UNT prides itself on being a caring, supportive and welcoming environment for all students regardless of background, country of origin and immigration status. On Tuesday, President Trump announced plans to rescind the executive order for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). I want to reiterate what UNT President Neal Smatresk said earlier this week about our university’s commitment to support all of our students, including our DACA students.
While we wait to see whether Congress or the President will take action to restore DACA in some fashion, some of our students who are affected by the decision may be in need of special assistance or someone to listen to their concerns. Please encourage them to remain focused and keep working toward the degree and the bright future they seek.
To ensure that all of our students have access to the services and support necessary for success at UNT, I have complied a list of resources that may be helpful to you and the students you advise and teach. This isn’t an exhaustive list; we will move these and additional resources to a dedicated website as they are identified. Further, we are still evaluating how the rollback of DACA may impact internships, study abroad and other learning experiences for affected students. We will be moving this kind of information to the website, too, in the weeks ahead.
Meanwhile, let’s work together to ensure our students have the resources and guidance they need during this uncertain time. And, let’s continue to act in the warm, compassionate and respectful manner that is the UNT way.
The information and resources I referenced follow.
Jennifer Cowley, Ph.D.
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
Services for all students, including DACA students, include:
Legal Advice and Assistance
Emotional and Physical Health
Government Fact Sites Related to the Rescission of DACA
To the UNT community,
Today, the Trump administration announced it would begin to roll back the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. This action is a blow to the aspirations of hundreds of thousands of “Dreamers,” including some of our students and alumni. The action threatens to derail the future of some of our nation’s most determined young adults and brightest minds.
While we learn more about how the administration intends to enact the changes, our university’s immediate concern is for how the rollback could negatively impact the wellbeing of our most vulnerable students — those who are DACA-certified or undocumented. I want to make clear that I unequivocally support DACA, undocumented and other students who are overcoming significant barriers to educational attainment. These students aspire to a better life and are doing what our society asks of them — they work hard, study hard and play by the rules. They want to use their talents and gifts to give back to their communities and our nation. We need to encourage them to stay focused, hopeful and invested in their education.
Like other university presidents nationwide, I call on Congress to swiftly pass bipartisan legislation that provides a permanent solution for these young people — a defined pathway that allows Dreamers to continue to live, work, study and achieve citizenship in the only nation many of them have ever known as home. In my role as UNT’s president, I will be visiting with our state-elected officials in hopes of maintaining eligibility for state financial aid and in-state tuition for our DACA and undocumented students.
Often, I’ve spoken of our warm, caring and inclusive community and our respectful treatment of one another, regardless of national origin or immigration status. In every dimension of university life, we are enriched by the contributions of our students, faculty and staff. Even during these uncertain and somewhat turbulent times, our shared values of equity, diversity, inclusion and non-discrimination make us stronger. It’s the UNT way. We must do everything possible to ensure that our students have access to the services and support necessary for them to thrive at UNT and graduate from their chosen degree programs.
I want to reiterate a few of our university’s commitments, policies and procedures. UNT is strongly committed to the privacy of student records, including immigration status for all students, consistent with state and federal laws. Student records are otherwise not disseminated without student consent or a judicial order. In the performance of their duties, members of the UNT Police Department don’t initiate law enforcement activities based solely on immigration status.
Students seeking assistance can find help from the following UNT areas:
Issues that impact students who are first-generation college students hit close to home for me and some other university administrators. Like most DACA and undocumented students enrolled at UNT, we were among the first in our families to pursue a better quality of life through higher education. We know first-hand how foundational and empowering a college education is to personal and professional success, and we believe our students deserve the same opportunities. Our nation will be stronger for it.
In the days ahead as more information becomes available, we will share it. Please join me now in ensuring UNT continues to be a welcoming, supportive and caring community.
To the UNT community,
The University of North Texas long prides itself on celebrating the many facets of diversity on our campus. We are a caring community that has always been a place for the free exchange of ideas, differing viewpoints and healthy discussion and debate.
In light of recent events, I feel compelled to clarify the difference between peaceful and thoughtful protest as a way for our campus to express ideas and the kinds of violent, hate-filled and reprehensible behavior seen recently on a national scale.
Let me be completely clear in my condemnation of racial intolerance, hate speech and violence in the name of free speech and protest.
Our campus always finds a way to rise above, and I trust our community to thoughtfully engage and express themselves in ways that advance discourse, our mission to educate and our commitment to being one of the most caring college communities in the country.
