Transcript of President Cowen’s Audio Message – September 6, 2005

A full week has passed since Hurricane Katrina’s destruction began in New Orleans. We are finally beginning to see progress in the city’s recovery effort and that is encouraging. It is difficult for all of us to watch the painful images of New Orleans on national television. Yet, our team continues its work here in Houston, rebuilding the university’s IT and communications infrastructure, and beginning the physical recovery process on our campuses.

We are making significant progress on all fronts. Today, we issued a set of guidelines setting forth the university’s payment policies for employees. We thought long and hard about these policies. We did our best to minimize as much as possible the impact on you, your families and the university. Please review these guidelines posted on the website.

We now have communications that are improving by the hour and our IT infrastructure is now being reestablished. In fact, we received over 2000 emails to the address that opened yesterday. Because of the volume, we can only respond to them globally, by topic. Many of your
questions will be answered on our Tulane website. Please be patient. By the end of the week, we will have an administrative office and our emergency response team will move into apartments.

I have gotten numerous inquiries from students about their property on campus. When I left New Orleans last Thursday, most, if not all, of our buildings were secured and we have no reason to believe that this security has been compromised. Many of you are asking when you might be able to retrieve your personal effects. Unfortunately, the logistics of re-entry, combined with the current situation in the city, make it impossible for us to authorize your re-entry at this time. When conditions change, we will of course let you know.

For 171 years the Tulane community has been a leader in New Orleans and the region. We are now being called upon to play this role again in a way unforeseen by anyone a week ago. Despite the circumstances, we will prevail for all of you and the wider community.

Scott Cowen