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The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

Accusatory flyer published by student organization retracted


A screenshot from the Texas State Twitter account Oct. 24.

The College Democrats at Texas State retracted a Twitter post containing inaccurate accusations against an Office of Diversity and Inclusion official.
In a response from the official Texas State Twitter account, Vice President of University Administration Lisa Lloyd said the claims in the circulated flyer were “incorrect and misleading.” College Democrats reacted by releasing a press release correcting the inaccuracies and reaffirming their opposition to Stella Silva’s new appointment as interim chief diversity officer and director of the Office of Equity and Inclusion.
The flyer cites the case Lopez v. Texas State University, where former university employee Sonya Lopez sued Texas State after her termination. Lopez alleged she had been racially discriminated against and had suffered retaliatory action by her superior, Silva, for filing a pay grievance. Lopez cites these actions violated the Texas Commission of Human Rights and Texas Labor Code § 21.051.
Lopez’s case was decided April 20, 2012, with the Third Court of Appeals in Austin deciding she had, “failed to exhaust her administrative remedies as to these claims.” Silva was dropped from the case six months after.
The post containing the flyer, now removed from the College Democrats Twitter page, is coupled with commentary from the organization, stating, “Let(s) add this to the long list of terrible decisions by TXST Administration.” After the aforementioned accusations, the question is posed, “HOW ARE STUDENTS SUPPOSED TO BE ABLE TO TRUST SOMEONE WHO HAS A HISTORY OF DISCRIMINATING AGAINST OTHERS?”
College Democrats Vice President Alexa Browning said despite having heard about the case from a Texas State staff memberâ —who has requested not to be identifiedâ —College Democrats did not originally create the flyer.
“We were told about this issue by a staff member a couple of weeks in advance to the flyer being passed around to students at the Stallions (statue,) so we already knew we were going to stand behind this issue,” Browning said. “But we didn’t have anything to do with the original drafting of the flyer.”
After the information was posted by College Democrats and spread by students, Lloyd sought legal counsel to review the case for the accusations mentioned, finding the statement she “was found guilty” to be false. Lloyd felt it was important to correct the claims on the flyer.
“When this came to my attention, I really looked into it myself and talked with our attorneys even before I talked to Dr. Silva,” Lloyd said. “That’s when we found what was being posted was inaccurate and I thought it was important to address the inaccuracies of it.”
Lloyd’s statement on Twitter (Oct. 24) clarified the findings of the case, stating, “There has never been a finding by the University, courts, or any investigating body that Silva ‘discriminated against a former TXST employee based on their race & retaliated against them.’ The University fully supports Silva & the fair equitable treatment of all employees.”
Silva said she hopes this situation will be used as an opportunity for students to learn the impacts of social media; thorough fact-checking is needed before making accusatory statements.
“Gone are the days that in which you can post wrong or misleading information on social media, or basically anywhere, and think that your factfinders are not going to question it. We’re here at Texas State and we’re at an institute of education and should use best practices in distributing information, such as checking sources and determining the facts, or it turns into a situation such as this, which is defamation of character and slander,” Silva said. “What you put out there on social media impacts other people, particularly if it is wrong, misleading or information that impacts someone’s character – it’s not right.”
Browning said it is not unusual for the university to respond to the organization’s tweets. However, she hopes in doing so, administrators will recognize and better address issues brought up by the student body.
College Democrats released a statement Oct. 25 on Twitter to correct its previous stance on the issue and inaccuracies on the flyer, stating, “The information in the flyer we shared is partially incorrect. Neither TXST nor Silva were found guilty of discrimination, retaliation, or nepotism.” However, the organization holds its stance of opposition to Silva’s appointment because, although she was not found guilty, she was not acquitted of the charges.
Trevor Newman, president of College Democrats, said the main point of the case was not thoroughly discussed or deliberated, citing the case was closed with no accusations decided upon.
“Because the case was dropped, there was no clear charge against either party,” Newman said. “The case was about how Silva used her power and authority inappropriately against Lopez. In the case, that distinction isn’t made. It was arguing Lopez didn’t go through all of the proper resources—it didn’t really touch on what was actually happening.”
Because the case was dropped, Browning said the College Democrats are seeking clarification and corrective action from the university by publicly publishing the accusations.
“I think what we are looking for by calling the university out is for them to admit it either happened or didn’t happen,” Browning said. “We want to know what steps are going to get taken in the future.”
The point of contention with Silva’s appointment for College Democrats is the particular position she will fill as chief diversity officer and director of the Office of Equity and Inclusion. Browning said the fact there were allegations of discrimination at all, paired with the inclusivity of the position, is reason enough to worry.
“We wouldn’t be as concerned with this issue if she wasn’t specifically the director of the Office of Equity and Inclusion,” Browning said. “This is an office that is important for the Texas State community. Diversity and inclusion are issues that, as a campus, we have seen a lot of interest in moving forward. The accusations brought up against Silva—the fact they even exist—is worrying because we want the office to be the best it can be.”
Newman said he believes the posting and then retraction of the flyer have not damaged the organization’s credibility. He suggests students interested in the issue review the case file to formulate their own opinion.
“Regarding our credibility, I don’t think we lost any,” Newman said. “I think students who are invested in this situation should reach out to a specific organization or jump into the court case themselves.”
College Democrats hope to speak with Silva concerning these issues via Student Government forum. Silva said she is ready to have the conversation and sees it as an opportunity to speak with new students.
“The silver lining is this is a situation where I’m able to meet great students and have hard conversations with them I might not have otherwise met,” Silva said. “If they want to come and talk to me, I am more than willing to have that conversation with anyone.”

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  • College Democrats at Texas State released this statement on Oct. 25 regarding its previous tweet about Stella Silva.

  • A screenshot of a tweet sent out Oct. 24 by College Democrats at Texas State condemning Stella Silva.

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