Office of the Chancellor

Notice: An Emphasis on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Efforts at UNCW


October 21, 2020

Dear Seahawk Community:

Last week, I participated in two important discussions focused on our efforts as a university community to enhance diversity, equity and inclusion on our campus. Both discussions – a Q&A session with faculty on Oct. 13 and a meeting with the Renewal and Change Accountability Committee on Oct. 16 – offered me the opportunity to listen to and learn from the faculty, Black student leaders, alumni and UNCW community leaders who care deeply about our institution and its future as a place where a multitude of voices are heard and valued, injustices and opportunities are addressed, and ideas are debated within an atmosphere of civility and mutual respect.

At both meetings, I was asked to communicate more clearly my commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. To clarify where I stand, let me state again, Black lives matter to me, both as a person and as Chancellor of this great university. I fully understand this fundamental human rights issue must be acknowledged as we grapple with our complex history and present reality as a nation and a city. It has always been my hope to work together, with you, in building a more substantial and inclusive community of scholars at UNCW. 

Some parts of last week’s conversations were difficult, both for me and for the individuals who voiced their concerns, but I found the discussions very meaningful. Listening to faculty, staff, students, parents, alumni, trustees, community leaders, donors and friends comes with the role of Chancellor, and I take that responsibility very seriously. I learned long ago that there is no magical approach to solving problems. Instead, it takes hard work, wide-ranging input from others, careful consideration of the facts at hand, and the fortitude to embed our university’s values into institutional structures such that those values outlast us all. 

Given the significant challenges the world has sent our way in recent months, I am incredibly proud of the entire UNCW team. The dedication and flexibility shown by this community is truly inspiring. I hope that, in leading through these difficult times, my focus and determination have not inadvertently increased tensions or despair for any members of our community. If they have, I apologize. Irrespective of my leadership style, I want the campus community to understand that I am willing to listen, learn, change and accept good ideas and real solutions from wherever they come.

Leading UNCW into the future is about creating the right team in support of the right plan and I very much want to construct bridges for each one of us to cross over as we work together to build a future for UNCW, its community and culture that fulfills our educational mission while more fully championing diversity, equity and inclusion.

I thank you for speaking. 

I am listening.

Sincerely yours,



Jose V. Sartarelli