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Texas State officials meet demands of student sit-in

(Photo: CBS Austin)

Following a three-day sit-in, Texas State University officials took to Twitter to address demands of the students occupying the fourth floor of the LBJ Student Center.

The students established their demands in a press release sent out on 4/12:

  • Dean of Students (Dr. Margarita Arellano) and President Denise Trauth denounce and facilitate the removal of student body president Connor Clegg for his failure to represent students and the values of this university
  • Dean of Students (Dr. Margarita Arellano) and President Denise Trauth denounce Texas State’s Student Government Senate for their failure to represent their constituents and their failure to be present at yet another trial.
  • President Denise Trauth and her Cabinet establish tangible action that will address the needs of students of color, which include:
  • A published timeline for the establishment of a diversity requirement to the general core curriculum
  • A published timeline for the establishment of Black Studies
  • A published timeline for the hiring of a full-time campus immigration attorney
  • The assembly of a task force of cabinet members, student leaders, and relevant faculty to address any other campus climate issues

Texas State University President Denise Trauth sent the following email to students earlier in the day:

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,

On Wednesday, April 11, our Student Government Association was scheduled to hold a hearing on the possible impeachment of student government president Connor Clegg. When 19 senators failed to attend the hearing, the required quorum was not met and the proceedings could not take place. Some Senators had legitimate and unavoidable reasons for not attending, but it is clear that others did not. Many members of our university community, including myself, find this non-attendance wrong, as it undermines the integrity of our student government processes.

In reaction to this, a number of our students are conducting a sit-in in the LBJ Student Center. To better understand the perspectives of the students involved in the sit-in, and to hear from as many students as possible, members of the president's cabinet, other campus leaders, and I held a town hall meeting at noon yesterday. It was clear that the majority of students in attendance were asking for Connor Clegg's removal, but they also asked for information related to the university's progress on a number of initiatives moving us in a more inclusive direction. I offer these details as a way of both informing our university community and as a way of publicly committing to seeing them implemented:

• Dr. Margarita Arellano, Dean of Students, is meeting with Student Government leadership to discuss how to hold its members accountable for their recent actions. I have also asked Dr. Arellano to form a task force comprised of student, staff, and faculty representatives to undertake a systematic review of our Student Government and provide recommendations on how its operations can be improved.

• In order to provide resources for our campus community regarding immigration issues, the Dean of Students Office is in the process of hiring a Staff Attorney for Students with immigration expertise who will be available to the university community later this summer. In the interim, the university has identified several immigration attorneys offering pro bono services to students.

• The university is starting a Latina/o Studies minor in the Fall of 2018. The minor incorporates existing courses into a focused program of study, including topics such as Latino youth and families, and immigration and ethnicity. The Hispanic Policy Network played an integral role in spurring the development of the minor.

• Texas State is developing an African American Studies minor, the scope of which will be the African diaspora and will include a broad range of topics such as the African American experience in Texas and multicultural relations. The Coalition of Black Faculty and Staff has been involved in the process, and the minor is expected to be approved for Fall 2019.

• The university conducted an extensive Campus Climate Survey during the fall semester to gather students' thoughts and feelings about their experiences at Texas State. The responses to the survey will guide the development and implementation of plans to ensure a safe, diverse, and inclusive campus climate and community for our students.

• The Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs has launched an internal search to fill the newly-created position of Special Assistant to the Provost for Inclusion and Diversity. The creation of this faculty-held position is an outgrowth of Texas State's commitment to shared values, including a spirit of inclusiveness, the free exchange of ideas and a sense of community.

I welcome all members of the university community to continue to provide your feedback on these and other initiatives. I will continue to update the campus community as we make additional progress toward our shared values.

Sincerely,

Denise M. Trauth

President

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