Carl Bernofsky, Ph.D.
6478 General Diaz Street
New Orleans, LA 70124
May 5, 2003
House Bill No. 651, introduced by Representative Gary Smith, seeks to revive the debate
about the legislative scholarship program of Tulane University and the ethical issues and tax
consequences that relate to that program. Since the program's inception, these matters have been
considered periodically and nominal adjustments made, but the basic design and purpose of the
program remains intact.
After following developments in this area for a number of years, I have concluded that the
state legislature must go beyond merely reconsidering the merits of this program and view it in
the larger context of Tulane's legitimacy to continue functioning as a private corporation that
receives substantial funding from public sources in the form of direct grants, contracts, and tax
Three major points require your consideration. First, the Attorney General's Opinion
03-0111 of March 17, 2003 makes clear that it is illegal for public funds to be used for a private
purpose. Second, only 15-17% of Tulane's student body are Louisiana residents. Third, Tulane's
practice of using the legislative scholarship program to aid political purposes contributes greatly
to the reputation for corruption that many associate with Louisiana.
Issues such as these are described in more depth in the enclosed reprints, taken from the
Internet. That material suggests that Tulane's abuses are a direct consequence of its status as a
private institution, and that these abuses can be summarily remedied by reconstituting Tulane as
a public institution in the manner understood in 1962 by Judge Skelly Wright of the U.S. District
Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana.
I am distributing the enclosed items to all Louisiana legislators with the expectation that
serious consideration will be given to not only ending the ethical and fiscal dilemmas associated
with Tulane's scholarship program, but also to integrating Tulane into the family of educational
institutions that constitute the Louisiana State University system.
Very truly yours,
s/ Carl Bernofsky
Tel: (504) 486-4639