Feb. 28, 2024

Dear University Community, 

Yesterday afternoon, I had the privilege of meeting with a number of UNLV students during the annual president’s mental health town hall in the Student Union.

During the event, we discussed a variety of stress management techniques and coping skills, our wellness team shared available resources, and – perhaps most importantly – we checked in on one another. It can be easy sometimes to push our feelings aside and move through the paces of the day, or the semester. Yesterday’s town hall was a good reminder of how important it is to stop once in a while to assess how we’re doing, and to seek help if it’s needed. I extend my thanks to all of the students who participated, and to the dedicated faculty, staff, and student leaders who made the event possible. I want to do more of these in the near future.  

My leadership team continues to assess and evaluate how we’ll move forward for the remainder of the semester and for the next academic year. Some of these decisions are complex and will take time and money. One encouraging prospect we’re currently looking into is a software program that manages locks remotely. This solution is compatible with our current lock management system and would give faculty the ability to lock many classrooms and lecture halls from their cell phone. 

We want to be thoughtful in all of our approaches and get input from the campus, too. The next “all-hands” meeting for faculty and staff is scheduled for 9 a.m. on April 15 in the Student Union Ballroom. The focus of the meeting will largely consist of updates from campus leadership on the Rebel Recovery Program. Supervisors are asked to keep this time frame free of other meetings and commitments, and if possible, allow everyone who is interested to attend. For those unable to attend, the meeting will be livestreamed and we’ll post a recording online. More details to follow. 

Rebel Recovery Updates

  • The Committee on Campus Security and Safety continues to meet bi-weekly to review current practices and recommend immediate and long-term enhancements. They’ve created topic-specific subcommittees and will post regular updates online along with an intake form for feedback or suggestions. We’ll send an update when the webpage is live, but in the meantime the university community is invited to share their questions, concerns, and ideas with the committee by emailing ccss@unlv.edu
  • As we near the midpoint of the spring semester, I remind instructors that online resources related to trauma-informed teaching have been developed by our Faculty Center and faculty experts. This includes Professor Kaitlin Clinnin, who hosted a workshop in January and shared several practices that instructors can use anytime to maintain a productive learning environment while supporting students through a unique and challenging semester. 
  • Nearly 320 individuals and organizations have given over $260,000 since Dec. 6 to support memorial scholarships in honor of Professors Chang, Navarro Velez, and Takemaru. All three scholarships will be endowed, which will allow us to honor the memories of our cherished colleagues and further their legacy of student support for years to come. 

Support for these scholarships is just one of the many ways our community continues to rally around our university as we move forward in our recovery and build a stronger UNLV together. If you have stories of kindness you’ve experienced, or words of gratitude or encouragement for your colleagues, please share them with us or visit the UNLV Strong website to learn more. 

We’re making progress, together, and it’s an honor to serve as UNLV’s president and to be a part of such a caring and resilient community. 

Warm Regards, 
President Keith E. Whitfield, Ph.D.