(March 29, 2018) -- As campuses across the nation become venues for intense and partisan debate, universities are forming teams to protect students from being targeted for their beliefs or backgrounds while supporting the freedoms of speech, expression and assembly. The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) joined this growing national action in November with the creation of a Campus Climate Team. The team actively addresses bias incidents and their impact on the university community. More than 230 such teams exist at universities around the country.
Bias incidents are events that involve or may involve the targeting of an individual or group based on their protected characteristic(s) such as race, color, ethnicity, national origin, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, age or religion, or their political views and affiliations.
Although UTSA condemns hate speech, it recognizes that most forms of offensive speech are protected by the First Amendment. Despite these protections, UTSA has zero tolerance for harassment. An individual may not be coerced, intimidated or badgered into viewing, listening to or accepting any communication.
The UTSA Campus Climate Team monitors, reports and assesses response to incidents that occur on campus in violation of the university’s freedom of expression policies. While registered student organizations are permitted to distribute literature expressing various opinions, non-affiliated individuals or organizations are not allowed to place materials on campus.
In recent months, outside groups have come onto UTSA campuses and posted unauthorized stickers, flyers and banners. Last week, the Campus Climate Team identified and removed unauthorized flyers placed on campus by representatives of the Horowitz Freedom Center. Action by the team, in coordination with the UTSA Police Department’s review of camera footage, identified a non-affiliated person responsible for posting the flyers. A criminal trespass warning was subsequently issued and violation of the warning could lead to arrest.
“Our first priority is the safety of our students, faculty, staff and visitors,” said UTSA President Taylor Eighmy. “While the university recognizes the importance of the freedoms of speech, expression and assembly, it does not tolerate speech that violates freedom of expression policies, attempts to incite illegal action or puts individuals at physical risk.”
Members of the UTSA Campus Climate Team, appointed by Eighmy, include:
As a limited public forum, UTSA students, faculty and staff may peaceably assemble on the university’s three campuses, provided they do not disrupt the university’s educational mission or its ongoing programs or operations. Permitted activities include petitioning, displaying signs, distributing literature, setting up tables and exhibits and/or peacefully demonstrating.
Registered student, faculty and staff organizations, and academic and administrative units, may also invite guest speakers to campus, provided they schedule the guest speaker with the university’s Events Management and Conference Services office. This process includes the reservation of space when a venue is needed.
The UTSA Campus Climate Team will actively notify the campus community of situations that have the potential to pose a concern to campus safety while keeping in mind that outside groups often have a goal of gaining publicity by posting unauthorized materials on a university campus. A public-facing website, where all on-campus incidents are recorded, is being developed to give the university community a single comprehensive source for accurate information. It will include an online form for reporting concerns to the Campus Climate Team, enhancing UTSA’s ability to systematically identify and respond to campus incidents.
The UTSA Campus Climate Team is also coordinating with other campus and student organizations to host forums related to freedom of expression, the exchange of diverse ideas and opinions, and peaceful assembly.
Emerging artists work in the full range of traditional methods and materials as well as in interdisciplinary and new media. Themes range from social and cultural critique to investigations that are challenging and exquisite explorations in creative form and image.UTSA Art Gallery, Arts Building, Main Campus
Juan Vallejo’s art conveys his experience as a childhood migrant worker. Opening reception: Thurs, Dec. 5, 6–9 p.m. Free and open to the public.UTSA Terminal 136, Blue Star Arts Complex, 136 Blue St., San Antonio
Portions of Cook Road will be closed for construction related to the new Student Success Center project and Americans with Disabilities Act sidewalk upgrades.Cook Road, Main Campus
Out of the violence comes a silence, then a song. Thus begins an extraordinary night of camaraderie, music and peace. A remarkable true experience, told in the words and songs of the men who lived it. UTSA partners with The Public Theater for this event. Contact the theater at (210) 458-3288 for scheduling requests.Buena Vista Theater, Downtown Campus
Forty-six modular units will be delivered to Main Campus as part of the new Student Success Center project. The units will enter campus at Brennan Avenue and will travel to their final destination, south of the North Paseo Building and Graduate School and Research Building via Tobin Avenue, Bauerle Road and Devine Avenue.Brennan Avenue, Tobin Avenue, Bauerle Road, Devine Avenue, Main Campus
Enjoy two classic holiday performances. Children’s Ballet of San Antonio will present two of The Nutcracker. Our Lady of Guadalupe Church will perform a traditional Pastorela play, a morality tale about shepherds going to Bethlehem and the snares the devil uses to dissuade them. Performances are included with regular ITC admission.UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures, 801 E. César E. Chavez Blvd., San Antonio
Celebrating graduating students from the College of Engineering and the College of Liberal and Fine Arts. Guest speaker: Susan Pape '86, chairman of the San Antonio Express-News.Alamodome, 100 Montana St., San Antonio
The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.
To be a premier public research university, providing access to educational excellence and preparing citizen leaders for the global environment.
We encourage an environment of dialogue and discovery, where integrity, excellence, inclusiveness, respect, collaboration and innovation are fostered.