UTEP has a new president, but the woman chosen by the University of Texas System Board of Regents has a staunch anti-gay rights record. Secretary of the U.S. Air Force, Dr. Heather Wilson, will not have the position that is being vacated by Dr. Diana Natalicio until a state-required 21-day waiting period is up.

She has already tendered her resignation to President Trump, and the Texas Board of Regents said today that she is the only finalist to become the university's next president, effective September 1. But did they really do an in-depth analysis of this candidate?

From the GLAAD website:

Wilson attacked an anti-LGBT bullying bill on the basis that teasing is just a part of a child's life. She also voted for a federal amendment to the US Constitution banning marriage equality for same-sex couples, and said she opposed civil unions as well. Wilson declared that "marriage, the union of one man and one woman as husband and wife, is the best institution for raising children. Wilson vowed to "oppose any effort to undermine" this position. As a member of US House, Wilson twice voted against LGBT-inclusive hate crimes legislation, and against an LGBT-inclusive Employment Nondiscrimination Act.

I spoke to the president of the Queer Student Alliance at UTEP. He said that the group is "deeply disappointed" in the University of Texas System Board of Regents choice of Wilson to succeed Dr. Diana Natalicio. The group says they wonder about the values of the Board if Wilson is their sole nominee for the UTEP president's position, and can't believe she was even considered for the office. The group says the Queer Student Alliance is intersectional and wonders if the values that Wilson has championed will be compatible with all UTEP students, including those of color and who are gay.

Wilson was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives representing New Mexico from 1999 to 2009, and wrote an opinion piece for the Washington Times about immigration. She seems to be in favor of granting concessions to DREAMEers. She says the US must "recognize that most of those children have little or no connection to the country of their birth, and we should not punish them for their parents’ wrongs."

Less than a year ago, Wilson's star seemed to be fading at the Air Force because of her "perceived slow-rolling" of President Trump's order to create a separate Space Force. But a Reuters article says she "was close to Trump’s vice president, Mike Pence", but didn't provide context.

The choice of Wilson seems an odd fit for El Paso. Her job, apparently, was not secure, yet she seems to have close ties to Vice President Mike Pence. She voted yes for a border fence in 2006, but is coming to a city that seems to be not in favor of more border fencing or walls. And her record on gay rights is a bit of a concern because El Paso, in general, is a pretty gay friendly town.

I think the Board of Regents and UTEP officials might want to do a little more digging on Dr. Wilson before she is given Dr. Natalicio's key to UTEP.

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