Shared Values: The Year of Respect

Aug 21, 2017

Banners illustrating the Communal Principles Project hang in the Paul J. Burgett Intercultural Center. (University photo / J. Adam Fenster)
Ian Manzi '18 has experienced
 a lot at the University. The data science and economics dual major from Kigali, Rwanda, was awarded a $10,000 Davis Projects for Peace grant with Derrick Murekezi '19 after organizing a young leaders’ summer "peace camp" in Rwanda. Manzi also set up an international book drive to benefit Rwandan children and is senior advisor for the Pan-African Students Association.

At each step, he has been guided by the Communal Principles Project, a College initiative coordinated by the Office of the Dean of Students. Since fall 2011, one of six principles has been highlighted each academic year: respect, responsibility, honesty, inclusion, fairness, and freedom.

Ian Manzi '18

"I’m very thankful that each year there is one principle to focus on. Today, inclusion, fairness, and freedom are three of my personal values, because I have lived them,"  says Manzi, referring to the principles highlighted during his first, sophomore, and junior years, respectively.

A new cycle begins

Manzi can add a fourth value this academic year, as the Communal Principles Project enters its second cycle, beginning again with the Year of Respect.

"While all of the Communal Principles are essential, there may be none so crucial as respect," says Matthew Burns, dean of students. "When one respects oneself, others, and the communities of which we are a part, all of the other principles start to fall into place and become easier to realize."

Miles Perry '20

Miles Perry '20, a dual major in international relations and health, behavior, and society, believes the Year of Respect will have impact on campus.

"When I think of respect, I immediately think of respecting a person’s right to expression," says the Rochester native, who is president of the Pride Network.

Incoming students receive information about the Communal Principles Project and the specific principle highlighted that year. They can apply for grants to develop a program or activity that exemplifies that year’s principle.

Not for students alone

"The principles don’t just pertain to the students," says Jessica Guzman-Rea, director of the Paul J. Burgett Intercultural Center and chair of the committee that selects the Communal Principles Project grant recipients. "The entire University community should be abiding by them. By highlighting one principle each year, we get to focus our efforts and make sure we are constantly reminded of what we stand for at the University of Rochester."

Burns says the principles are the backbone of how the College community interacts with and treats each other.

"Students, faculty, and staff all have 
an obligation to keep these principles in mind in all we do," Burns says. "In planning programs, creating policies, making decisions, resolving conflict, and having difficult conversations about controversial topics."

Grants support programs on respect

Two types of grants are available for undergraduates to develop programs or activities that exemplify respect during the 2017–18 academic year.

The Communal Principles Project awards grants in the amount of $200 or $500. See details and deadlines.

The One Community Programming Fund, allocated by the president’s office, offers mini grants (up to $1,000) and standard grants (up to $5,000) to support culturally based programming and enhance the understanding and appreciation of diversity and inclusion initiatives. See details.


Originally published in the University of Rochester Newscenter.