I ask all of you to join me in expressing our support for our deep and rich diversity and for guarding against behaviors that violently disrupt our university community.
To the UNT community,
I’ve spoken often of our warm, caring inclusive community, but in the last few weeks I’ve noticed a series of disturbing events that I believe do not reflect our values or our commitment to one another.
While we respect freedom of speech on our campus, there has been a recent series of flyers, social media posts and hostile speech directed at some members of our community because of who they are. I in no way condone this behavior.
In my years as a university administrator, I have witnessed how the actions of a handful of individuals who are attempting to provoke responses have crossed the line into threatening behavior or acts of vandalism. We will not tolerate this on our campus, and will act quickly and decisively when confronted with such actions.
I know you will recognize these unfortunate and misguided behaviors for what they are and will not let the actions of a few individuals disrupt our strong sense of community, create division amongst us, or erode our unity.
Please continue to support each other, be respectful, welcoming and considerate. I know that we will remain #UNTStrong.
The University of North Texas Dean of Students office is conducting a research study; Cultivating Safe College Campuses: A College Sexual Assault Policy & Prevention Consortium. The Assessment of Sexual Assault Perspective, or ASAP, is an online survey designed to measure how common sexual misconduct is on our campus, and tell us how well our prevention and advocacy programs are doing. Your insights are valuable, and help build a respectful community that doesn’t tolerate sexual misconduct.
Participants will be entered to win one of the following prizes: UNT Eagle parking permit, ($250 value) Bookstore Gift Card ($25 value), Flex Dollars ($5 value).
*Sexual misconduct includes sexual assault, sexual contact without consent, domestic violence, dating violence, sexual harassment, and stalking.
Here is the link: https://www.psychdata.com/s.asp?SID=175387
Last Friday, President Trump, through an Executive Order, imposed a temporary ban on all immigrant and nonimmigrant entry to the United States from seven Muslim-dominant nations — Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. We are deeply concerned about the well-being of members of our community who may be impacted by evolving immigration policies and practices, and we want all of our students, faculty and staff to know we are dedicated to their safety, security and success.
Our university family is greatly enriched by the more than 2,500 international students from more than 130 countries. Students, faculty and staff members from around the globe contribute to the rich learning, research, scholarship and cultural experiences that are at the very heart of our university and our standing as a public research university.
I want to assure you that we are reaching out to members of our university community from the affected nations to offer support and guidance during this confusing and difficult time. We are coordinating with the UNT International Office and are in contact with other universities, national associations and immigration experts to seek clarity on some of the issues and questions that are of concern.
As we seek more information about how this new federal restriction on immigration will be implemented, you should be aware that if you are a citizen of one the seven nations and you leave the U.S., even for an emergency, you will not be able to return during the temporary ban, possibly longer. For citizens of other countries, if you travel outside the U.S., you may experience increased visa delays and re-entry rules could change while you are travelling.
If you have questions about travel-related issues or immigration policies and practices, please contact the UNT-International Office at 940-565-2197.
Meanwhile, it’s worth noting our university’s position on non-discrimination, privacy and public safety.
The university has many resources available to help members of our community.
If anyone feels unsafe, please call the UNT Police at 940-565-3000 or dial 911 for assistance. UNT has emergency phones throughout campus that connect directly to the police department.
As always, UNT remains committed to growing our global perspectives and awareness by continuing to lawfully recruit into our university community and support academically talented students, faculty and staff members.
Our diversity makes us stronger, and our greatest attribute is our caring community. Please join me in ensuring UNT is a welcoming and supportive environment for all. We will continue to do all that we can to ensure your success.
Join President Neal Smatresk to learn what UNT is doing to ensure that our campus is a safe and inclusive environment for all.
2 to 4 p.m. Tuesday, January 31
University Union Ballroom 314C
Hear about the resources UNT has in place to address immigrant student needs.
University officials will be on hand to answer questions, but want to use the town hall as an opportunity to hear what the UNT community has to say on the subject.
The Office of Equal Opportunity will be offering in-person sessions to cover the material in the WeComply Title IX training for people who were not able to complete it online. Please see the dates below for upcoming opportunities:
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call (940) 565-2759 to register for the training. Please contact OEO if you require accommodations to participate in the training.
Dear UNT community,
This afternoon, a group of our students gathered to voice their support for designating UNT as a “sanctuary campus.” I want you all to know that I am listening to the concerns raised and hear the anxieties of those speaking out.
