future. It makes me very sad to think about what's going to happen here.

Sad for all concerned.

9:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bill and Melinda Gates have a foundation. Maybe they would like to step in and save the day here.

9:56 AM  
Anonymous rental information said...

I found this post on another blog :

List of things to bring when you go back:

For Rotting Food Fridge-Cleanup. All of these items can be obtained at any Wal-Mart:
1.Masks that cover your nose and mouth. (Hardware section). I got those thick paper ones but if you can find or afford something better, then buy it. I would buy more than one package of the paper masks since you may end up needing them.

2.Vicks VapoRub, or Mentholatum or something equally as powerful. You will need to smear this all over your upper lip as well as on the inside of the mask. Do this first!

3. Thin Latex Gloves like you would use for dyeing hair or food service. Get several pairs.

4.Kitchen gloves (the thick rubber kind). Put these on OVER the latex gloves. Get at least two pairs.

5.Plastic hair-caps (like for hair-processing) so hair will not hang in the rotted food sludge as well as to prevent the smell from sticking to it.

6.Contractor Bags (the 55-gallon-drum kind) The rotten food has to go somewhere.

7.Duct tape to make sure those bags are CLOSED!

8.Buckets. At least two. (One for cleaners and one for rinse-water)

9.Bleach. Lots of Bleach.

10.Spic 'N Span or Mr. Clean or some other highly-scented liquid cleaner. (do not recommend mixing with the bleach.)

11.SOS or Brillo pads to remove caked food scum. Good for sticky spots and wire shelves.

12.Several gallons of vinegar. You may want to place bowls full of vinegar around your house to absorb the stench from the air. You can also use it to clean the inside of the fridge between bleachings and cleanings.

13.Large sponges.

14.SOS scrub'n'toss or Scotch-Brite Green Scrubbies. Good for corners and tight spots. Works well with sponges.

15.Shop Towels. The thick blue kind. Regular paper towels won't cut it.

16.Swiffer-broom and Swiffer wet-cloths. Believe me, this stuff will drip on your floor and you will want to use something disposable to get it off.

17.Baking soda. After the first cleaning, I made a paste of baking soda and vinegar and left it on overnight. The next day I sponged it off and started over with bleach, then cleaner, SOS pads,then vinegar... again.

18.Lysol or Clorox spray disinfectant. Use it in the fridge. Use it in the air. Use it! You will need several cans.

19.Bug spray! (I had Bengal on hand.) The flies want to come in. They are everywhere.

20.Deep Woods Off or other bug repellent.

21.You may also want some Clorox wipes on hand for quick wipes of faucet handles and other surfaces that you may touch during this process.

If this seems like overkill, it isn't. I used all of the above, and the thing still smells. Be sure to leave it open to air out.

Hope this helps!

10:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Liz Farrell is a reporter from The Chronicle of Higher Education that would like to speak to any parents about the tuition situation with Tulane University. Her phone number is 202-466-1060. I spoke with her earlier for about 1/2 hour about my feelings with the current situation," the disaster in the City and questions I have about Tulane and the City of New Orleans."

Realitycheck posted this on his blog today--interesting that he didn't post it here. If you are NOT unhapppy with Tulane's position, Liz would like to hear from you. Please call her.

3:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In my humble opinion, don brown is the biggest idiot posting here. Despite your capital letters and your cock-sure certainty about not being open for the Spring semester, you are obviously entirely self-centered and couldn't give a squat about Tulane. Your histrionics serve no purpose.

For more level headed readers, I respectfully recommend that everyone read the Sept 9 livechat with Dr. Cowen, where he logically prognosticates about the future, including the Spring opening. Access this from the tulane.edu web site.

8:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

8:38 pm said:

In my humble opinion, don brown is the biggest idiot posting here. Despite your capital letters and your cock-sure certainty about not being open for the Spring semester, you are obviously entirely self-centered and couldn't give a squat about Tulane. Your histrionics serve no purpose.
For more level headed readers, I respectfully recommend that everyone read the Sept 9 livechat with Dr. Cowen, where he logically prognosticates about the future, including the Spring opening. Access this from the tulane.edu web site.



