Friday, September 29, 2023
  Around Campus, Community

By Marisol Villarreal

EDINBURG, TEXAS – SEPT. 29, 2023 – With a goal to educate both the campus community and the public about the perils of domestic violence and the significance of preventive measures, UTRGV will host the "Vaqueros Stand Up Against Domestic Violence" in observance of Domestic Violence Awareness Month this October.

Set for Wednesday, Oct. 4, 10 a.m.-1 p.m., the event is hosted by the UTRGV Police Department’s Victim Services, Office for Advocacy and Violence Prevention (OAVP), UT Health RGV Student Health, Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity, Student Rights and Responsibilities and the UTRGV Dean of Students.

The event will include:

  • Guest Speakers: Hidalgo County District Attorney Terry Palacios; Hidalgo County Chief of the Domestic Violence Unit Assistant District Attorney Amy Bayona; Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Jessica Martinez and a survivor will share their story.
  • Resource Exhibition: Various UTRGV departments and social service agencies dedicated to aiding domestic violence victims will offer resources and information.
  • "Healthy vs. Unhealthy" Flag Campaign: An informative display with interactive elements will depict the differences between healthy and unhealthy relationship dynamics to promote awareness.

“Family and domestic violence are often seen as private or family matters,” said Dr. Cynthia Jones, director of UTRGV’s OAVP. “But violence in the home has far-reaching effects on the economy, on the welfare of children, and on the mental and physical health of millions of Americans every year.”

Jones said in 2020-2021, nearly a thousand Texans lost their lives to family violence.

“Family violence rates have significantly increased in the last few years, so educating ourselves about the red flags or warning signs for family violence can save lives,” said Jones.

Following Jones’s statistics and urgent call to action, University Police Chief Adan Cruz emphasized the UTRGV Police Department’s commitment.

“We recognize and support the need to educate the community and protect our community from Domestic Violence and all its negative consequences,” said Cruz. “We hope the campus and community can join in supporting the cause.”

For more information, contact Priscilla Palacios, associate director of Special Programs for the Office of Advocacy Violence Prevention, at 956-665-8287, or Amanda Quintanilla, Victim Services Specialist with the UTRGV Police Department, at 956-665-3164.


The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) was created by the Texas Legislature in 2013 as the first major public university of the 21st century in Texas. This transformative initiative provided the opportunity to expand educational opportunities in the Rio Grande Valley, including a new School of Medicine, and made it possible for residents of the region to benefit from the Permanent University Fund – a public endowment contributing support to the University of Texas System and other institutions.

UTRGV has campuses and off-campus research and teaching sites throughout the Rio Grande Valley including in Boca Chica Beach, Brownsville (formerly The University of Texas at Brownsville campus), Edinburg (formerly The University of Texas-Pan American campus), Harlingen, McAllen, Port Isabel, Rio Grande City, and South Padre Island. UTRGV, a comprehensive academic institution, enrolled its first class in the fall of 2015, and the School of Medicine welcomed its first class in the summer of 2016.