Commentary: Tuesday night, the El Paso County Democratic Party told the UT Board of Regents: We have no confidence in Dr. Heather Wilson to be the next president of the University of Texas at El Paso.
At a public meeting of the Party’s County Executive Committee, a resolution calling for a vote of no-confidence was introduced and voted on. The resolution cited Ms. Wilson’s voting record in the U.S. House of Representatives — voting no on providing 84 million dollars in grants for Black and Hispanic colleges in March of 2006, voting no on prohibiting job discrimination based on sexual orientation in November of 2007, voting no on providing federal assistance to states, local jurisdictions and Native American tribes to prosecute hate crimes, voting yes on a Constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage in September of 2004, among other votes — and noted the more than 6,000 signatures from El Pasoans opposing her selection on Change.org. The resolution passed unanimously.
"The announcement that Heather Wilson — a person with a consistent record of voting against protections for the LGBT+ community while serving in the U.S. House of Representatives — is the sole finalist for the position of president of the University of Texas at El Paso should shock and concern every resident of El Paso. UTEP is a tremendous source of pride for our community, and having a president who has shown an unwillingness to protect all members of a community, regardless of their sexual orientation, is unacceptable," said Iliana Holguin, chairwoman of the Party. "It is incredibly important that the El Paso community express its outrage with the decision of the UT Board of Regents, and today, the El Paso County Democratic Party took the first step to do just that."
Being in the largest binational community in the Western Hemisphere, the university is in a unique position to serve students from different races, religions, nationalities, and sexual orientations. Over the last 30 years, under Dr. Diana Natalicio’s leadership, UTEP has reaffirmed its commitment to higher education for all, regardless of these differences. Based on Dr. Wilson’s record, we do not believe she will continue this commitment and we urge the UT Board of Regents to reconsider. UTEP students and faculty deserve a president who will represent them, regardless of where they come from, who they worship, which side of the border they call home, or who they love. UTEP deserves better. El Paso deserves better.
A copy of the resolution introduced is available at elpasodems.org/newsroom.