UTSA - The University of Texas at San Antonio

12/01/2023 | News release | Distributed by Public on 12/02/2023 05:00

SB 17 impacts the UTSA Office of Inclusive Excellence

DECEMBER 1, 2023- Editor's note: The following message was sent today via email from President Taylor Eighmy to all faculty, staff and students at UTSA:

Earlier this month, we shared the latest on UTSA's Program, Activity and Initiative Review (PAIR) process regarding Senate Bill 17 (SB 17). In that message, my colleagues noted I would provide the future vision and plans for the Office of Inclusive Excellence as a separate, independent initiative. I'm writing today to share a new path ahead that upholds the law while still advancing our core values to ensure a welcoming, collaborative and supportive environment where all faculty, staff and students can thrive.

As you know, Senate Bill 17 goes into effect on January 1, 2024 and charges college and university governing boards with ensuring that diversity, equity and inclusion offices are not maintained or upheld. As a result, effective January 1, UTSA's Office of Inclusive Excellence will be closed.

A new office-the Office of Campus and Community Belonging-will be established to enhance our university's mission and create unique opportunities for faculty, staff and students. The new office will focus on three pillars: ADA & Accessibility, Campus Climate, and Community Partnership Bridges.

The office's first pillar, ADA and Accessibility, will serve as the university's focal point to coordinate and connect established campus-wide systems, programs and processes designed to support accessibility for our community members. The second pillar, Campus Climate, will take a proactive approach to maintaining a welcoming environmentto enhance the student, staff and faculty experience. Lastly, the third pillar, Community Partnership Bridges, will work to increase access to higher education for community members across San Antonio. A plan to support this pillar will be implemented in the coming year.

Importantly, the individuals who previously served in the Office of Inclusive Excellence will now have new roles with updated responsibilities to support the Office of Campus and Community Belonging's purpose, goals and services. People Excellence is working closely with our colleagues impacted by these changes to ensure a smooth transition, and I encourage you to stay engaged with campus leaders to address any concerns.

I appreciate all the hard work that has gone into the development of our newest office and know it will provide valuable benefits to our community. We remain committed to aligning our values with our regulatory environment to uphold the well-being and belonging of all faculty, staff and students.

Together, we can continue paving pathways to success while maintaining a welcoming and supportive environment to all.