Our university is first and foremost a community that cares about its students, and I will do everything in my power to preserve UNT’s supportive environment. We are planning to hold a Town Hall in January so our students can ask questions and engage directly with me and others. I want to make sure that we are meeting their needs and supporting them in ways that help them pursue their dreams.
In the meantime, please know that UNT already provides many of the things the students are requesting: free counseling and legal services, training on cultural issues, financial assistance and housing opportunities, and perhaps most importantly a commitment to providing an environment free of discrimination.
It is too early to speculate on what will happen in the future, but as we move forward together, you can rest assured that your safety and security is paramount, and UNT will continue to be an advocate for and a strong supporter of diversity and inclusion. For more than 125 years our university has been a welcoming place, and the values that have shaped our history will continue to guide us in the future.
Dear UNT faculty and staff,
The Division of Institutional Equity and Diversity will launch two equal opportunity training courses this year. The courses will be available online, and will be delivered to full-time employees through the training vendor WeComply/Thompson Reuters.
The first course, “Preventing Discrimination and Harassment for Managers,” for supervisors and managers of full-time employees was deployed on Nov. 1, 2016. This course will provide strategies for managers to prevent and respond to discrimination, which is prohibited by UNT policy 16.004: Nondiscrimination/Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action, and Non-Retaliation.
Employees who completed the “Preventing Discrimination and Harassment for Managers” course in the August 2016 rollout are not required to retake it. Employees who started the course but did not complete it must complete this one.
The second course, “Preventing Sexual Misconduct,” is for all full-time employees it was deployed on Dec. 1, 2016. This course will satisfy the requirement in Section VIII (C) of UNT policy 12.005: Prohibition of Sexual Assault and Retaliation, which requires that university employees complete an educational program on the nature, effect and prevention of sexual assault every two years
Employees who are required to complete these courses received an email informing them when their course deployed. If you are a full-time UNT employee who did not receive an email announcing the “Preventing Sexual Misconduct” course, please email email@example.com immediately.
This email will come from staff in the Division of Institutional Equity and Diversity, and will include a link to the Office of Equal Opportunity webpage where the course will be hosted. The courses are hosted in the box titled “EO Compliance Training”. Please use your EUID and password to access this course.
Participating employees will have the option to print their course completion certificate once they have passed the quiz at the closure of the course. Please note that all course participants are responsible for printing their course certificates and preserving them.
Dear UNT students, faculty and staff members,
Thank you for coming together this week to openly, respectfully and peacefully discuss your feelings and thoughts about the outcome of the Presidential election and its possible implications for our nation at home and abroad.
Our campus community, like our nation, holds many points of view about what is good and right for our country, and I am encouraged by the way our community has responded to one another with discourse that reflects intellect, empathy and understanding. As a university, we promote the exploration of different points of view and the exchange of opinions as part of the educational process.
In the days ahead, as we seek a deeper understanding of the complex situations that may face the members of our university community, even the university itself, we need to continue to have respectful dialogue, even if it may be uncomfortable. This is how we build an honest, caring and inclusive community.
Please remember that we have many resources available to help:
And, as always, if anyone feels unsafe please call the UNT Police at (940) 565-3000 or dial 911 for assistance. UNT has 45 emergency phones throughout campus that connect directly to the police department.
For more than 125 years, our university has served Texas and our nation by preparing students to become thoughtful, engaged citizens of the world. As we continue to progress, let’s keep in sight the values that have shaped us throughout our history.
Dear UNT Community,
In the wake of Sunday’s tragedy in Orlando, the UNT community will unite during a candlelight vigil Thursday to express its condolences and support the victims, their families, loved ones and friends, and our nation’s LGBTQ community.
The vigil to remember the victims and strengthen our community will be hosted by UNT’s Pride Alliance, Multicultural Center and Office of Spiritual Life in collaboration with TWU and Denton community organizations from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Thursday, June 16, at the Library Mall on UNT’s campus.
The vigil will include speakers who will talk about the mass shooting’s effect on the LGBTQ, Latino and Islamic communities. In addition, community members may choose to participate in the vigil by sharing during open mic time. The vigil will close with the reading of the names of the deceased and lighting of candles.
It is important to remember that following a tragic event such as Sunday’s shooting, there are resources available to help. Students, faculty and staff who may be dealing with grief in the aftermath of the shooting can find free, confidential counseling services through the university. Students can contact Counseling and Testing Services at 940-565-2741 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Faculty and staff can receive services from the Employee Assistance Program, which can be reached at 800-343-3822.
We encourage all of our community members to take care of themselves and be mindful of others who may be hurting.