Campus incident updates
As you wrap up your classes and work in preparation for a well-deserved winter break, I wanted to provide some updates regarding the various incidents that occurred on campus this semester.
The November 12 classroom incident and the subsequent concerns raised by students, faculty and staff illuminated the work we need to do to create a culture of inclusivity on campus. Our new Vice President for Inclusive Excellence Myron Anderson is already putting a framework into place to formalize the President’s Initiative for Diversity and Inclusion. In addition, we are hiring a nationally-recognized consultant to bring an external, independent perspective and assist us with developing a path forward to address the systemic challenges of implicit bias, racism and inequity. More information will be forthcoming in January.
In the meantime, we created a website on Diversity and Inclusion at UTSA to serve as a clearinghouse for resources, initiatives and updates. Of note, the site includes a clear, step-by-step guide for any member of our campus community who feels they have experienced some form of discrimination. This site will evolve over time as the initiative progresses.
The investigation launched as a result of the flyers posted regarding alleged sexual assaults/misconduct is well underway. Ice Miller, the law firm conducting this work, asks that anyone with relevant information contact them at UTSA_reports@icemiller.com or (317) 221-2810. Reports may be made anonymously. Ice Miller is not providing any legal advice to any of the involved parties. I will be sure to update you on the results of this investigation when we return for the spring semester.
If you haven’t done so already, please take a moment to review our Safe Campus website which serves as a centralized hub for the university’s services and resources on preventing sexual violence and harassment. A step-by-step guide has been added to offer clear guidance to any students, faculty or staff who experience or witness sexual misconduct. Our Interim Dean of Students LT Robinson is coordinating efforts to develop, through the campus-wide Violence Prevention Advisory Committee, student-centric strategies for survivor support, bystander intervention and sexual consent education.
Although the past few weeks have been challenging, these incidents have led to healthy dialogue and recognition of the long-term approaches needed to bring about cultural change. The events we experienced this semester are symptoms of larger, more systemic issues playing out across our country. They defy easy fixes, and they are too broad and too important to be the “job” of any one individual or campus office.
During these times of deep political, cultural and economic divides, I am especially grateful to work in a learning community committed to creating an inclusive and safe environment for all. We will need to do this work together, and the collaborative spirit I see in all of you gives me endless optimism regarding the journey.
Wishing you much joy and peace this holiday season,