Protest arises from Heather Wilson’s visit


Claudia Hernandez

Students protest against Heather Wilson at UTEP

Valeria Olivares, Reporter

Students and faculty gathered to protest UTEP’s succeeding president as the sole finalist held a press conference within the university’s campus.

“We are here, gathering, to express our concern and to ask for the withdrawal of Heather Wilson as candidate for the president of UTEP,” said Kaelin Waler, a senator at large for UTEP’s Student Government Association (SGA).

The protest was scheduled via Facebook event after students and communities members found out that Wilson would be on campus on Monday morning.

Cristina Calvillo-Rivera, UTEP alumna and president of the board of directors for the Borderland Rainbow Center, created the Facebook group #UTEPDeservesBetter opposing Wilson. 

“(Wilson) has a track record that does not serve the best interest of all students in this beautifully diverse campus here at UTEP,”  Calvillo-Rivera said. “We wanted to make sure that UTEP knows about her track record of being anti LGBT and being anti-immigrant.”

Calvillo-Rivera is also behind the petition opposing Wilson’s appointment which has now amassed over 5,000 signatures.

Walker, the SGA representative, explained that students have reached out to her with their concerns regarding the selection of the university’s new president.

“I feel that it is my job and my obligation to stand up for what they believe in and for what I believe in,” Walker said.

Oscar Martinez, a former professor at the Department of History who taught at UTEP for 13 years, was supporting the protest because he believes that Wilson’s voting record as a former New Mexico Rep. does not reflect the interests of the UTEP and El Paso community.

“She knows nothing about this community,” Martinez said. “She doesn’t understand the border. She doesn’t understand the culture, the background of the students who are here.”

Ruby Montana, a UTEP faculty member at the Humanities Program who is the grandchild of immigrants, explained her concern with Wilson’s lack of inclusivity.

“She’s not the leader that we want . . . especially considering the majority of our student population are Hispanic,” Montana said.

Protestors marched from Union East Building as they chanted, “We deserve better.” They made their way into Leech Grove where people were encouraged to share their opinion regarding the Texas Board of Regents’ recent decision.

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Editors Note: A previous version of this story stated that Calvillo-Rivera was the president of the Borderland Rainbow Center. It also stated that Calvillo-Rivera spearheaded the protest.