Thursday afternoon, officials with UTEP Athletics introduced their new TWC Initiative.
“Building on a tradition of promoting diversity and inclusion, the use of TWC serves dual purposes – currently, the acronym will signify and stand for Together We Commit, the new diversity and inclusion program for the Miners,” UTEP officials shared. “The second purpose is a not-so-subtle nod to the history of UTEP and the institution’s previous name – Texas Western College”
During the TWC era, one of the most recognizable moments in not only sports history but in the civil rights movement occurred.
On March 19, 1966, Texas Western College (TWC) – stunned top-ranked Kentucky, 72-65, to capture the men’s basketball national championship. On that day, the legendary Don Haskins became the first coach to start five black players in the national title game. Today, that historic moment becomes a symbol for solidarity.
Following the death of George Floyd and rise of the Black Lives Matter movement, the UTEP Athletics Executive Team conducted a series of meetings, both in-person and online, with departmental student-athletes, coaches and staff to get their thoughts on the societal issues facing our country.
The TWC Initiative spawned from these meetings.
“This has been a great learning opportunity for me, helping me more thoroughly understand and appreciate the challenges faced by our minority populations as well as what can be done moving forward to improve the experience for all, especially our black community,” Director of Athletics Jim Senter said.
“UTEP Athletics will work continuously to foster an environment of empowerment, equality and love. What better way to honor this commitment than by continuing to celebrate our greatest achievement – the historic 1966 national championship – and what it meant for society.”
As part of the TWC Initiative, as a department, UTEP Athletics commits to:
- Fostering Diversity and Inclusion
- Creating an Environment of Love and Respect
- Supporting Equity and Education
- Leading Change
This fall, all UTEP student-athletes will be provided Black Lives Matter-themed TWC Initiative t-shirts and Black Lives Matter pins that can be displayed on team gear.
Two TWC Initiative committees will be formed in the immediate future – one composed of Athletics staff members, and another with members of UTEP’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC).
These committees will meet monthly, working to develop and institute workshops and seminars, increase outreach and awareness, establish programming (i.e. speaker series), and provide educational opportunities for UTEP student-athletes and staff.
Updates on the TWC Initiative will be released through UTEP Athletics’ social media channels, and a TWC Initiative website is in the works – to be launched by late summer.
Longer-term plans include the TWC Initiative logo being added to game day gear, and expanding “Texas Western Night,” annually celebrated at a men’s basketball game, to include other UTEP sports.