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Petition Asks University of Texas to Rethink Heather Wilson’s Appointment

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An online petition on change.org is mounting pressure over the University of Texas at El Paso to remove Heather Wilson as a finalist for its next president.

Addressed to Texas Board of Regents, the petition calls on the university to reconsider its decision of nominating Wilson, a former U.S. congresswoman from New Mexico and Air Force Secretary, to lead the university, citing her previous anti-LGBTQ record.

“Wilson has a clear history of being anti-LGBTQ, as reflected in her voting record as a former U.S. congresswoman from New Mexico and more recently in her position as Air Force Secretary, where she reversed a rule to allow for anti-gay discrimination in 2018,” the petition reads.

The petition also alleges Wilson of voting against lowering student loan interest rates and against funding that would have supported a new graduate Hispanic Serving Institution program.

“Records show she voted against lowering student loan interest rates and against providing year-round Pell grants (which is money the government provides to support students with financial need) and voted against millions of dollars that would have supported a new graduate Hispanic Serving Institution program.”

The petition, started by Cristina Calvillo-Rivera, president of the Borderland Rainbow Center, has received more than 9,875 signatures as of Wednesday morning.

Last week, Wilson wrote a letter to Chancellor James Miliken in preparation for her second visit to the El Paso campus in the coming weeks.

“I am drawn to UTEP because it is exceptional, because of its potential, and because of its storied history of being inclusive, not exclusive. I am drawn to UTEP because of its unique bi-cultural, bi-national character,” she wrote.

Meanwhile, many students have already planned to protest Wilson’s visit.

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