University president addresses civil discourse
*The following letter was sent to students on Dec. 7, 2016 and was republished with permission from the Office of the President at Texas A&M University-San Antonio.
Dear A&M-San Antonio Students:
Dr. Melissa Mahan, VP for Student Affairs, and I were recently made aware of requests by Texas A&M University-San Antonio community members to establish a sanctuary campus to protect vulnerable students. As an institution that embraces all forms of diversity, it is important that we act thoughtfully and project visible signs of commitment, equity and inclusive excellence for everyone. We reiterate the expectation that we all act with respect and civility, and encourage you to hold each other accountable in order to maintain our culture that welcomes diverse perspectives, especially when they differ from your own.
Sentiments similar to those expressed in the recent request from our community have been shared at other private and public institutions of higher learning across the country. We remind you that our university policies comply with state and federal laws and offer many protections for all students. We will continue to uphold those policies and practices. Texas A&M universities, however, cannot exempt themselves from federal immigration laws.
A&M-San Antonio will continue to follow regulations as we continue to embrace all students, especially those from the historically under-represented communities we serve. The recent Message from the President titled, “Civil Discourse” encourages us to value our collective diversity of thought and cultivate an environment that ensures that all groups or persons are welcomed, valued and free from reprisal.
The security and safety of our University community remains a priority, and we will do what is within our legal rights to ensure our community remains an inclusive academic environment for all. Please note there have been no changes in funding or support for any student groups, activities or faculty interests.
To continue our inclusive pathway, we intend to initiate a campus-wide work group that examines issues related to diversity and equity. In addition, in an effort of ongoing transparency from University leadership, we invite you all to join a Student Community Forum on Tuesday, January 24, 2017 from 2-3 p.m. in the Vista Room. We will make ourselves available for civil discourse and to provide University updates.