SAN ANTONIO – San Antonio’s largest public university is charting a new course for its soon-to-be-closed Office of Inclusive Excellence. The move comes as public universities in Texas grapple with a shifting Texas higher education landscape.
Per a new law signed by Gov. Greg Abbott in June — and in accordance with guidance from the University of Texas System — UTSA will close its Office of Inclusive Excellence on Jan. 1, 2024, the university announced in a story from UTSA Today.
Senate Bill 17, among other things, requires college and university governing bodies to ensure that diversity, equity and inclusion offices not be maintained.
In place of the former office will be the new Office of Campus and Community Belonging.
“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,” UTSA President Taylor Eighmy said.
In a report from The Paisano, the independent student newspaper at UTSA, Dean of Students LT Robinson says that several exemptions will be unaffected within the new law, including UTSA’s status as a Hispanic-serving institution and course instruction.
Going forward, the Office of Campus and Community Wellbeing will focus efforts on three pillars: ADA and accessibility, campus climate and community partnership bridges.
The office will “enhance our university’s mission and create unique opportunities for faculty, staff and students,” the story said.
A November faculty senate report says that in 2024, UTSA plans to develop resources and processes to educate its community on upholding compliance with SB 17. Guidelines for new programs, activities and initiatives will also be released.
UTSA has made its compliance process available on its SB 17 website.