Statement on UTEP Presidential Finalist

Austin – The following statement was released by State Sen. José Rodríguez:

The University of Texas at El Paso is one of our region’s most significant institutions, and the selection of its next leader is of great importance. Dr. Diana Natalicio presided over unprecedented growth in the size of the student body, the number of graduate degree options available, research opportunities, and the physical campus itself. The community clearly stated the need for a leader with a deep understanding of our unique border community and student body to continue that trajectory. 

Since Friday, I have heard from numerous constituents who have concerns regarding the selection of Secretary Wilson for this key position. I strongly encourage Sec. Wilson and UT System leadership to publicly articulate how they will resolve legitimate questions regarding Sec. Wilson’s past record opposing LGBTQ equality measures; whether she will continue policies that welcome Texas Dreamers, Mexican nationals, and other immigrant students on campus; and how she will support all university departments, not just those focused on research, finance, or military/security. I believe Sec. Wilson should meet with concerned students, faculty, and community members to respond to these issues.


José Rodríguez represents Texas Senate District 29, which includes the counties of El Paso, Hudspeth, Culberson, Jeff Davis, and Presidio. He represents both urban and rural constituencies, and more than 350 miles of the Texas-Mexico border. Senator Rodríguez currently serves as the Chairman of the Senate Democratic Caucus, and is a member of the Senate Committees on Natural Resources and Economic Development; Transportation; Veteran Affairs and Military Installations; and Agriculture, Water, and Rural Affairs.

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