All Messages & Speeches

2020


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Staying Safe On and Off Campus

As you have returned to campus in recent days, there have been countless examples of courteous and compassionate behavior by Longhorns who have stepped up to Protect Texas Together as we navigate the COVID-19 crisis.

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First Day

I want to take a moment today — the first day of classes for this fall semester — to talk about what is precedented at The University of Texas: incredible learning opportunities, life-changing teaching and a sense of spirit and common purpose unlike any other.

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COVID-19 Testing and Plans for the Fall

On Wednesday, the fall semester officially begins. So many members of our university community have worked tirelessly to get us to this point, but I know a great deal of uncertainty still looms as we aim to carry forward our vital learning, teaching and research missions during these difficult times.

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More Plans for the Fall Semester

We’re just a week away from the start of classes, and I want to update you on additional plans and resources for the fall semester and some of the efforts we’re making to keep our students, staff and faculty safe.

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Getting Ready for the Fall Semester

Thousands of UT faculty and staff members are hard at work preparing for the start of the fall semester. Many students are beginning to return to Austin for on-campus learning, while many others are setting up for immersive remote learning at home.

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COVID-19 Testing for Fall Semester

We are writing you today to share the university’s comprehensive testing strategy for COVID-19 during the fall semester, which is only a few weeks away. Robust and rigorous testing will be needed to monitor and limit the presence of COVID-19 on our campus and keep our community members as safe as possible as we continue to navigate the pandemic.

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Fall 2020 Planning Update | July 29

It’s hard to believe, but we’re only a month away from the start of the fall semester. I know that this summer break has been anything but ordinary. 

KEEP READING: Fall 2020 Planning Update | July 29
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A More Diverse and Welcoming Campus

During the past month, I have listened to — and spoken with — scores of students about how The University of Texas at Austin can promote diversity, inclusion and equity and fully support our Black students.

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UT Staff Member Dies from COVID-19

Last night, I received extremely sad news confirming the COVID-19-related death of one of our custodial services team members. This loss is absolutely devastating to me, as I know it is to so many members of our campus community.

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Fall 2020 Reopening Plans

Today, the university is releasing key elements of our plan for the fall semester, which will include online, hybrid and in-person learning options for students. Our goal is to create an environment that is as safe as possible for all community members, while reigniting the learning, teaching and research that make our university the world-changing place that it is. 

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Fall 2020 Planning Update | June 23

As we move along into the final days of June, the university continues to solidify our plans for the fall. We are keeping a close eye on COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in Austin and across Texas, which have been on the rise in recent weeks. The disease remains a persistent threat, and our university community must continue to develop plans that are dynamic and adaptable so we can adjust quickly to future circumstances as they arise.

KEEP READING: Fall 2020 Planning Update | June 23
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Juneteenth

As many of you are aware, tomorrow is Juneteenth — which since 1865, has been widely celebrated as the official date marking the end of slavery in the United States. This holiday has deep Texas ties and, in fact, can be traced to the arrival of Union soldiers in Galveston on June 19, 1865. 

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Fall 2020 Planning Update | June 17

I know that many of you have been following the recent uptick in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in Austin and across Texas, and you are concerned about what it will mean for you, your families, our community and UT.

KEEP READING: Fall 2020 Planning Update | June 17
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Listening Closely and Moving Forward Together

During the past few days, I have heard from many students, alumni, faculty and staff asking for meaningful changes to promote diversity and equity and ensure that black students at UT are fully supported. It is important, first, for me to listen closely — and then to work with the entire community to develop a plan to move the university forward.

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Fall 2020 Planning Update | June 12

I am asking the leadership in all units across campus to look closely at the vital roles each staff member plays; assess what functions can still be done at a high level remotely through the summer and into the fall; determine what other roles should be brought back to campus once many of our students and faculty members return; and make phased decisions about when offices can safely reopen in person.

KEEP READING: Fall 2020 Planning Update | June 12
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Fall 2020 Planning Update | June 8

As we move along into the summer months, the university continues to solidify its plans for our reopening, and today, I wanted to share some additional updates...You can review all of our decisions regarding learning, living, working, health and wellness, research and athletics at our Fall 2020 planning website.

