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Memorial Day 2023: A Heartfelt Remembrance

Monday, May 29, 2023

Today we remember our brave servicemembers who have sacrificed their lives to serve and protect our nation. As we pause to reflect on their selfless service, we are also reminded of the immense sacrifices made by their families.

In times of peace and conflict, our servicemembers stand as guardians of our freedom, demonstrating unwavering courage, honor, and resilience. No matter their background, they serve to protect to us all. In acknowledging their dedication, we must also recognize the families who stand beside them, offering support, encouragement, and strength. Their sacrifices often go unnoticed but are deeply felt. To the spouses, children, parents, and loved ones of our service members, we extend our heartfelt appreciation and our condolences to those grieving their loss. 

Our Meliora values highlight integrity and respect, which our servicemembers embody.  As an educational institution, it is our duty to instill in our students an understanding and appreciation of the importance of service and the value of sacrifice. 

More than a day off from school or work, it is a day of remembrance to solemnly recall, with the utmost reverence and appreciation, those whose courage cost them everything. 

Joint Statement on Attempt to Restrict Access to Mifepristone

Friday, April 14, 2023

We believe that every individual has the right to make informed decisions about their healthcare. Federal Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk's recent attempt to restrict access to mifepristone, a safe and effective medication used in medication abortion and for the treatment of miscarriage, undermines this basic principle of bodily autonomy. It denies patients the right to make decisions that are best for their health and well-being.

The University of Rochester Medical Center is committed to providing healthcare, including reproductive care, that is based on rigorous research and evidence-based medicine. The judge’s ruling ignores the wealth of scientific evidence that supports the use of mifepristone in safe and effective healthcare.

Additionally, we believe this unprecedented court action to remove an approved drug from the market over the objection of the FDA will have far-reaching implications for healthcare equity. Restricting access to mifepristone will exacerbate existing health disparities by limiting options available to those who already face barriers to healthcare access. 

As the legal debate continues, we call for all involved to center the discourse in civility and keep the well-being of patients at the forefront of their decisions.  

In conclusion, we strongly oppose attempts to restrict or remove access to mifepristone. It sends a dangerous message that regulatory agencies can be disregarded at will, undermining the trust of patients and healthcare providers. We will continue to advocate for the right of every individual to make informed decisions about their healthcare, and for the continued practice of evidence-based medicine. We must stand up for the scientific process and ensure that decisions about healthcare are based on rigorous research and a commitment to public health and safety. Anything less puts us all at risk.

For further information about this important topic, we point you to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, which has issued this statement. 

Adrienne Morgan, Ph.D.
Interim Vice President for Equity and Inclusion
University of Rochester

Eva K. Pressman, M.D.
Henry A. Thiede Professor and Chair, Obstetrics and Gynecology

Joint Statement on International Day of Transgender Day of Visibility

Friday, March 31, 2023

Today is the 2023 International Transgender Day of Visibility and we wish to mark this day by reaffirming our unequivocal support for and solidarity with the transgender community.

Transgender Day of Visibility is bittersweet. On the one hand, it gives us all the opportunity to stand in the joy of living as one's authentic self. It reminds us to honor the many contributions that the transgender community has made - to the University of Rochester, to the United States, and to the world. We celebrate the legacies of Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera, Miss Major, Dr. Alan Hart, Roberta Cowell, Willmer “Little Axe” Broadnax, Osh-Tisch, Renée Richards ’59M (MD), Pauli Murray, Albert Cashier, Coccinelle, Dr. Michael Dillon, Lili Elbe, We'wha, Carlett Brown Angainlee, Monica Roberts, and countless others.

On the other hand, the very title betrays an unfortunate fact: living out loud as a transgender or gender diverse person has never been entirely safe in the United States, and seldom has it been safe anywhere else in the world.

Over the past several days, the public has seen overt demonstrations of the dangers that the transgender community has faced for centuries. Searching for a scapegoat, there are many who have chosen to vilify the transgender community to avoid talking about the very real issue of escalating gun violence. The alarming rise in anti-LGBTQ rhetoric, policy, and legislation, both here in the United States and around the world is deeply troubling.

To the transgender, non-binary, and gender diverse members of the University community, we want to reassure you that this Office and all those throughout the institution who work to promote, diversity, equity, inclusion, see and celebrate you no matter where you are in your gender exploration.

Being true to who you are isn't always easy, but it is a key ingredient to a fulfilling life. Today, and every day, we have a choice: we can vilify those who dare to be different, or we can join our trans friends, family, and colleagues as they experience the joy of authentic self-expression. Today, and every day, we can choose love.

