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President Feldman calls for unity after acts of bigotry and hate

To the University of Rochester Community:

The recent acts of bigotry and violence in Pittsburgh and Louisville, the national threat created by pipe bombs sent in the mail, and many other recent incidents have been deeply disturbing and unsettling. As a University that celebrates academic freedom and civil discourse, these acts, and a national conversation that too often displays hate and divisiveness, are distressing and frightening. People often disagree, but through open dialogue, active listening, and honest discussion, we can learn from one another and we can build respect and understanding.

The University of Rochester is not isolated from the world around us. Even on our campus we have experienced instances of intolerance and disrespect, including, most recently, the discovery of a swastika written on a sign at the Eastman School of Music this past weekend. Let me be clear: intolerance and disrespect are unacceptable. We must stand unified against those who would divide us with prejudice and hate.

As a University community we espouse the Meliora Values—Meliora, Equity, Leadership, Integrity, Openness, Respect, and Accountability. I try to live these values every day. Even as we watch the news with concern and sadness about the escalation of violence and hate-based activity, we must all keep sight of these community values to inform our actions and to support one other.

I urge everyone to avail themselves of the resources we have on campus if you need to talk to someone. I also hope and expect that all members of this community will do their part to continue to make our University a place where every individual is respected, welcome, included, and safe.

If you are concerned for yourself or about a member of our community, please call the University Counseling Center’s 24-hour Professional On-Call at (585) 275-3113, or make use of the CARE Network to connect to services and support.

I want to thank every one of you for doing your part to make the University of Rochester an institution that I am proud to lead, and even more importantly, a community of which I’m proud to be a member. I also want to share my conviction that as a university we must always try to stand for better. As a community and as a nation, I hope that we can redouble our efforts to celebrate our differences and protect fundamental freedoms for everyone.