Monday, Feb. 22, 2021

Dear UNT students,

Last week's winter storm brought devastatingly cold weather to Texas, but our hard working emergency crews did an amazing job and worked tirelessly to keep our residential students safe and our campus operational. Their heroic efforts minimized damages to our buildings, and they will continue to work to repair our buildings and critical infrastructure. If you see them on campus, please take the opportunity to thank them.

Our Housing and Residence Life staff continued to care for students who remained on campus, keeping the halls as warm as possible during rolling power outages and rendering aid when pipes inevitably burst. The Dining Services team served thousands of meals, creatively designing menus during a time when ingredient deliveries could not take place and power was intermittent.

Please continue to watch your UNT email and our social media channels (UNT Facebook page or follow @unteaglealert on Twitter) this week as we communicate important safety information, as well as which buildings will remain closed for repairs.

As classes resume this week, I want to reiterate that UNT's caring professors are committed to helping you successfully complete the semester. Faculty will be rearranging syllabi and coordinating with their students to address needs as we all work to get back into the groove of the semester.

I also know many of our student employees lost valuable work time during the closure, and we have asked student supervisors to offer opportunities for our student employees to work those lost hours in the upcoming weeks. Student employees should work with their supervisors directly to find solutions that accommodate class schedules while fitting in additional work hours as possible.

Even as pipes were bursting on campus and heating units were being repaired, I know many of you were at home experiencing rolling blackouts, frozen or burst pipes, and other undesirable situations. We all were tested, and some of you or your family members may be spending the coming days navigating home repairs or other challenges.

Please be understanding of our Facilities and Risk Management teams as they continue to assess storm damage and make repairs across campus. Many of them have been working around the clock and already have made many repairs so the majority of our buildings could be open for classes today. There is still much more hard work ahead of us. With 176 buildings and 7.5 million square feet on campus, it will take time for us to fully recover from this storm and have our campus back to its normal operations.

Helping you succeed will be a top priority as we navigate the remainder of the semester. If you are worried about a class, please reach out to your professor. If you are struggling financially or need help with groceries, we have services available and want you to reach out. And please remember that Counseling and Testing Services are always available should you need them. It's already been a tough year, and we are here to support as best we can.

Working together, we are best able to help each of you achieve your dreams. I thank you for the compassion I know you will show each other and our faculty and staff in the coming weeks.

UNT proud,

Neal Smatresk

UNT President