OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT
THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT BROWNSVILLE and TEXAS SOUTHMOST COLLEGE
80 Fort Brown · Brownsville, Texas 78520 · (956) 882-8201 · Fax (956) 548-0020

Juliet V. García, Ph.D.
President 

 

Open Letter from the President

May 5, 2008

 

Dear Colleagues,

 

On Monday, April 28th, I served as an invited witness to testify before a joint oversight field hearing of the House Fisheries, Wildlife and Oceans Subcommittee and the National Parks, Forests and Public Lands Subcommittee. The hearing, “Walls and Waivers:  Expedited Construction of the Southern Border Wall and Collateral Impacts to Communities and the Environment,” was held in the Science, Engineering and Technology Building Lecture Hall.

 

I was one of 13 panelists whose representation included others from law enforcement, municipal government, and special interest groups.  While testifying before the subcommittees, witnesses had five minutes to share our points of view. The committee had asked me, specifically to address the consequences that the proposals from the Department of Homeland Security would likely have on our campus community. 

 

My testimony included the perspective that I have shared with you as steward of the University. It is my obligation to ensure both our students’ safety as well as the continuance of the University’s mission. 

 

In addition, I expressed my appreciation for the ruling of Federal Judge Andrew Hanen, who accepted our agreement with the Department of Homeland Security on March 19th.  One of the most significant parts of the agreement is that DHS will work with the University to jointly assess alternatives to a physical barrier. During the hearing, Judge Hanen thanked both the University and the federal government for working hard to reach an equitable solution. He felt that the dialogue between the two sides would hopefully lead to a better resolution regarding this temporary easement, as well as any potential future barrier. Judge Hanen also stated that the agreed settlement could, perhaps, be used as a template for working with other landowners involved.

 

Congresswoman Grace F. Napolitano, 38th District of California and a TSC alumna, invited the audience to send letters to the committees that would become part of the congressional record, and several of you have expressed an interest in doing so. All letters must be postmarked by Thursday, May 15th. Your thoughts may be submitted using the address below: 

 

Subcommittee on Fisheries Wildlife and Oceans

Subcommittee on National Parks Forests and Public Lands

1324 Longworth House Office Building

Washington, DC 20515

Sincerely,

 

Juliet V. García