KEEP READING: Fall 2020 Planning Update | June 8
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Fall 2020 Planning Update | June 3

The university continues to plan for the fall semester, when we will return to campus and continue the learning, teaching and research that has defined this great university for 137 years. Today, I’d like to share a few key updates with you about our summer and fall plans.

KEEP READING: Fall 2020 Planning Update | June 3
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Turbulent and Difficult Times

Now more than ever, I see that the creation and dissemination of knowledge are the most effective antidotes for injustice, inequality and intolerance, and for the advancement and improvement of our society. And that’s what we do at UT.

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Fall 2020 Planning Update | May 20

The fall semester will begin as scheduled on August 26, and classes will run until Thanksgiving. Students will not return after Thanksgiving and, instead, will participate in reading days and final exams remotely. With COVID-19 still expected to be active this fall, we hope to avoid the possibility of students becoming infected during the Thanksgiving break and then spreading the virus to classmates upon their return after Thanksgiving.

KEEP READING: Fall 2020 Planning Update | May 20
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Second Phase of Financial Mitigation Measures

Today, we are announcing the next phase of financial mitigation measures. Revenue-generating units will now be directed to develop new financial plans with the Provost’s and CFO’s offices to contain costs where needed.

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Fall 2020 Planning Update | May 12

As we near the end of the spring semester, the university has established six working groups to plan for the upcoming fall semester...Below, you will find a brief summary from each of the working groups, followed by additional news and policy announcements. We plan to regularly provide you with similar updates in the weeks ahead.

KEEP READING: Fall 2020 Planning Update | May 12
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Celebrating the Last Day of Class

To all UT students — you have truly made the best of a crisis that no Longhorns have ever had to endure before, and you did it with all of the spirit and passion that has defined our university for over 130 years. We couldn’t be prouder. 

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Fall Planning Update

The university leadership team is currently coordinating six campus-wide working groups — focused on Academics, Health and Wellness, Student Life, Operations, Research, and Athletics — to develop strategies for the fall. Their insights and recommendations will shape the specific decisions we make about how to safely open the Forty Acres.

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New UT Leadership Start Dates

Earlier this month, Chairman Kevin Eltife of the UT System Board of Regents and Chancellor James B. Milliken announced that Jay Hartzell — Dean of the McCombs School of Business — will serve as interim President of The University of Texas at Austin. I am writing to let you know that Dean Hartzell will begin in that role on June 1. 

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Texas Reopening Order

For the coming weeks, UT will continue to operate in its current mode. We will maintain online learning and limited on-campus operations for now, as we have since mid-March. Those employees who have been working remotely should continue to do so. In addition, we are assessing how we can reopen more research laboratories and will keep you updated on those decisions.

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Planning for the Fall Semester

We know that this is a semester like no other. It has been challenging and uncertain. Yet what every Longhorn also knows is that our community of students, faculty and staff is also like no other. Your imagination, spirit, energy and passion are leading us forward, and we sincerely thank you for all that you are doing for The University of Texas.

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Summer Instruction and Other Mitigation Plans

For now, unfortunately, the spread of COVID-19 persists, and we are beginning to understand the economic ramifications. University leaders – with input from student leaders, faculty members and staff members – are developing plans to address the uncertainty. 

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Mitigation Plans During COVID-19 Crisis

For now, unfortunately, the spread of COVID-19 persists, and we are beginning to understand the economic ramifications. University leaders – with input from faculty members, students and staff members – are developing mitigation plans that will be needed because we anticipate both reduced revenue for the university and increased emergency needs for students.

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A Leadership Announcement from President Fenves and Dean Jay Hartzell

This afternoon, University of Texas System Board of Regents Chairman Kevin Eltife announced that the Board and Chancellor James B. Milliken have selected Jay Hartzell — Dean of the McCombs School of Business — as interim President of The University of Texas at Austin.

KEEP READING: A Leadership Announcement from President Fenves and Dean Jay Hartzell