Dear Carolina Community,
As we begin the first weeks of classes, we experience the excitement of being back together on campus, connecting with new and old friends and attending classes. In so doing, we experience the richness of new cultures, identities and activities that will shape our lives in multiple ways.
This month we observe Latinx Heritage Month, celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens who are Hispanic and Latinx and whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America. While we recognize the contributions and legacy of these individuals, we cannot overlook the barriers and injustices that many still face.
The undocumented confront discrimination and have few protections. Even those who are born in the United States have lower employment rates, lower homeownership rates, and lower educational attainment rates. The Latinx community experiences challenges that affect their educational experience and graduation rates more profoundly than virtually any other group.
However, here at UNC, we are fortunate to have the support and guidance of the Carolina Latinx Center (CLC). It is a welcoming space on campus that provides community for our students, faculty, staff and community at large. The Center hosts more than 30 events and encompasses nearly three dozen student organizations with more than 400 participating students. CLC also provides members of the UNC community with opportunities to explore Latinx culture, histories and traditions through research, teaching and service.
In the upcoming school year, members of our community will observe many different cultural, religious, and historical traditions. Carolina is truly a global community (the Class of 2025 hails from 98 countries), with members of numerous faith communities who observe various religious holidays. This month, for example, we will celebrate Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, as well as Paryushana Parva and Ganesh Chaturthi. These observances highlight the diversity of the members of our University community and the richness that it brings to our learning and our lives.
As the fall semester is underway, it is imperative that we remember this as we provide an inclusive experience for all faculty, staff and students. It is also worth noting that EOC policy prohibits discrimination based on protected status, which includes religion. Therefore, be sure, when scheduling testing or official events that they do not fall upon religious holidays.
We encourage community members to visit the inclusive calendar https://diversity.unc.edu/about/holidays/ and feel free to connect with UODI when you need support.
It is important to remember to be respectful, supportive and inclusive to all members of our community. This is how we will continue to “build our community together.”
Leah Cox, PhD
Vice Provost for Equity & Inclusion/
Chief Diversity Officer