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UTEP Faculty Oppose Likely New President

April 1, 2019

Faculty at the University of Texas at El Paso have indicated that they are opposed to the likely selection of their next president.

The University of Texas System Board of Regents last month chose Heather Wilson, a Republican former New Mexico congresswoman and Trump-appointed U.S. Air Force secretary, as the sole finalist to succeed longtime leader Diana Natalicio, 79, who plans to step down later this year, after 31 years on the job.

The Faculty Senate on Friday announced that a survey of members found that 52.3 percent oppose Wilson's selection; 27 percent support it, while 20.7 percent are neutral about it.

The survey, sent to about 1,200 faculty, was completed by 454, officials said.

UTEP's student body is 80 percent Latinx, with another 4 percent Mexican nationals. Wilson, who is white and not Hispanic, said during remarks last month that she had just set foot on campus for the first time.

Her first appearance at UTEP generated student protests and a petition that asks the regents to remove Wilson as finalist. As of Sunday, it had garnered nearly 10,500 signatures.

Wilson's appointment will likely be approved by regents on Tuesday.


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