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A message from the Chief Diversity Officer


Dear Carolina Community,

I want to take this opportunity to introduce myself and to share my excitement about becoming a part of the Carolina family.

As I enter my third week on campus, I have had the opportunity to meet with several members of our community and to hear about some of the challenges and successes that mark UNC’s history. I have also witnessed the passion and pride that so many members of this community feel for this institution. One thing has quickly become apparent in the many conversations, messages, emails and texts that I have received: This is an institution invested in creating a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive Carolina.

In more than three decades as a DEI professional, I have learned many things, but the one that is perhaps most important is that creating a more equitable and inclusive community is not about the quick fix or a flashy substitution. It takes real work, over time, and the courage and fortitude to forge ahead when progress stalls and even the most modest goals seem unattainable. Change is difficult, threatening, and uncomfortable. But over time, if enough people come together in common purpose around important goals with both passion and determination, change is possible.

As we return for the fall semester, I am reminded of the diligent collaboration and cooperation that has gotten us through the COVID-19 closures. The demonstration of caring amongst members of the Carolina community was impressive and a testament to our resilience.

I am looking forward to continuing to meet with and hear from you. It is my sincere hope that we will engage the work ahead on topics such as oppression, racism, injustice, discrimination, gender inequities, ableism, political ideologies and sexual identities, that we will all be willing to participate in difficult, but courageous conversations. An example of this is the upcoming Race, Racism & Racial Equity (R3) Symposium on Sept. 9, which will address environmental injustice and its impact on underrepresented communities. We invite you to participate in this difficult, but important dialogue. Coming together to share our varying and valuable points of view is how we will create the more inclusive Carolina that we all want to see.

Warm regards,

Leah Cox

Vice Provost for Equity & Inclusion/
Chief Diversity Officer

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