This message was sent to College of Natural Sciences faculty, staff and graduate students at the semester's start.

A top priority of mine is for our community to instill in each individual member – student, staff or faculty – a sense that they are welcome, i.e., the knowledge that they belong and that their wellbeing as individuals matters a great deal here.

Last month marked the anniversary of the tragedy in Charlottesville that roiled another university town. It also brought the first start to a new academic year since the #MeToo movement made headlines around the world. If ever there were a time for approaching a new academic year with a reinvigorated commitment to furthering the respectful, inclusive climate that we want UT Austin to be known for, this is it. I feel confident you stand with me in this belief.

Whether we are students, staff or faculty members, this important work involves every one of us, so I urge you to recommit to doing your part. Here are some tangible ways to take action:

As we embark on a new academic year and introducing a new generation to the wonders of our scientific and mathematical adventures, I invite you to join me in affirming a simple idea to one another: Whomever you are, whatever your path to our diverse community, this is where you belong, and we shall unwaveringly stand with you.