Former President Ricardo Romo’s departure was a tumultuous and confusing time for UTSA.
During challenging times, it’s important to look for opportunities to grow, ways to improve and silver linings.
Romo’s ouster prompted a meaningful dialogue around sexual misconduct in our community.
It is imperative for our community to discuss and understand what’s appropriate in the workplace and show respect (and basic human decency) to people in the workforce. While the circumstances that elicited this dialogue – both on campus and on social media -– were unideal, students now have an increased awareness of sexual harassment.
Another consequence of Romo’s resignation (while certainly more frivolous) is the opportunity for new commencement speakers. Since December 2008, President Romo was the keynote speaker at UTSA’s commencement ceremonies.
There were a few exceptions: George C. Wright, President of Prairie View Texas A&M University spoke at one of the May 2012 ceremonies. Julián Castro (the San Antonio mayor at the time) and Nancy Kudla (President of the Kudla Family Foundation) delivered speeches at two different ceremonies in May 2013.
Of the 59 ceremonies between December 2008 and May 2015, Romo gave the commencement address for 56 of them. While Romo was certainly beloved among many students, hearing him speak was not a novel experience for most students who had ever attended an event on campus. The door is now open for more guest speakers to impart their wisdom on new UTSA grads.
Graduating from college is a significant feat and should be celebrated accordingly. Congressman Will Hurd and Dr. Juliet Garcia’s commencement addresses will be a welcome breath of fresh air.