Warm, socially-distanced hugs all around

Dear Texas Woman’s Community,

I hope this message finds you well somewhere under this blanket of snow. Here we are with another test of our resolve to persevere as a community through uncertainties and losses.

We are becoming experts at recalibrating expectations, infusing levity into our virtual interactions, and generally holding onto one another for support in times of anxiety, fear, and grief.

One colleague sent me a text to say that while he might not have water, at least he has plenty of hand sanitizer. Another says she will begin hoarding candles after this ordear. Still another colleague has been without any power for more than two days, huddling with his family in a single room under piles of blankets and hopeful prayers.

On the Denton campus, we have burst pipes in several buildings, including residential halls that forced some students to relocate amidst the bitter cold—shout out to housing personnel and campus police for their help. Our chefs’ and food services’ intermittent electricity has complicated on-campus students’ access to their expected hot meals. Almost everyone is experiencing rolling blackouts if any electricity, and Houston officials have issued a boil water notice.

To say things are not okay is an understatement. I have seen reports on news outlets of those who have lost loved ones in automobile accidents and even from exposure. My heart grieves with those lost ones’ families and friends. I also realize the pandemic does not pause for inclement weather but rather compounds the challenges.

What we need now is time to not only manage our lives and keep ourselves and loved ones safe but to rebuild from the ripple effects of this storm. To this end, my team has decided we will close all three campuses at least through Friday. Keep tuned to your Pioneer Alerts for the latest.

The 'She Gave Us Wings' statue on the Denton campus coated with snow as more snow falls around it.

Some colleagues in facilities, public safety, housing and dining, and technology have worked—and continue to work—through all these ‘snow’ days. One on the risk management team started at about two o’clock in the morning on Tuesday, addressing fire alarms, sprinklers, and generators on campus while his own home’s pipes froze. His is just one of the many stories of our community members’ service to others.

I know the rest of the university joins me in offering a huge THANK YOU to those working to keep our residential students safe, our buildings from freezing up—as much as possible, and computer networks and data centers operational. You have faced malfunctioning generators, freezing fuel tanks, and many untold woes. I have a renewed sense of how interconnected we are in our service of Texas Woman’s mission when I see your many efforts, dedication, and self-sacrifice these past few days—a million thank yous!

Finally, I want to close with some hopeful news that will give some brightness to the light at the end of this cold tunnel. Though we postponed the board meeting, I am still slated to testify before the Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday morning in Austin. On behalf of the entire board, Board Chair Jester and Board Vice-Chair Wu have asked me to explore the potential for Texas Woman’s University to become a university system during this legislative session: “After more than half a century of significant contributions to the State of Texas in three major cities, we believe the time has come for Texas Woman’s to formalize its three-campus operations as a university system.” I believe the benefits are many for the future of Texas Woman’s University and the state broadly, although there would be no immediate changes apart from protecting our identity as an institution and establishing the only university system in the nation with a woman focus—more on these and other benefits later.

For now, I hope this bit of news warms your hearts as you find ways to make it through ‘Snowzapalooza’ 2021. As I noted earlier in the pandemic: we may be in the same storm, but each of us is in a very different boat…er...sled? Again, I want to thank you for your many expressions of compassion and patience as we persevere through to the warmth predicted for this weekend. When the time comes, we will rebuild for a better future. For now, I send my warmest wishes for health and safety—virtual, socially-distanced hugs all around.

With a pioneering spirit,

Carine M. Feyten, Ph.D.
Chancellor and President

Page last updated 10:44 AM, February 25, 2021