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  • Writer's pictureWest Fund

utep deserves better

You may not know, but I’ve been working on my graduate degree in Sociology at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP). Juggling a full-time job, responsibilities for West Fund, and school work has been challenging to say the least.

I’ve enjoyed my time at UTEP, however, with the recent nomination of Dr. Heather Wilson to be the next president of my school, I feel insulted, outraged, and hurt.

Texas is a hard state to live in, particularly as a queer woman of color, as a person who has had an abortion, and as someone who lives on the border. I’ve always taken comfort in the fact that I live in El Paso, a beautiful community that welcomes diversity.

In spite of all the local and statewide political battles, I always felt that at least, I could feel safe at my academic institution. That feeling is gone now. The nomination of Dr. Heather Wilson leaves me painfully aware that this is a systemic issue. Everything from the selection of search committee members, to the self-regulating body that is the University of Texas System Regents, and the UT System chancellor all lack a democratic process.

It’s an appointment process that only perpetuates social inequalities. This is a harmful politicization of students and our community.

#UTEPDeservesBetter. We deserve a new President who is ingrained in our community, with our community values. We deserve someone who not only says they can treat everyone with respect and dignity, but actually has a record of treating everyone with dignity and respect. Further, this is not only an LGBTQ issue. This nomination affects everyone.

With that, I have listed a few things folx can do to oppose the nomination of Dr. Heather Wilson.

1. If you haven’t already, please sign this petition to oppose the nomination of Dr. Heather Wilson.

2. Please call UTEP and let the President’s office know of your opposition. If you make contributions, please stop and tell them they no longer get your money, until someone else is considered/nominated for the position.

3. Talk about this. This is a community issue. Bring it up in casual conversation, call your state elected officials, the board of regents, and post on social media about this outrageousness.

4. Remember that access to quality education is a reproductive justice issue.

In solidarity,


West Fund President

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