Editorial encourages dialogue

I read with interest your thoughtful editorial entitled “Funding Needed” in the Sept. 15 issue of the CT. The editorial commended improvements that might be made in Wilson Commons.

We have begun a process of strategic planning at UR that ultimately will involve each school and include a master facilities plan. One of the challenges of this process will be to insure that student preferences are known. I am asking each dean to focus on the best ways to include student voices in their strategic planning processes.

I also note with respect to Wilson Commons that before I arrived plans were developed to make certain of the upgrades you suggested. I have asked the University’s Chief Financial Officer, Ron Paprocki, to brief me on these plans.

It is to early to make significant new commitments to projects such as Wilson Commons before all involved in strategic planning have a sense of the basic choices that we will face, but it is never too early to hear great ideas, and I wanted to thank the authors of the CT editorial for highlighting this one and to state how much I look forward to working with all of you to build a stronger UR.

-Joel SeligmanPresident, University of Rochester

Relief efforts applauded

Arriving home Friday night at 10 p.m. after a very long day at work, I thought about how much I love my job.

I had just participated in JAMbalaya, which was the first major fundraiser planned by the UR Katrina Relief Committee. The sold-out dinner had a fabulous communal feeling, with delicious southern cuisine and soulful tunes by WRUR.

Afterward, hundreds gathered at Strong Auditorium to be entertained by fourteen of our talented student organizations. It is obvious our students do follow their passions both inside and outside the classroom by their degree of dedication to their pursuits. How lucky for my six-year-old son that he got to experience beautiful ballet, traditional Japanese dance, energizing a capella, Banghra and much more.

I could not believe the high quality of all the groups’ performances at such an early stage of the semester. When our students were called upon to help out, they graciously volunteered and put forth a program worthy of the caliber of the University of Rochester. I am proud to collaborate on a daily basis with these incredibly diverse and inspiring students and hope everyone in the UR community takes advantage of the opportunity to attend one of their public performances.

Many thanks to all the students, organizations and staff who helped us raise almost $2,000 for the victims of Hurricane Katrina far into the past.

-Anne-Marie AlgierDirector, Wilson Commons Student Activities

“Life” poorly defined in Mack’s article

I hope for the sake of the academic standards of this institution that Jim Mack is neither a biologist nor a philosopher, because I have seldom read such ethically and intellectually flawed arguments.

I considered spilling the full wrath of my self-righteous vitriol into this letter – so I did. The subject of bioethics is extremely complex, and should not be simplified to Mack’s rhetoric. The debate in utilizing embryonic material for whatever purpose – not just stem cells – hinges on when we deem something to deserve the “right” to life. Saying that this begins at conception is flawed, because the causal chain of events that leads to conception stretches far into the past. Mr. Mack is picking an arbitrary spot in the chain of events leading to personhood, either because he has not thought things through sufficiently, or because he has a socio-political-religious agenda to push.

It may still turn out that Mr. Mack is correct in saying that embryonic research is morally unacceptable, but better arguments will have to be posited before the bulk of academia will accept it.

-Jorge AzpuruaClass of 2006



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