Post-Election Statement from Jaye Padgett, Interim Vice Provost, Division of Student Success

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Dear students,

Now that the election is over, we may find ourselves asking, What's next? Over the past year we have seen and heard a lot that does not reflect our campus's values. Sweeping and disparaging stereotypes about Mexicans and people of Mexican heritage; immigrants; African Americans; Muslims; and others. Regular attempts to debase women. Mockery of those with disabilities. Language that is divisive and exclusionary. And continuing a toxic trend in our country's political discourse, a practice of caricaturing, ridiculing, and dismissing people that we disagree with.

As Interim Vice Provost for Student Success, I think it's important now to affirm what we stand for. The Division of Student Success supports the academic and student life needs of all of our students, including students whose life experience, backgrounds, or identities may not have bestowed privileges. In case you are not familiar with the Division, this is who we are:

African American Resource and Cultural Center
American Indian Resource Center
Asian American/Pacific Islander Resource Center
Career Center
Chicano Latino Resource Center
Disability Resource Center
Educational Opportunity Programs
Learning Support Services
Lionel Cantú Queer Center
Services for Transfer and Re-entry Students
SOAR/Student Media/Cultural Arts and Diversity (SOMeCA)
Student Success Evaluation and Research Center
Women's Center

Our primary mission is to support the academic success of our students, recognizing that academic success is about much more than study skills. Much of our work was founded in historical struggles to give equal access to education and life opportunities to all people, and that work is not done.

It's important to know that these election results do not affect the campus's and the division's commitment to our work and our programs. If anything, the current political climate underscores their continued importance.

Finally, we are a university. As a professor I can't help but underscore the importance of a university's core value: a practice of inquiry, dialog, and disagreement that is based on the deepest respect for reason and fact. This becomes harder, but even more important, as our feelings become more passionate. When we take facts seriously and build reasoned arguments, we are all more likely to find common ground and to avoid the sometimes less admirable forces in our natures. Our media and politicians do not model this for us; if we don't, who will?

Jaye Padgett
Interim Vice Provost for Student Success