Thursday, January 4, 2024

President Eighmy discusses preventing discrimination and upholding UTSA’s values

President Eighmy discusses preventing discrimination and upholding UTSA’s values

NOVEMBER 27, 2023 — Editor’s note: The following message was sent today via email from President Taylor Eighmy to all faculty, staff and students at UTSA:

Like so many of you, I am deeply disturbed by the violence and suffering occurring in the Middle East. The situation is of tragic proportion. Likewise, I am troubled when I look at how the conflict is manifesting itself with dramatic instances of antisemitism and Islamophobic discrimination across our country, including on our college campuses.

In times of great conflict, universities have always been a source of debate, discussion and action by students and scholars to make the world a better place. I personally believe public research universities have a responsibility to be at the forefront of this public discourse. As you know, we’ve recently had tabling activities, public displays and walkouts that reflect the various positions around the Middle East conflict. I am grateful that these events have been peaceful as well as embracing of our free speech principles.

UTSA values the debate of conflicting ideas and principles and remains steadfast in our commitment to freedom of speech and expression on our campuses in a manner that promotes dialogue and upholds the law. At the same time, however, all students—from regions around the world—are entitled to a campus that is both safe and free from discrimination based on race, color or national origin.

While opinions on the current conflict in the Middle East may vary, we have an obligation to ourselves, to our faculty, staff and students, and to the community to foster an environment where everyone is welcomed—regardless of their cultures, identities or backgrounds. UTSA is a place for everyone, and we do not waiver from our core values and the open exchange of ideas.

In that light, I’d like to share that Student Affairs will offer trainings in Spring 2024 to help students foster compassionate leadership and build skills for navigating difficult conversations as well as continue efforts to provide individual advocacy and workshops to enhance wellbeing. Further, Interim Provost Heather Shipley will work with the Honors College to bring forward a special academic pilot program for the spring semester on advancing respectful discourse.

UTSA leadership will continue working closely with campus and student organizations to foster an environment where you are supported to ensure all Roadrunners experience the positive, safe and welcoming campus experience they deserve. While we try to work through these tragic times, I encourage you to explore our support services. For students, Wellness360 and the Timely Care app offer same-day or next-day phone and video counseling sessions. For faculty and staff, counseling services are available through the Employee Assistance Program.

I believe we can rise above the hatred we are witnessing, reaffirming and reinforcing our values and creating a campus where discrimination and intolerance have no place. Please take care of yourself, and take care of one another.

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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.