Aug. 28, 2017

Dear UNT community,

Today marks the first day of classes for our 2017-18 academic year, and while this is an exciting time, we cannot help but think of those affected by Hurricane Harvey, now a tropical storm.

Some of our students from Houston and South Texas had plans to arrive in Denton over the weekend, but instead find themselves trapped by the storm with flooded homes and neighborhoods and no way to evacuate. Other students did arrive on campus prior to the storm, but likely are worried about friends and family who are being impacted. And, we also are responding to the higher education needs of students from other universities who may be displaced.

I ask that all of our faculty and staff please be flexible and compassionate with these students. Please be responsive to what they need and do everything you can to help them successfully transition into this semester. Students, look for ways you can provide aid and support to your friends, classmates and fellow residents.

With more rain predicted in the Houston area this week, UNT is equipped and prepared to open an emergency shelter for evacuees, if and when we are asked. Our university is a community of great compassion and we will support the impacted individuals in every way we can. These charities are accepting donations to help survivors rebuild.

Please remember UNT's counseling services for students can be reached by calling 940-565-2741 and the Dean of Students office is available at 940-565-2648. Faculty and staff can take advantage of our Employee Assistance Program by calling 800-343-3822.

Welcome back to school and please remember to ask for help if you need it.

UNT Proud,
Neal Smatresk