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Message from the VP: Cultivating an Inclusive Campus

By Jessica Sinn

Dr. LaToya Smith

Dear UT Community,

I am writing to share how The University of Texas at Austin is working to cultivate an inclusive campus climate after the Dec. 22, 2020 settlement agreement with the organization Speech First to discontinue the Campus Climate Response Team (CCRT).

The CCRT was started in 2012 as a university-wide resource team that received reports of incidents impacting the university community and compiled reports based on that data. Its disbanding provides an opportunity for the university to reimagine how to encourage an inclusive campus culture while upholding its commitment to freedom of expression. Input from members of our community will be vital.

The Division of Diversity and Community Engagement is working with experts at UT Austin and other institutions of higher education to gather input with the goal of developing new ways to support our university community. I should note that this will be an entirely different approach, not a newer version of the CCRT.

In the short-term, the Office for Inclusion and Equity is available to advise you regarding what types of things (policy and rule violations) the university can address and where you can report those matters. This website provides many resources for students, faculty and staff as well as a concern submission form. If you have additional questions about the OIE’s resources or advising process please contact oie-info@austin.utexas.edu.

UT Austin remains steadfast in its commitment to cultivating an inclusive and respectful campus community while protecting freedom of expression. I invite you to use this form to share your ideas about how the university can promote an inclusive culture moving forward. I will review your input and send another announcement at the end of the spring semester with information about our new approach. I look forward to reviewing your insights.

Sincerely,

LaToya Smith, Ph.D.

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Vice President, Division of Diversity and Community Engagement
Assistant Professor of Practice, Department of Educational Leadership and Policy