It has been wonderful seeing the campus energized with the opening of the fall semester. I hope you have heard and seen the messages about CoogsCARE supporting mental health and wellness! We believe in the strength of a community that cares for our fellow Coogs, and we will be emphasizing this in the student programs, activities, and resources that the university offers, and how all Coogs are welcome.
Earlier this year, the Texas State Legislature passed, and Governor Abbott signed into law Senate Bill 17. This new legislation prohibits public institutions of higher education from maintaining diversity, equity, and inclusion offices, and conducting DEI-related trainings, programs, and activities. In preparation of this law going into effect, student affairs staff and administrators began working this summer in consultation with other departments and offices across campus to ensure that our programs, activities, and services satisfy the requirements of SB17. As a result, the Center for Diversity and Inclusion and the LGBTQA Resource Center will no longer operate effective August 31, 2023.
The Division of Student Affairs is opening a new Center for Student Advocacy and Community with a primary goal to provide robust support to all students, ensuring they have the resources and opportunities to be successful, thrive and graduate. This center will make available wide-ranging advocacy, a support network for both undergraduate and graduate students, comprehensive basic needs services and resources, and facilitate a variety of events and programs to foster student success, achievement, and community building.
In addition, the Center for Student Empowerment will expand programs and services, focusing on academic access, leadership development, summer bridge programs, student success coaching and various mentorship programs. These terrific new programs will be open to all students.
Our staff in the Division of Student Affairs are committed to supporting students and will continue to engage with them and registered student organizations, as well as faculty and staff to evolve our programs, services, and events in the new academic year. We look forward to the opportunities the formation of the Center for Student Advocacy and Community and the expanded vision for the Center for Student Empowerment will bring to our Coog Community.
Daniel M. Maxwell, Ed.D.
Interim Vice President for Student Affairs