May. 6, 2024

Dear University Community,

I know we’re all hard at work preparing for the end of the spring semester this week. As we continue to advance in many phases of our Rebel Recovery, I wanted to primarily focus this message on gratitude.

Over the past five months, every member of our university community has gone above and beyond their normal professional roles to support our students and colleagues. In doing so, you’ve shown what it truly means to be UNLV Strong.

Our campus safety professionals and mental health staff have worked exhaustively, proving time and again what it means to be there for one another. Our facilities and custodial teams helped put our campus back together and their continuing work reminds us every day of what a beautiful place we have to come to work. Our academic leaders, administrative faculty, and classified staff have ensured stability of campus operations and have contributed in almost every facet of our Rebel Recovery program. And our faculty and support staff have adopted trauma-informed teaching and care practices and have shown tremendous grace and compassion in helping our students, and one another, persevere and complete this academic year.

As a small token of my thanks for all you have done and continue to do in support of our university, I will be sending every member of the UNLV academic and administrative faculty, and classified staff, a “UNLV Gratitude Coin.” The coins will be distributed in phases beginning this week and into early June. I also intend to share coins with members of the Southern Nevada community and state who offered help and support during our time of need.

You may recall the first two coins were given during last month’s “all-hands” meeting to UPD officers Nathaniel Drum and Damian Garcia for their heroism on Dec. 6. Members of our BEH faculty and staff also received coins during a small ceremony last Friday, and the remainder will be shared beginning this week via campus mail to departments for internal distribution. My thanks to the team in Integrated Graphics Services for their beautiful design and work to secure the coins, and to the Delivery Services team for their help in ensuring the coins reach our faculty and staff.

Additional Rebel Recovery Updates

  • Applications are now being accepted for the Rebel Recovery Mental Health Reimbursement Program. The program will provide reimbursements up to $1,500 for qualifying payments for mental health services, including deductibles, direct payments, co-insurance, and co-pays. Visit the program webpage for more details and to submit a reimbursement claim.
  • The Campus Security and Safety Committee has created a campus wide survey to gather input about current and future safety-related training opportunities at UNLV. The web-based survey is open to faculty, staff, and students through May 17. I encourage you to participate. The committee has also established a webpage to track its progress on efforts to review and suggest improvements to related infrastructure, communications, and training activities. The committee will produce a report with formal recommendations soon.
  • We continue to work with the NSHE Security and Safety Committee and await the committee’s recommendation on locks for classroom doors that are universally functional and meet code. Additionally, our facilities team has engaged contractors who have begun permanent repairs to doors and door frames damaged on Dec. 6. Work in teaching, learning, research, and study spaces will occur outside of normal business hours, and most welding will take place outdoors.

As we look forward to commencement and recognition ceremonies throughout the week and into the weekend, I’m reminded of how far we’ve come as individuals – and as a university – in our recovery over the past five months. We still have work to do in every phase of our recovery, and we’ll continue to make progress on our path over the summer and in preparation for the fall semester. But I encourage everyone to take some time this summer to rest, to reflect, and to be proud of all you have accomplished this spring.

Rebel Recovery isn’t just about one person or group – it includes all of us – and I remain grateful for your contributions and for being a part of our UNLV family.

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