University Affairs

President's Message: Affirming Our Commitment to USU's Mission of Excellence, Access, Inclusion

Editor's note: USU President Elizabeth R. Cantwell sent the following message via email to USU students faculty and staff on Jan. 26, 2024. HB261 was signed by Utah Gov. Spencer Cox on Jan. 31.

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,

Though we typically wait until the end of the Utah Legislative Session to provide updates on the impacts of the bills passed, we have heard many questions and some confusion related to HB261, which addresses diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts. I want to start by affirming my commitment to USU’s mission of excellence, access, and inclusion for all members of our communities across Utah. At Utah State University, ethical leadership and social responsibility are at the heart of our mission as a public service university. We can both follow state law and ensure USU is a place where everyone has the opportunity to succeed.

I recognize many of you have questions about what the new law means for you, your role, your fellow Aggies, and the programming that you value. Though we do not yet have answers to all the questions, we have started an online FAQ to help address what we know about the impacts of the new law.

Here is what we know for sure — once the bill is signed by Gov. Cox, HB261 will become law on July 1, 2024. This gives us time to carefully review its language and consider necessary changes in our programs and structure to ensure compliance while continuing to build community and reduce barriers to accessing and succeeding in higher education.

As we work through our review and make decisions, I hope each of you will join me in making USU a community where everyone can find belonging. At USU, we welcome and embrace all backgrounds, faiths, viewpoints, and experiences. That expectation will remain, and each of us plays an important role in creating a caring community where everyone is valued and supported.

Thank you for your patience as we work through the impacts of the new law and ensure the university is set up well to serve our students far into the future.

Respectfully and sincerely,

Elizabeth R. Cantwell



Amanda DeRito
Associate VP of Strategic Communications
University Marketing and Communications


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