Thursday, April 22, 2010


This probably falls into the category of not having too much to complain about- but I finally got around to browsing the Winter 2010 issue of the Tulanian. The Tulanian is billed as The Magazine of Tulane University. I’m a little annoyed.

How can the official communications arm of the university not have a single mention of the I-A athletic program?

While not a high crime or misdemeanor, it is also inexcusable. I mean, the university spends millions on this sports' stuff, there is still an official commitment that sports helps the university branding and visibility- and the Tulanian makes no mention?

It does have room for a two -page photo spread of undergrads decorating a King Cake. This photo does not advance the university mission. No offense, but the image of the Tulane undergrad as a somewhat carefree student is firmly cemented in the national awareness. Just ask my father. Nonsense cannot take precedence over projects the university does deem relevant to national discernment.

I mean, most communiqués we alumni receive about athletics are the teams losing or, alternatively, getting crushed. There needs to be counter-programming. The magazine is a chance to put pure administration propaganda or actual news out there. Give the casual fan some confidence that the stewards of our dollars and efforts are bringing neat kids to campus and losing isn’t the only thing Tulane’s programs do. Raise some consciousness, some appreciation, people.

Athletics is obviously important to thousands of donors and fans of Tulane. Even its woeful status vis-à-vis large state university programs does not change that. So, head of the EPA Lisa Jackson gets page after page. Sure, I get it- she is a dreamboat for the internal politics of university academics: a minority woman, environmental, an official of President Obama’s administration. It probably dovetails with the aforementioned university goals: Tulane has a powerful interest in attracting smart women and sucking up to the administration in power for federal dollars. How could she not be lauded to the skies in a university maganzine and literally portrayed as a superhero complete with cape? Impossible to resist. I get it. We are not churlish here at Frank Helps You Think It All Out. She is an accomplished person.

But leaving sports out, while writing page after page on Lisa Jackson and three other environmental blurbs, frankly smacks of an axe to grind. Does anyone doubt that the editorial staff of the Tulanian, as does a huge majority of the faculty, loathe the emphasis and interest of I-A sports over their scholarship? Portuguese is important, darn it! Not football!

I don’t want to get into interest level comparison- let’s just say there is a not insignificant population of donors and fans out there of the Tulane athletic programs. We deserve to hear from the university leaders regularly on the status of our programs and the kids participating in them. And it ought to be done in the Tulanian.

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