(Feb. 20, 2018) -- Dear Roadrunners,
Over the past several years, a number of systemic issues of sexual misconduct on university campuses have come to light, most recently at Michigan State University.
Independently, these cases illustrate issues at specific institutions. Collectively, they suggest that important wake up calls may not be happening on many campuses.
A consistent factor at the universities where repeated incidents of sexual assault or harassment behavior occurred was an institutional culture which allowed for reporting to be ignored or to fall through the cracks. We cannot allow such a broken culture to develop here at UTSA.
My position on this issue is straightforward and unyielding: sexual misconduct of any kind is unacceptable, and we must adopt a community ethos of zero tolerance.
UTSA has already taken steps in the right direction. Last year, following the release of the CLASE survey results on the prevalence of sexual violence, sexual harassment and domestic violence on UT System campuses, Interim President Pedro Reyes created a task force on preventing sexual violence.
The task force, led by Melissa Hernandez, Associate Director of Counseling Services, and Bernard Arulanandam, Interim Vice President for Research, worked diligently to research best practices and make recommendations regarding the changes needed to help improve our campus culture. The task force’s final report was submitted to me in October, and soon thereafter I launched a new initiative to build on the report’s findings and recommendations.
As a result of these efforts, we have expanded the staffing resources needed to address sexual misconduct prevention and survivor advocacy.
UTSA’s Department of Title IX Services officially opened on February 12 with our new Director and Coordinator for Title IX Services Jessica Muniz at the helm. Jessica is a former UTSA employee who previously served as a Staff Clinician and Sexual Assault Program Advocate in Counseling Services, as well as a lecturer in the College of Public Policy. A soon-to-be-hired Confidential Advocate will join Jessica in the department, which is located on the 5th floor of the North Paseo Building.
The Department of Title IX Services will integrate sexual assault awareness and prevention initiatives into daily campus life, support individuals involved in sexual misconduct, harassment and violence cases, raise awareness of UTSA’s programs and services across campus, and coordinate expanded training for students, faculty and staff.
The Department of Title IX Services serves as a sister office to Equal Opportunity Services, which will continue to handle Title IX investigations. Both offices report to James Weaver, Executive Director of Institutional Compliance and Risk Services.
Additionally, the Student Ombudsperson will be available to provide advocacy and support for any respondents who request assistance.
Although these are significant steps, they in no way replace the personal responsibility we all have—as faculty and staff of this institution—to take an active role in cultivating a zero-tolerance environment for sexual misconduct.
I cannot overemphasize the importance of reporting concerns. If you witness or are aware of suspected sexual harassment, stalking, dating/domestic violence or unwanted sexual contact on our campus, take action by notifying your supervisor or calling the Office of Equal Opportunity Services. You can also report anonymously using UTSA’s hotline. We have safeguards in place to ensure your protection from retaliation and the fair treatment of all parties involved.
My thanks go to the entire task force for their excellent work, and to all of you for working to improve our culture and provide a safe atmosphere for all our students.
Come celebrate the doctoral students graduating this commencement season.H-E-B Student Union Ballrooms, UTSA Main Campus
Celebrate the accomplishments of the graduates of the College for Health, Community and Policy, College of Liberal and Fine Arts and College of Sciences.Alamodome, 100 Montana St, San Antonio, TX 78203
Celebrate the accomplishments of the graduates of the Carlos Alvarez College of Business, College of Education and Human Development, Margie and Bill Klesse College of Engineering and Integrated Design and University College.Alamodome, 100 Montana St, San Antonio, TX 78203
First Friday Stargazing gives anyone free access to the night sky using university telescopes and teaching equipment. Weather permitting, experienced astronomers will provide a handful of telescopes of varying designs, give training on how each operates, and point to various astronomical objects that may appear in the sky for that given time of the year. If you have a telescope and do not know how to operate it, feel free to bring it and get instructions on its use.4th Floor of Flawn Science Building, Main Campus
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.
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We encourage an environment of dialogue and discovery, where integrity, excellence, inclusiveness, respect, collaboration and innovation are fostered.
UTSA is a proud Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) as designated by the U.S. Department of Education.
The University of Texas at San Antonio, a Hispanic Serving Institution situated in a global city that has been a crossroads of peoples and cultures for centuries, values diversity and inclusion in all aspects of university life. As an institution expressly founded to advance the education of Mexican Americans and other underserved communities, our university is committed to ending generations of discrimination and inequity. UTSA, a premier public research university, fosters academic excellence through a community of dialogue, discovery and innovation that embraces the uniqueness of each voice.