No one would disagree with the fact that Tulane President Scott Cowen has done a hell of a job bringing his university back from the brink following Hurricane Katrina (access code required). But not everyone has supported his attempt to remake the school in the ensuing months. Yesterday, a group of students and alumnae of Newcomb College, Tulane’s longtime women’s college, filed a lawsuit against the school. Their goal is to stop Cowen and Tulane’s board from shutting down Newcomb, as it has announced it will do in July. The suit claimed “irreparable injury, loss and damage” if the Board is not restrained from eliminating Newcomb Memorial College or reallocating funds derived from the $41 million Newcomb endowment.
Cowen says he’s merely trying to streamline the school and divert resources to those areas in which it has a chance to be world-class. Newcomb alums argue that Newcomb, which has been around for over a century, has a history and reputation that should last far beyond the current financial constraints. Whatever happens, it’s clear that Cowen’s ambitious moves have hit a nerve.