UTEP president finalist attracts opposition


File Photo

U.S. Secretary of the Air Force, Heather Wilson, has been selected to succeed Dr. Diana Natalicio as UTEP president. (Photo courtesy of the U.S. Department of Defense.)

Valeria Olivares, Reporter

A petition opposing the Texas Board of Regents’ sole finalist for UTEP president has raked up more than 4,000 signatures.

The Borderland Rainbow Center in El Paso’s president, Cristina Calvillo-Rivera, launched the campaign against President Diana Natalicio’s replacement, Heather Wilson, a former New Mexico Rep. and the current Secretary of the U.S. Air Force, on Saturday, March 9.

“Moving Heather Wilson as the sole finalist, and potential next president of UTEP, endangers the university’s ability to earnestly act on and serve in the best interests of all students,” the petition says.

Rivera expressed her concern with Wilson’s history with the LGBTQ community within the petition.

The petition also mentions Wilson’s vote against $84 million in grants for Black and Hispanic colleges in March of 2006.

Calvillo-Rivera created a Facebook event to invite and encourage students and faculty to protest Wilson who will be attending a press conference at the Union Building East.

People have been using #UTEPDeservesBetter on social media to protest UTEP’s succeeding president.

Among the organizations that have been listed as the petition’s co-sponsors are Women’s March El Paso, the UTEP Queer Student Alliance, Chicano/a Pre-Law Society of El Paso, Borderland Rainbow Center and Young Democratic Socialist of America at UTEP.

There will be a protest at the Union East building and Geology Lawn from 11 a.m. through 1 p.m.

There is a required 21-day waiting period, the University of Texas Board of Regents will then confirm Wilson as UTEP’s president.