The live chat where 1,553 visitors joined Scott Cowen and posed a total of 1,879 questions? The one where concerned parents and students asked numerous questions about tuition policies, interruption insurance, financial aid etc. and President Cowen was able to answer 69 questions including where to buy football tickets, where to send your money and how to apply for the fall of 2006? Oh yeah that was a wonderful publics relations event.


Also, personal attacks are not welcome here.

9:58 PM  
Anonymous Don Brown said...

Hey, you're entitled to your opinion of me, believe me, I'm not that thin skinned and have been called worse.
Think what you will, but Dr. Cowen's "chat" answered nothing. In the absence of any real information from Tulane, some are offering best case scenarios, cheering the school on and showing their love for their Institution. I've said before that that's an admirable trait. However, I believe many are blinded by their love and are only looking at this situation through moon-eyed optimism and ignoring reality. Some of us prefer to look at things with a rational, critical eye and are offering our observations as an alternative. Some people don't want to hear anything negative, I guess I can understand that but as I've said, I prefer to live in a world of fact based reality. It's served we well over the years.
Apart from that, this will be my last post here because I'm heading to New Orleans to actually do what I can to help.
Best of luck to all, only time will tell how this turns out. Perhaps I've been wrong about my observations and in that case I'll offer a mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. I surely hope that I AM wrong, that Tulane DOES come back in a hurry and that everything turns out as rosy as all of you think it will.
If not.........

5:45 AM  
Anonymous Don Brown said...

P.S.
In case anyone's wondering who I am, wondering why I've been here shooting my mouth off and how I can take time off to go to New Orleans to help rebuild, I'm a 54 old, divorced male, the father of a Tulane student and retired. I guess that reality based world I inhabit must have paid off to some extent. To all, peace and best of luck.

5:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why is the call center mail box still full at this hour? Did anyone actually get through to the school yesterday ? I assume not since not one person has posted saying that they spoke to the school.

7:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No one should feel sympathy for parents who have paid tuition at two schools. These parents made a very poor decision when they shelled out thousands of dollars to other schools, in addition to the tuition already paid to Tulane. As we all know, there are scores of colleges and universities who have waived their tuitions to visiting Tulane students. If a parent still chose to pay additional tuition after this policy was announced, they depleted their bank accounts at their own risk – for even if Tulane was offering full refunds for the fall, refunds could not be expected to be sent out in the near-term. If the decision to pay for a second tuition was made before the free transfer policies were announced, which was only a few days after the storm, then these parents made a panicked decision without the appropriate information – never a good idea in any situation. I would think it would be obvious, but, as a general rule, people should never just start throwing thousands of dollars around unless they absolutely have to, which is decidedly not the case in this situation. For parents now claiming financial distress because of a second tuition, the decision to pay a second tuition is even more indefensible. In any case, these parents should not blame Scott Cowen because they are fucking retarded.

9:55 AM  
Blogger act2 said...

Dear Brett, I originally sent the letter below to the "asktu@tulane.edu" site before I found your blog. I hope that we all understand that people of all ages respond to stress and the threat of our personal security very differently. May all of us parents step back and take a deep breath- our kids are safe- what more could we ask? The rest will work itself out.- AT

"Dear President Cowen,

This is hardly a question as much as it is a huge Thank You for all your tireless work in getting Tulane (and the city of New Orleans no doubt) up and running. I know this has been a tremendous strain on you and your family. To press on in the face of adversity has proven to me that Tulane is the school where I want my son to spend the next 3 1/2 years.

To all of us parents and students concerned about the "stuff" in the dorms- I gladly remind myself every day that it is only "STUFF." An expense to replace I know, but nothing compared to the loss of our children had that happened. President Cowen, thank you for having an aggressive and well executed evacuation plan. We were told the day we checked in to make a hurricane evacuation plan with our student. In the early days of Katrina, we quickly came to realize that the simplicity of a plan such as "go to the airport and get out", would be a disaster in itself for a novice college student! Although many students were shuffled from place to place trying to escape the wrath of Katrina, the safety of these students, my son included, was always the paramount concern for the Tulane staff that accompanied these kids. Please commend ALL of the Tulane staff that traveled with the students to Jackson and then on to Houston and Atlanta. They will be forever in our debt for helping our son get home. "

Sincerely,

Anne
Freshman Mom

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