Breaking Down Seligman's Response to the November 20 Petition

President Seligman released a response to the November 20 Student Petition on November 23. In case you haven’t taken the time to read the full statement (thought you should!), we’ve highlighted the main points for you here. 

Seligman starts by recognizing that we have a lot of work to do when it comes to creating a community that is welcoming and supportive of people of all backgrounds.

"It is clear to me that the climate on our campus is not all that it should be.  Some of our students, faculty and staff have experienced instances of hostility, notably recently because of their race." 

Apparently, students are not the only ones who have issues with the supportiveness of our campus environment. Seligman says after receiving similar complaints from UR faculty and staff, he approved a campus-wide survey for faculty and staff to assess our campus climate. The survey will be sent out early next semester, with results available hopefully in May. 

He then announces the steps he plans to take in response to the November 20 Student Petition.

Basically, what you need to know is: 

1. The president is forming a Commission on Race and Diversity at the University of Rochester to hold town hall meetings to assess the campus climate and put out a final report at the end of the Spring semester.

2. He is also leaving it up to the Commission to decide by January 31 if Yik Yak should be banned from our school server.

3. A Bias Related Incident reporting system (similar to CARE) has been in development for a while now. He is calling for the implementation of this system no later than January.

4. He has called on certain faculty and students to create a campaign to fight against racially motivated hate speech, similar to the "It's On Us" national campaign against sexual assault.  

5. The Student Code of Conduct will be reviewed to see if provisions addressing hate speech should be added. The Discrimination and Harrassment Policy is currently being reviewed.   

6. Dean Feldman will meet with the students who presented the November 20 petition to see what other steps the College can take now. 

Interested in how other universities are responding to student protests against racism? Read about how Western Washington University's president canceled classes after racist threats on social media, and how Brown University plans to spend $100 million on a Diversity and Inclusion Program.