Sarah C. Mangelsdorf
G. Robert Witmer, Jr. University Professor
University of Rochester

David Figlio
Provost and Gordon Fyfe Professor of Economics and Education
University of Rochester

Mark Taubman, M.D.
University of Rochester Medical Center

Adrienne Morgan, Ph.D.
Interim Vice President for Equity and Inclusion
University of Rochester

#LivetheSix: A Collective Call to Action

Monday, January 30, 2023

The Office of Equity and Inclusion is recognizing Black History Month with new programming and an institution-wide anti-racism movement called #LivetheSix, named after these six words: Stop Hate, End Racism, and Choose L.O.V.E. (Live Our Values Everywhere).

#LivetheSix was inspired by the Buffalo Bills football team’s “Choose Love” fundraising campaign started after ten people were killed at a supermarket last year by a shooter who targeted the store because of its proximity to a predominantly Black neighborhood. Soon after, Wegmans stores began displaying signs that read “Stop Hate, End Racism, Choose Love.” The positive tone of the signs and their bold call to action sparked an idea to bring the campaign to the entire University. The objective of #LivetheSix is to proclaim, in one voice, that the University of Rochester stands against all forms of hatred and racism, in solidarity with those working tirelessly for a more compassionate world, and in steadfast resolve to Live Our Values Everywhere.

Supported by an education campaign, bolstered by community engagement and in coordination with the University’s forthcoming Strategic Plan, Meliora values, and the Medical Center’s ICARE values, #LivetheSix is supported at all levels of the institution, including University leadership.  

“For this to have impact, it is critical to have the support of leaders from all parts of the University as well as from staff, faculty, and students,” says Adrienne Morgan, Ph.D., interim Chief Diversity Officer at the University of Rochester and Vice President of Equity and Inclusion, University of Rochester Medical Center. “We all have something to bring to this movement. This is an opportunity to unite behind our foundational values,” she adds.

#LivetheSix will be implemented in phases beginning with two opportunities for people to take actionable steps toward realizing the goals of the movement.

First, register for the Anatomy of Hate Grand Rounds beginning February 8, 2023 at 12 noon on Zoom. With the rise of antisemitic and other hateful rhetoric targeting racial, ethnic, and religious groups, it is important to confront instances of hate, understand its origins, and recognize how it has incited a new wave of fatal consequences. Wade Norwood ’85, CEO of Common Ground Health will deliver keynote remarks. The series will include a second virtual session on March 1, 2023 and will feature a discussion on ways the University of Rochester community is responding to hate. The last two events are a screening of the documentary, “A Tree of Life,” and a presentation on the power of restorative practices in helping to bridge disparities and rebuild trust.

Second, sign up for the 21-Day Racial Equity Challenge presented by the Association of Minority Residents and Fellows in partnership with the Office of Equity and Inclusion. Beginning February 10, 2023, participants will receive a daily challenge in their email inbox, along with invitations to three engaging presentations and debrief discussions. The theme this year is “Black Excellence: Living Healthier Matters.”  Speakers include, Twylla Dillion, MBA, Ph.D., Executive Director, HealthConnect One; Beatriz LeBron, Vice President, Rochester City School District Board of Education; and Dr. Ann-Gel Palermo, Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer in Education and Research for the Office for Diversity & Inclusion of Mount Sinai Health System and the Senior Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

By creating opportunities for our entire University community to act, these efforts represent a commitment to making meaningful change. More than words on a poster, or sticker, or pin, #LivetheSix is our way of being Ever Better.

Lunar New Year: A Time for Celebration

Friday, January 20, 2023

Lunar New Year is a much celebrated and revered holiday and I’d like to wish peace and happiness to all who celebrate. 2023 is also the Year of the Rabbit which symbolizes grace, beauty, mercy, and good luck. We will call upon all those traits as we continue on an ambitious journey toward realizing our goals of diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice at the University of Rochester.

To honor the cultural and religious significance of Lunar New Year, we have asked instructors to refrain from scheduling exams or other important projects during this time. This is one way to help those who celebrate feel welcomed and a sense of belonging. In fact, it’s imperative to respect and accommodate the wide variety of religious and cultural observances that occur throughout the year.

As a reminder, the University policy provides students with the ability to make up any work they miss because of their religious beliefs. For your reference, a list of 2023-2024 religious observances is available online. For more information, please contact the Office of Equity and Inclusion or visit the OEI website.

We hope the start of the Lunar New Year is a time of reflection and renewal for you as we emerge from winter to the promise of new beginnings and fresh starts in spring and beyond!


Adrienne Morgan, Ph.D.

Interim Chief Diversity Officer, UR
Vice President for Equity and Inclusion, URMC