The Office of Minority Student Affairs (OMSA) is the official academic home of all historically underrepresented minority students (Black/African American, Hispanic/Latinx, American Indian, and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander). We are dedicated to the betterment of the minority student experience at Rochester through advocacy, holistic advising, education, and collaboration with campus units.

Our department also connects minority students to various resources, on and off campus. We provide our students with the social capital needed to ensure academic, professional, and personal success.

OMSA's mission is to enhance the environment in which historically underrepresented minority students live and learn by assisting the University with outreach, recruitment, and yield. We do this through the development, implementation, and coordination of programs, events, and support services designed to help minority students graduate.

For more detailed information about our programs and services, please see our Handbook for Underrepresented Ethnicities.

Student-Centered Approach

Students often describe our office as their “home away from home,” citing our unconditional support and holistic advising approach as key to their success. We strive to give our students a space to be themselves and see themselves in a positive light. Our students benefit from office staff with knowledge and expertise gained through many years of advising along with innovative and creative energy to better serve those students.

We pride ourselves in going the extra mile for our students, whether it’s taking students to off-campus appointments or inviting them into our homes as part of our families when traveling home isn’t an option, or simply making arrangements to assist them during difficult times. We make sure that OMSA is a part of their support system. We advocate not only for the students who come in through our signature programs, like HEOP and ECO, but also for those who come via student, staff, or departmental referrals.

We understand—and do not shy away from— race and culture as they relate to diversity. Our office is committed to supporting diversity as a core institutional value at the University of Rochester. Our dedication to diversity as a value is demonstrated through our growing portfolio of committee work and involvement. At right is a non-exhaustive list of such work.

Committee Work and Involvement

We work with various committees and organizations to keep up to date on the campus environment and connect our students to the available University initiatives, including:

  • First Generation Committee
  • Sophomore Committee
  • College Diversity Roundtable (originally founded by Dean Norman Burnett)
  • Diversity and Inclusion
  • CARE Student Support Network
  • Student Life Awards
  • Susan B. Anthony Awards
  • International Education Week
  • One Community Programming Fund Committee
  • LGBTQI Advisory Group