Friday, July 10, 2020

Dear UNT Community,

UNT is proud to be home to many international students who enrich our community in incredible ways. It is because of them that we are creating a global environment on our campus and a global network that will benefit our alumni for years to come. We greatly value the diversity of thought and traditions they offer, which enlivens classroom discussions, research endeavors and our inclusive sense of culture.

On July 6, UNT received updated guidance from the Department of Homeland Security regarding international student enrollment for Fall 2020 followed by Department of Homeland Security FAQs. Let me simply say that I do not support this action, and it is incumbent on us and our dedicated staff in UNT International and our academic programs to work closely with all of our international students to ensure that they can stay enrolled at UNT with enough face-to-face and hybrid courses available for them to meet the federal guidelines. This is an evolving situation and we will continue to keep our students informed and advocate for them.

Many of our international students fill valuable roles as teaching and research assistants. They often are an integral part of research teams, and we truly believe that no scholar can operate at the forefront of their discipline without global collaborations. International students are not only a wonderful, diverse part of our campus culture, they are intrinsic to our university purpose, mission and vision. We cannot be the collaborative, imaginative, innovative global leaders in this rapidly changing world if our doors are closed.

While this federal mandate has posed challenges for us and our students, we will do everything in our power to keep our international students here and provide them with options for moving forward with their degree plans.

UNT Proud,

Neal Smatresk
UNT President