Apr. 15, 2024

Dear University Community, 

It was great to see faculty, staff, and students earlier today at our last all-hands meeting of the semester. I know this is an especially busy time as we prepare for commencement and place the finishing touches on an academic year that certainly didn’t go how any of us would have expected back in August. 

When I launched the Rebel Recovery program in January, we were all still reeling from the events of a month prior and understandably unsure about how the spring semester would go. Now, as I reflect on the past three months, I’m incredibly proud of how our faculty and staff have rallied together to support our students and one another this spring, and how our students have exhibited kindness and compassion toward their peers and professors. 

I’ve said this before, but it’s worth repeating: the recovery process is different for everyone, and it’s vital that we remember that in all of our interactions on campus. Visits from students to our Counseling and Psychological Services team are up more than 10% this spring, and that’s in addition to the nearly 60 outreach events and workshops that have served thousands.

Visits to all of our campus care providers have risen quite a bit this spring, and our support team deserves our thanks for their unwavering dedication and service to those at UNLV who have been most impacted. 

Mental Health Reimbursement Program
I know that some of our employees have experienced challenges accessing and/or paying for mental health services following the Dec. 6 tragedy. With that in mind, we’ve created a one-time Mental Health Reimbursement Program to allow every member of our university community impacted by the tragedy to have access to mental health care. 

The program will reimburse qualifying payments for mental health services up to $1,500, including deductibles, co-pays, and co-insurance. The application process will open May 1, and Human Resources will share additional details and eligibility requirements later this month. I also encourage everyone to participate in the well-being survey that was shared by our Well-Being Task Force on Friday. Responses are anonymous, and your feedback will ensure that future programming is aligned with the needs of our community. 

Campus Memorial Update
The Faculty Senate-led Memorial Committee has selected a site for a memorial healing garden in honor of our faculty colleagues who perished on Dec. 6. The location selected is adjacent to the Xeric Garden in the heart of our campus, near the Harry Reid Center and across from Hospitality Hall. The committee is in the process of working with our Planning & Construction team to work out specifics, including construction details and a timeline. I appreciate the care and attention that every member of this committee has shown toward honoring our colleagues, and I look forward to more recommendations as the committee discusses its work with the entire Faculty Senate and me.  

Honoring UPD Officers
Next month, University Police Services Detective Nathaniel Drum and Officer Damian Garcia will be honored by the statewide James D. Hoff Peace Officer Memorial Committee for their swift and heroic actions during the Dec. 6 shooting. The selfless actions of these officers undoubtedly saved lives, and they’ll be honored for their bravery and receive Officer Survivor plaques from the organization in early May. It was my honor to have recognized Det. Drum and Officer Garcia today during the all-hands meeting when Vice President of Public Safety Adam Garcia and I presented them each with a newly minted “UNLV Gratitude Coin” for their immeasurable contributions. 

I envision this will be the first of many well-deserved honors for these officers, and other UPD officers and first responders from throughout Southern Nevada, who rushed to our aid on Dec. 6 and continue to serve and protect our community every day. 

As we enter the homestretch of the semester, I’m thankful for the hard work and dedication of so many on and off campus who have contributed their time and talents to our Rebel Recovery process. But the work is far from over. The safety and well-being of every member of our university family will continue to guide our efforts and actions, and I encourage everyone to stay focused on your important work as we finish this semester UNLV Strong

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