Nov. 14, 2019

Dear UNT family,

The events of the last week have disturbed our campus and given our community and me a great deal to reflect on. While I am proud of the caring nature of our campus and believe that the UNT community is one of the most inclusive communities anywhere, the events last week suggest that we should take a breath and see what we can do better to promote equity and improve our campus climate.

Our students put together a list of things they ask us to consider and came to discuss them with us. I find the list to be thought provoking and it affords us an opportunity to make the campus experience better not only for students of color, but for all students.

While we are weighing what we can do to build a strong strategic plan that promotes diversity and inclusion, there are some steps we can take immediately to begin the crucial conversations that will help us create a more inclusive culture. Many of you already have started these conversations with your colleagues. I applaud your initiative. I also have asked each of our vice presidents to engage all their employees in discussions on culture and climate, and to consider what we can do individually and collectively to build a stronger more inclusive campus. Some of these conversations already have started across campus, and I know our faculty and staff senates and our student governance groups will be enthusiastic partners in these discussions.

I am confident that working together we will find ways to improve our students' experiences and build a stronger Mean Green family. I thank you for your contributions to these crucial conversations and look forward to listening to your ideas about how we make UNT a truly caring campus.

Neal Smatresk