Leadership lends their ear

Editorial staff

The Paisano hosted a special guest during its last week’s general staff meeting. He’s been in our headlines, on our front pages, and is featured on the cover of the Sombrilla—President Taylor Eighmy, the face of UTSA.

A president’s visit is an important opportunity for a student-run organization: it’s a moment when open dialogue transpires between our institution’s leadership and those the institution serves. Students can hear about their university’s strategy and vision directly from the president and ask how they will fit in the equation.

In U.S. government, the public is represented at local, state and federal level. At this university, representation is within student groups, among UTSA faculty and at the administrative level–specifically the president.

In early September, when news of President Trump’s decision to rescind DACA broke, a member of the Immigrant Youth Leadership (IYL) organization wrote an open letter to Eighmy requesting support from the university. The president’s support is gold. As the director of our university’s goals, every decision he makes reverberates at a broader level.

Every day Eighmy must have his Rowdy switch ‘on.’ He speaks for our university, builds its future and represents our interests with every handshake and phone call he makes. Each student is a stakeholder, further shaping Eighmy’s thinking regarding UTSA’s next chapter.

Eighmy’s time in his new role at UTSA has been relatively brief, but following the announcement of the UT Board of Regents’ unanimous selection of Eighmy, he didn’t wait long to engage with the UTSA community. He launched a Dreamers Resource Center to address IYL’s concerns, met with several student organizations and leaders and held open forums to meet directly with students.

At The Paisano Media Arts Center, Eighmy commanded the attention of nearly 40 students, not with his presence alone, but also with his candor. Eighmy is tuned into the news: although he has a soft-spot for the Boston Globe–the newspaper that serves the city he was raised in–he reads the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, The Texas Tribune, The Statesman, Express-News, The Paisano and others. Eighmy knows the political temperature and likened our last issue’s cover story, “The Rules of Assembly,” to the on-campus protests of the Vietnam War in the ‘70s. Both were politically charged, and both were spearheaded by the student body. He asked for our takes and offered his. Discussion bound us to a collective understanding and a sense of accountability to our own institution. After all, our commitment to UTSA is what students, faculty, staff and Eighmy all have in common.

How the president reacts to political tension and crisis is crucial–fear of deportation, shootings, racial tensions and other issues has intensified throughout our nation, and we’ve seen this fear reach institutions of higher education. It’s comforting to know we have a president who is ready to face–and weigh in on–the important issues facing students and the nation.