Dean Meyer’s Message to the Tulane Law community
Dear Tulane Law Community,
For those of you who were in the path of Hurricane Ida, whether here in Louisiana or on its sweep northward through Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York, I hope you and your families are safe and unharmed. A little more than a week after Ida roared through, I am intensely proud of the way our Tulane Law community – students, faculty, staff and alumni – responded to the storm and I am newly confirmed in the urgency of our mission as a law school.
Hurricane Ida appeared on the Gulf just as we were finishing our first week of classes. After 18 months of contending with the pandemic, students and faculty were reveling in the joys of learning together in the classroom, only to be dispersed across the country by a storm that appeared suddenly and then rapidly intensified before making landfall tied as the strongest hurricane in Louisiana’s history. Fortunately, the massive investments to upgrade New Orleans’ levees worked impressively to spare the City from the sort of catastrophic flooding and storm surge it suffered in Hurricane Katrina exactly 16 years before. But the disparate hardships of the storm played out in all too familiar ways along the fault lines of economic and racial inequality. And Hurricane Ida exposed a new set of vulnerabilities relating to the power grid and essential supply chains and it highlighted mounting threats from climate change that extend far beyond New Orleans to every corner of the globe.
Over the past week, we have been working intensely to support members of our community who were hit hard by the storm and to prepare our campus to welcome back students, faculty, and staff. If you would like to support hurricane relief for our students who suffered losses to their apartments or possessions or other hardships, gifts to the Dean’s Discretionary Fund at this time will be gratefully dedicated to student emergency aid. We are eagerly looking forward to welcoming students back to classes next week, temporarily on Zoom to start and then fully on campus shortly thereafter.
While we are confident that we will soon be putting the immediate impact of Hurricane Ida behind us, the powerful lessons of the storm will propel and inspire our work long into the future: Our Centers for Energy Law and Environmental Law are working together to identify legal frameworks to support the transition to sustainable and reliable sources of energy capable of withstanding the impacts of climate change. Through cutting-edge research and our path-breaking clinics, our faculty are exposing and confronting the structural inequalities that led the New York Times to observe that Hurricane Ida revealed “two Louisianas.” And, with Tulane’s uniquely powerful combination of hands-on skills development and ambitious scholarship infused with global and comparative perspectives, we are preparing future generations of lawyer-leaders capable of forging a more stable, sustainable, and equitable world.
I am very grateful for the way so many of you have reached out and offered your support over the past 10 days. With your continued partnership, I know we will emerge from this challenge an even stronger law school, just as we did from Hurricane Katrina and from other challenges before. Our work is cut out for us and it has never been more important. And I have never been prouder to be a part of this remarkable Tulane Law community!