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Katrina strikes again

And so, the death toll climbs.

We've lost one family member, the functional humanity of two others, a city, and a spirit already to Katrina. And now my alma mater is going to a watery grave, as well.

I don't intend to give up Newcomb without the 'good fight,' but it's horribly depressing to see that the middle-aged men in their suits look as if they're going to finally get their hands on Newcomb's endowment. I'm on it, getting in touch with alumnae networks, the old student newspaper crowd, friends from women's colleges (::waves::), making lists of people to contact and writing rants and then rewriting them into rational pleas to be involved in figuring out how to minimize the pain. But there's a weariness in me on this. So very much has been lost, and this new casualty is just about enough to put me under (and ask anyone: I'm the energizer bunny for causes when I really care).

Why am I bringing this to your attention, when none of you are Tulane grads and few of you are attached in any significant way to New Orleans? Couple of reasons. First, you are in the main, the kind of people who care. Second, even if you aren't personally attached, you might know someone who is. Third, and most important, you might have suggestions on how to go about making things better. Political activisim has never been my forte. So, lay it on, and spread the word.

One of the South's most prestigious and oldest women's colleges is about to disappear, with barely a whimper. Worse, those of us who are complaining and trying to be heard are coming under attack, and the value of Newcomb as a distinct and feminine institution is being called into question.

Help me spread the word to alums who've been disconnected, give me suggestions for "what's next," and hey, vibes don't hurt.

The petition is here: http://www.newcomblives.com/petition.html -- help me use the internet to get in touch with A&S, Newcomb, and Paul Tulane college grads whose voices should be heard.

(and yes, I *am* neglecting the even larger notion that Tulane is eliminating most of its engineering programs, its Education program, and quite a few others, while maintaining basketball and football and adding new courses of study entirely. I do understand that these wounds are also painful and wrong, but the Engineering school has its own campaign running what appears to be quite ably, and I'm focusing where my personal pain is, for now)


( 17 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 12th, 2005 07:27 pm (UTC)
Oh, Chris, my heart goes out to you. i know what strong ties one can have to a school. I'd be up in arms if this was Christ College at Valparaiso University.

Alumnae dollars is what is going to get the administration to listen. When I went to VU, though it is not affiliated to any one of the three Lutheran Synods, did not allow the ordained women (the ELCA ordains women) on campus to preach in the chapel on Sundays.

In protest, scores of alumnae, myself included, pledge not to donate any money to the college until this was remedied. Though the university ultimately reversed this decision and never acknowledged that this one one of the driving forced. But it was definitely a factor.

I see that TU is imploring Newcomb alumnae to still continue to donate to the greater university. Perhaps if you all banded together and sent pledges of Zero Dollars it might get people thinking a bit more at the situation.
Dec. 12th, 2005 07:46 pm (UTC)
Hmm. Now that's an idea. If I could get the group of NC students & alums organized to pledge funds that would not be donated unless/until some satisfactory compromise is reached, in high enough sums...Nods. Okay, so now I need to go look at that list of famous alumnae. Thanks, Kelly. God, I so didn't need another cause/project.
Dec. 12th, 2005 07:29 pm (UTC)
Oh Chris, I'm so sorry to hear this. My thoughts and prayers are with you and everyone involved. Sending positive thoughts your way. *hugs you tight*
Dec. 13th, 2005 03:45 am (UTC)
Thank you for the vibes, sweetie. I'm so glad to see that you're beginning to feel better, too! There's got to be good in the world to make up for the bad, and I'm glad you got some of it.
Dec. 12th, 2005 07:38 pm (UTC)
Oh, Chris, I'm so sorry you and yours keep getting barraged.

[many hugs]
Dec. 13th, 2005 03:44 am (UTC)
Thank you, Lori. It just doesn't seem like it's ever going to quit, does it??
Dec. 12th, 2005 08:28 pm (UTC)
I went to what had historically been a women's college, and although I've watched it grow into a co-ed university with very little pain, I know how I'd feel if something like this happened. I read education trade journals every day, and I hadn't even heard this was happening. You're right, the engineering departments are getting all the attention in this.

