Fenves addresses bias-related incidents following election

Van Nguyen

UT President Gregory Fenves said in a University-wide email Monday that the University is developing policies to support students, faculty and staff of all political affiliations following the results of last week’s presidential election.

In the email, Fenves said the Campus Climate Response team has received multiple complaints from students about threatening signs and comments from students.

“The University is already developing new policies to respond to bias incidents, and we will have a proposal to share with the campus for feedback soon,” Fenves said in the email. “Already this year the University has taken several initial steps to facilitate a faster institutional response to bias incidents.”

Gregory Vincent, vice president for Diversity and Community Engagement, is one of the administrators working on the Diversity Action Plan, which will address the bias-related incidents Fenves mentioned.

“The Diversity Action Plan is meant to be the blueprint for action around diversity and inclusion for the campus,” Vincent said to The Daily Texan earlier this month. “It is meant to bring resources together across campus and to give the University some direction.” 

Last month, Young Conservatives of Texas held an anti-affirmative action bake sale, which led to Vincent releasing a statement condemning the organization. However, the University has publicly said they will not punish YCT because their actions are a protected form of freedom of speech. 

“As we develop these policies, we remain firmly committed to promoting free speech and academic freedom,” Fenves said in the email. “Our policies and responses will not be aimed at the words people use, but the actions they may take. We also recognize, though, that some speech is hurtful, and that recognition needs to inform us as we pursue our educational mission and our commitment to diversity and inclusion.”