To the students who have demanded change related to race and racism at University of Rochester:
The Diversity and Inclusion Committee, founded in 2006, brings together staff from all across the University community to discuss ongoing and upcoming initiatives and events around race, ethnic and cultural diversity. We meet on a monthly basis to discuss and address issues that impact all people in the University community. We write to let you know that we hear you and that we underscore the importance and urgency of your demands for social change. We hope to serve as a support and ally to you as our community moves toward social change around race.
We are a committee dedicated to enhancing the University environment. That is why we feel compelled to express our support for the powerful demonstrations related to the experiences of racism of Black and African American students whom you led on November 20, 2015 (River Campus) and December 10, 2015 (Medical Center).
Thank you for the passionate, respectful, and thoughtful manner in which you presented your demands and expressed your intent to affect race relations on this campus, which is, after all, your home. All who live, learn, and work on this campus deserve to feel safe, supported, respected, and appreciated, and it is our responsibility to take swift and meaningful action if this is not the case for anyone in our community.
Your call for change resonates with us. Your advocacy inspired deeper conversation among our committee about ways we can take action for change. The Diversity and Inclusion Committee wants to be a resource to you in any way that we can. It is our hope that, along with President Seligman, we may work together to combat racism and help our entire campus grow, learn, and change for the better. If you think of ways we might collaborate, support you, or otherwise serve as a resource as you continue your powerful advocacy, please do not hesitate to reach out to us.
Indeed, as you chanted on November 20th across the River Campus, “We can’t be ever better if we’re not together.”
Co-Chairs Stanley Byrd & Maggie Cousin, The University of Rochester Diversity and Inclusion Committee