Inappropriate contact with female staff leads to early resignation of UTSA president
- A controversy over hugging employees has led to the early retirement of University of Texas - San Antonio President Ricardo Romo, two weeks after the president was initially placed on leave and months before his scheduled departure as campus CEO.
- Supporters say that Romo's actions are normal within Hispanic culture, and should not have been interpreted as being sexually intended by nature.
- Romo defended, but apologized for, his actions in statements to the media, but some critics say that excessive touching in the workplace, even with good intentions, can have unintended consequences for employees. Romo's departure, according to city officials, could disrupt a positive trajectory of growth for the university.
Campus leaders make strong efforts to dissuade and to prevent workplace harassment of all kinds, but shifting cultural norms for and among employees can be difficult without consistent and overt messaging about consequences for even harmless actions.
Considerations for helping to change workplace culture could include training modules which are similar to sexual assault and ethnic tolerance training, but designed to address intercultural norms which may be appropriate between some members of a racial or ethnic subgroup, but when reported, would be definite legal violations.
Requiring employees to complete and sign for having viewed these modules or completing exams as a key for email or full Internet access are ways in which this can be done without usurping work time or managing large groups on campus.
- MySanAntonio.com UTSA’s Romo resigns after being put on leave
- San Antonio Business Journal San Antonio leaders want a voice in selection of next UTSA president