Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2022

Dear UNT Community,

UNT is our home, and everyone should feel accepted and safe in their home. We are a deeply diverse community of people from a variety of cultural, political, ethnic, racial, and religious backgrounds with a vast spectrum of life experiences and perspectives. Our campus community is inclusive and has long embraced, and been proud of, that very diversity.

I know the last several days may have felt particularly difficult for the transgender members of our community, due to the intolerant views of a handful of campus members. We have a variety of resources through our Division of Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access to support you during your time at UNT, and we hope to offer you a safe place to heal and grow your support system.

Regardless of who we are or where we come from, we always will encounter people who disagree with us, or do not accept us. Here on our campus, we honor our First Amendment rights, even when we don't agree with others' opinions. Our views, or our very existence, might be challenged in ways that feel incredibly hurtful. Especially in those moments, I want you to know that you are a valued member of our Mean Green Family. We value diversity of thought because it helps shape us all, whether it's exposing us to new ideas or reaffirming who we want to be in the world.

I encourage you to engage in open discourse, free expression, and debate. All individuals have the right to peacefully assemble, to speak, and to engage in expressive activity, including that which you may find offensive. Each of you has the freedom to express yourself and the freedom to walk away, disempowering those with intolerant views.

Speak up for and take care of one another. And above all, walk through this life with care, kindness, and grace.

Neal Smatresk
UNT President