Fitts, Hertz pen “Special Message” on alcohol, substance abuse

Colin Threlkeld, Senior Staff Reporter

In an email sent on Monday to all administrators, faculty, staff and students, Tulane President Michael Fitts and Doug Hertz, chair of the Tulane Board of Trustees, jointly issued “A Special Message on Alcohol and Drug Abuse.”

Acknowledging Tulane’s “almost unique reputation as an academically prestigious institution that also gets labeled a party school,” the message linked “disproportionate rate[s]” of alcohol and substance abuse among Tulane students to growing concerns regarding addiction and sexual assault.

Fitts and Hertz challenged the notion that a “work hard, play hard” mindset is conducive to healthy and productive decision-making.

“There is no better place in the world to learn how to ‘play hard’ with exuberant creativity, music and community rather than the ultimate dreariness of binge drinking. New Orleans shows us how to balance our hard work with joyfulness and fun,” the message reads.

Citing the need to avoid “sending any signals that make [the university] complicit in a culture of substance abuse and binge drinking,” the message outlines the university’s plans for future action.

By “exploring better ways to prevent addiction before it happens, and [aiding] the recovery of those who struggle with it,” Fitts and Hertz expressed their hopes of working toward a change in the campus culture surrounding these issues.

The message went on to advise students to expect “increases in TUPD’s enforcement of laws against drinking by minors” and then further emphasized this point by reiterating it nearly word-for-word in the following paragraph. A correction email sent out an hour and 45 minutes later stated that this was “a typo and a repeated line.”

The message comes after Tulane was recently ranked No. 1 on Princeton Review’s 2018 “Top Party Schools” list.

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