March 30, 2017
Dear UT Community,
I have written to you several times in recent months because the world, and our university, are facing many challenges. By asking tough questions and developing solutions to difficult problems, we can work together to best advance our education and research missions.
UT students, along with many faculty members and staff members, are making their voices heard in daily discussions both inside and outside of classrooms and through online forums and social media. I thank all of you for your participation and for sharing your views.
Earlier this month, UT released a Hate and Bias Incident Policy to address discrimination, bigotry and intolerance on our campus. Last Friday, we released a comprehensive survey that details the prevalence of sexual assault and misconduct at our university.
Today, we are taking another step by releasing the University Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan (UDIAP).
The purpose of this plan is to establish clear guidelines for how the university can provide an exemplary experience for students, faculty members and staff members of all backgrounds. It is a blueprint that sets goals and outlines steps for the future. The action plan calls on the efforts of our UT community to bring these guidelines and practices to life.
It’s important to note that a number of the initiatives described in the plan have already been implemented. Since I became president in 2015, my administration has worked to promote diversity and inclusion and combat hatred and intolerance. The UDIAP is a crystallization of the policies we’ve already put into action, along with new efforts that we will undertake in the future.
The initiatives in the plan include:
- Implementing a diverse faculty recruitment plan.
- Investing in student housing to provide a common first-year experience for freshmen.
- Leveraging existing partnerships with Texas high schools to recruit students from underrepresented groups from across the state.
- Expanding and strengthening the counseling and mental health diversity initiative.
The core purpose of The University of Texas at Austin is to transform lives for the benefit of society. We cannot carry out that purpose until every person in our community is included and treated equitably.
This plan is a step toward that goal, but there is much work to be done if we are to ensure our future progress.
Gregory L. Fenves