March 19, 2020

Dear UNT community members,

Amid growing concerns regarding the spread of COVID-19 infections across the world and the United States, there has been an increase in the number of reports regarding stereotyping, harassment, and bullying directed toward students and faculty perceived to be of Chinese-American or, more generally, Asian descent. It is important for us to pause for a moment and consider how our thoughts, our words, and our actions influence others in our community who are equally affected by this global health crisis.

As we all know, words can hurt, and can substantially interfere with our students' educational access and our employees' work opportunities. UNT will not tolerate harassing behavior toward our community members who are or may appear to be of Asian descent. Let me be clear when I state that this is not who we are as a community.

As we move into online instruction, we expect UNT students, faculty, staff, and administrators to refrain from any identity-based jokes, slurs, harassment, or exclusion against any member of the Mean Green Family. The UNT policy on “Prohibition of Discrimination, Harassment, and Retaliation” is still in effect despite these new ways of learning and working and will be enforced. Should you experience or witness a violation of this policy committed by a student, we encourage you to report it to the Dean of Students Office at Suspected violations committed by faculty or staff members should be reported to Equal Opportunity.

Now more than ever, it's important that we live our mission and our values: to be a caring community that creates and maintains an inclusive and equitable learning and working environment for collaborative educational innovation. In this time of crisis, it is essential that we are ever more vigilant in our commitment to these values.

UNT remains committed to being a caring community for all its students and employees and committed to building a world where all of humanity is treated with dignity and respect.

Neal Smatresk
UNT President