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UTEP President finalist Heather Wilson to return to UTEP Thursday

Claudia “Gigi” Flores
Dr. Heather Wilson, U.S. Secretary of the Air Force and sole finalist for UTEP presidency, visited the UTEP campus and addressed the media on Monday, March 11.

Dr. Heather Wilson, sole finalist for the UTEP president will return to the UTEP campus on Thursday, March 28, according to the University of Texas System. This will be her second visit to El Paso since being named the sole finalist March 8.

Wilson, who resigned as U.S. Secretary of the Air Force, is expected to meet with a number of student, faculty and staff groups at UTEP. An expected time of arrival was not given.

According to the UT System, Wilson will attend meetings at UTEP beginning early Thursday morning until late in the evening that day.

Her primary focus will be talking directly with students, faculty and staff,” said UT System spokeswoman Karen Adler.

Wilson made her first public appearance on the UTEP campus Monday, March 11 to speak with faculty and staff and addressed the media during a press conference. At Monday’s press conference, Wilson took questions, some concerning backlash she is facing based on her past voting record and political ties.

That same day, several students protested Wilson’s arrival. The protest was spearheaded by concerned UTEP students, faculty, and community members .by Cristina Calvillo-Rivera, UTEP alumna and the Borderland Rainbow Center’s president.

An event by the Facebook group #UTEPDeservesBetter was created after finding out that Wilson would be on campus on Monday morning.

The Facebook group was created by Cristina Calvillo-Rivera, UTEP alumna and President for the Board of Directors for the Borderland Rainbow Center.

Calvillo-Rivera helped spearhead a petition on asking the UT System Board of Regents to reconsidered Wilson as the sole finalist. The petition received over 9,000 signatures and was delivered to UT Board of Regent and El Pasoan Paul Foster March 21.

In a recent letter directed to UT System Chancellor James Milliken March 19, Wilson wrote, “…I want to share more broadly what I have told everyone with whom I’ve met. I am coming to UTEP with one agenda in mind: to advance its extraordinary record through access, opportunity, and excellence. I will be focused on student success, advancing meaningful discovery, and connecting the university to the community.”

Wilson will succeed current UTEP President Dr. Diana Natalicio, who announced her retirement in 2018. The regents must wait a state-required 21 days before they can vote to appoint Wilson as president.


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 last week. 

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UTEP President finalist Heather Wilson to return to UTEP Thursday