I wish I knew how to help, but this isn't my area of education at all.

Could you try to get an article in this online publication?


I don't know if it would help.
Dec. 13th, 2005 03:44 am (UTC)
I had the Chronicle on my list, but not this one. Thank you! And if you hear anything that might be of use, please do pass it along. It's all about money in the end, and the engineers make a good bit more than the majority of artists, writers, etc. graduating from liberal arts and humanities programs...
Dec. 13th, 2005 09:04 pm (UTC)
I just saw an article in the on-line Times-Picayune. Newcomb is barely mentioned. You've probably seen it too but just in case:


The author's email is at the bottom of the story.
Dec. 13th, 2005 09:08 pm (UTC)
Heh. Way ahead of you there. I wrote to him and even asked for Linda Wilson's contact information. Chris Rose, who is one of the more high profile columnists at the TP nowadays was a personal mentor to several of us at the Hullabaloo back in the day -- I've written to him as well, because he does such a wonderful job of putting the emotional case out there. The engineering elimination is a true tragedy, but it bothers me more than I can say that the rest of it is being entirely overshadowed. Sigh. And women are so much harder to 'herd' into organization than engineers, by their very nature. It's slow going, but I've teamed up with a couple of other alums from NC, and we're slowly getting a plan together.
Dec. 13th, 2005 09:45 pm (UTC)
I figured you'd probably be on top of that, but I thought I'd pass it on just in case.

I emailed you some other longer shots.
Dec. 12th, 2005 08:48 pm (UTC)

I hope you guys managae to salvage it.
Dec. 13th, 2005 03:43 am (UTC)
Thanks, Lesley. I appreciate it.
Dec. 12th, 2005 08:58 pm (UTC)
Oh, Chris, that is terrible news! I can only imagine how you must feel.

Now, for the practical stuff.

1. Kelly's suggestion is absolutely your #1 bet: harness the power of the alumnae. Formal donations of $0 are a great idea, but even better would be a pledge for donations that are being withheld. Getting a nice list of alumnae who are willing to pledge funds only if the college is reinstated, with a nice dollar amount administrators can drool over, would be a huge factor in making them reconsider.

2. Visibility is key. In that list of alumnae I'm certain there are more than a few in the media: use them. This story needs to get played up both in the higher education media--InsideHigherEd, The Chronicle of Higher Education--but also the mass media. It's a story that is definitely big enough for the wires and national newsmagazines. The more media coverage you get, the more pressure there will be on the administration to backtrack.

3. Current students. Student government, political organizations, etc. are sure to be organizing rallies or protests or something. If you can contact them and coordinate efforts with alumnae participation, the joint show of support will be something the university can't really ignore.

That's all that comes to mind off the top of my head. I wish I had contacts for this kind of thing in this country, but sadly, I got nothing. Good luck.
Dec. 13th, 2005 03:42 am (UTC)
Much appreciation, Plin. I've made contact with a few compatriots who are still in Louisiana, and we're trying to gather up a few more and get a game plan in place. Apparently Rutgers' Sarah Douglass is experiencing eerily similar replacement, and there also seem to be some potential legal issues standing in the way of total annihilation based on some resolutions in 1987 (I remember those battles, from the pov of a student reporter). There's at least some room for hope right now, I'm just tired thinking about it. And hey -- Jerry Springer's an alum. Maybe that'll help. And ooh. Lieberman. We might be able to get Sen Lieberman involved. Nods.
Dec. 13th, 2005 12:15 am (UTC)
Oh, no, Chris. I am so sorry. I will do what I can, which is minimal.

God, the fallout from catastrophes is almost worst than the disaster.

::hugs, hugs hugs::

Dec. 13th, 2005 03:04 am (UTC)
Thank you, my dear. Just when I think I'm beginning to recover, that things might some day be 'normal' again, another disaster strikes. How much more can come?
( 17 comments — Leave a comment )

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