T-P awards "Loving Cup" to Tulane University President Scott Cowen. After lauding his accomplishments, they touch on one of his more controversial decisions:
During that fall [in 2005 after Katrina/FF], Cowen devised a plan to restructure the university, a proposal that ruffled more than a few feathers because it closed Newcomb College, laid off 230 faculty members and eliminated all but two engineering majors.
The changes, he said then, were necessary for Tulane’s survival in a post-Katrina world where enrollment and resources would be depleted.
Noladishu documents the protests that accompanied the "restructuring" and says:
There's no getting around the fact that in the aftermath of... the Federal Flood, the largest engineering disaster in US history, Cowen axed the programs that could have made the most difference. In his own words, "If they don't fix the levees, everything we've done [with the Renewal Plan] is for naught."* What are we going to do Dr. Cowen? Sue our way to Category 5 Levees?
I wish Ashley Morris were here to react to the news. (We will always remember Ashley, but since two years have passed since he left, please consider donating again to his family.) Ashley trusted Scott Cowen about "as far as he could explode him". He was on the Tulane President like white on rice maggots. Here's a short but representative quote from Ashley regarding a similar circumstance:
I don’t have too much to say about the Gambit piece on NOLA universities, written by a Tulane undergrad and Gambit intern. As expected, Scott Cowen is portrayed as the visionary who made the painful but necessary bold moves to keep Tulane afloat.
I'll note one more news item, before presenting a palate-cleansing musical number. On March 19th I heard Kaare Johnson of WIST 690am report that Tulane will build a $100 million dollar athletic project that includes a "32,000 seat on-campus RETRACTABLE roof football stadium with a new administration building in one endzone and new basketball arena in the other endzone".
If true, that's awesome news for the remaining students and faculty whose departments weren't eliminated out of "necessity" following Katrina/FF. I wonder if engineering grads will help build it? --- Update:Clay points us to around the 7:40 mark of the extended Treme preview, where John Goodman's character quotes nearly verbatim from this Ashley Morris post (see "in the process" link above), saying: "Why would the university train people who know how to build things? Like, oh say computer systems, power grids, levees. Hey, who needs them?" From what I hear, Simon will appropriately credit Ashley's posts for informing the Treme script.
Note: some edits made after initial publishing --- * nsfw
In defense of Scott Cowen, he did come around and wash our feet last Thursday, and, unlike Craig Taffaro, really was too humble to let the paper know about it.
Actually, I guess you could say that his moves merely reflect what's wrong with the entire country -- for whatever that's worth.
G.Y.A., K.J. and the rest of the local media need to realize that the last thing the city suffers from is a lack of vision. The first link is only a stub w/out a subscription, but that was the article that famously said Nagin was too much a nuts-and-bolts guy and not enough of a visionary.
A open town-hall style meeting on the restructuring back in 2005:
Me - Dr. Cowen. What I have not seen is any figures on why any of this is necessary. We're engineers. We like numbers, can you please just let us see some evidence of your claims that this is a) necessary and b) would work?
Cowen - I am not going to show you teacher salaries.
I mean, I had been rolling with this particular anniversary quietly until you did this post. I'm not part of the posse but still miss Ashley very much. You would learn so much About blogging just by reading his posts. Indeed, I have never seen that standard anywhere else outside of you cats. But Ashley was the first person I saw online (and I wasn't ONLINE until the flood) ask the obvious question "Who Built These Fucking Levees?" Of course, now the rest is history. Wish it could have been different ya'know.