Thursday, January 4, 2024

UTSA leadership provides updates on review process related to SB 17

UTSA leadership provides updates on review process related to SB 17

NOVEMBER 15, 2023 — Editor’s note: The following message was sent today via email from Interim Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Heather Shipley, Chief Enterprise Development Officer and Senior Vice President for Business Affairs Veronica Salazar and Chief of Staff and Senior Vice President for Institutional Strategic Planning, Compliance Risk Management and Office Operations Carlos Martinez to all faculty, staff and students:

We’re writing to provide updates on UTSA’s Senate Bill 17 (SB 17) Program, Activity and Initiative Review (PAIR) process. In October, we shared progress made to bring all university programming into compliance with the new law by January 1, 2024. We asked the PAIR Team to engage with a campus-wide stakeholder working group to gather programming related to diversity, equity and inclusion activities. That effort resulted in the identification of more than 300 submissions.

Throughout the process, we’ve continually engaged with Faculty Senate, Staff Senate, Student Government Association and other campus organizations to keep our community informed. We’ve also met with the PAIR Team regularly to consider each submission in light of the law and continuing guidance from the Office of General Counsel at UT System.

After extensive evaluation, we finalized the determinations regarding each submission’s exemption, modification or suggested discontinuation. This review was shared with President Taylor Eighmy for final consideration and approval has been obtained. Notably, the review process determined that nearly half of all the items submitted may continue without change or revision and only 10% of items submitted will not be permitted to continue under SB 17.

Our next step in the process involves notifying those who submitted an activity, program or initiative. This morning, each stakeholder that submitted an item received an email notification that provided the evaluative results and suggested an approach to ensure the matter is compliant by the deadline. Items requiring revisions or modifications will be addressed by the unit lead, who will be supported by their respective faculty and staff. Since the law includes provisions to ensure compliance, unit leaders and their responsible dean, vice provost or vice president must attest that revisions or modification have/will be made. To ensure accountability, UTSA will also conduct an internal audit of our activities in the new year.

Lastly, another important component of UTSA’s compliance with SB 17 is the status of the Office of Inclusive Excellence. As that office is responsible for our community’s diversity, equity and inclusion efforts, it will be impacted by the law; however, we remain committed to ensuring jobs are not lost in this process. President Eighmy will soon share a separate update on the status of that office and provide next steps for the vision of the future of that division.

As always, we encourage you to stay engaged by visiting our SB 17 website for regular updates. We remain grateful for your ongoing support and stand committed to free expression and academic freedom to uphold the core values that make our campus community so special.

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UTSA’s Mission

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.

UTSA’s Vision

To be a premier public research university, providing access to educational excellence and preparing citizen leaders for the global environment.

UTSA’s Core Values

We encourage an environment of dialogue and discovery, where integrity, excellence, inclusiveness, respect, collaboration and innovation are fostered.

UTSA’S Destinations

UTSA is a proud Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) as designated by the U.S. Department of Education .

Our Commitment to Inclusivity

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 promoting access for all. UTSA, a premier public research university, fosters academic excellence through a community of dialogue, discovery and innovation that embraces the uniqueness of each voice.