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Days of Tragedy

Statement by Joel Seligman
July 13, 2016

This has been a summer of tragedy and profound sadness for all of us across this country and locally here in Rochester.  Our hearts have been broken by senseless violence, including events in Orlando, St. Paul, Baton Rouge and Dallas. 

No university alone can repair every social ill.  But our University community is an important part of our broader community, and we do assume responsibility for providing a safe and open environment for dialogue in which we listen to each other, express our views without fear, and ultimately seek to achieve a sense of mutual trust and mutual respect. 

Safety on our campus is and will always be a priority.  We have and will continue to take steps to provide a safe and supportive campus for students, faculty, staff, visitors, patients, and public safety officers alike. 

We are working on this commitment on several fronts. Since January, our Security Commission has been conducting a thorough study of how best to make our campus even safer. Additionally, in the last academic year our University began a detailed review of race and diversity on our campuses. After students and faculty return in September, we will have public presentations of the recommendations of both of these efforts. The coming academic year will present opportunities for our University and its schools to focus on strengthening our campus climate and fostering dialogue and constructive action.

For now, in this time of intense grief, let me express my personal condolences to the friends and families of the citizens who have been lost, and to all of us, within the University community and outside of it, who are left with sadness, fear and questions. It is my hope that we can come together to ease sadness, confront fear, and begin to answer the questions in ways that can improve our current social condition and lead us to new cooperation and understanding.