At UCF, we have long been proud of our students’ diversity. It is one of the qualities that continues to draw people to our university.

Since arriving at UCF last spring, I have met and heard from many of you, listening to your stories and aspirations that our campus’ diversity is not just celebrated, but that inclusive excellence must be an integral part of our actions and plans for the future.

There has never been a more important time for us to tackle these issues together, with long-standing inequities and discrimination made more visible by the pandemic and the recent horrific violence further illuminating the systemic racism plaguing our society and impacting so many. The shootings of Salaythis Melvin in Orlando and Jacob Blake and protestors in Wisconsin add to the already significant pain.

As a country and a university, we must do better. And that will only happen when we lead with compassion and come together to work toward solutions.

President’s Student Advisory Council

That is one of the reasons I am creating a new President’s Student Advisory Council, which will be made up of 12 representatives to advise me on campus matters, first among them building a more inclusive culture at UCF. This group will be separate, but complementary, to our President’s Leadership Council in its role working with university leadership to elevate student voices.

Eight council members will be selected through their affiliation with various student coalitions on campus, including the Black Student Union, Latin American Student Association, Asian Pacific American Coalition, Pride Student Association, International Student Association, Graduate Student Association, Student Government and President’s Leadership Council.

Four additional students will be selected from a general application process open to the campus community. We are looking for representatives who are able to serve for one academic year and use their voices, skills and passion for UCF to participate in proactive discussions and work sessions that focus on identifying issues and solutions for our campus. Sessions will be held virtually so that students do not have to be on campus to participate.

How to Apply

Applicants should be in good standing with the university and will be selected, in part, based upon their ideas to drive UCF’s commitment to inclusion.

All interested students should apply by 5 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 4. Questions about the application process or council should be directed to Germayne Graham, director of the President’s Leadership Council.

Throughout the summer, we have encouraged you to speak out and help us build a culture of respect and civility that celebrates excellence through difference. UCF should be a place where anyone can be their true selves and be equally supported regardless of who they are, what they look like or what they believe.

In addition to the President’s Student Advisory Council, there are other ways to have your voice heard, including participating in the upcoming Student Campus Climate Conversationon Tuesday, Sept. 1, or joining one of UCF’s many student organizations that celebrate and advocate for our campus community, or by contacting my office directly.

Please know that we care about you. If you are struggling, never be afraid to ask for help. It is more important than ever that we come together to support each other to create a more inclusive and equitable community for all Knights.

With care and compassion,

President Alexander N. Cartwright