This past Thursday Dr. Ángel Cabrera, the new president of the Institute, addressed the student body for the first time. Throughout the speech he lauded Tech as a school “with extraordinary talent and a strong mission of public service” and referred to the school as a“great institution.”
Cabrera also used the opportunity to introduce himself, although he is no stranger to the Institute. He completed his Ph.D and met his wife Beth Cabrera here. His son, Alex Cabrera, graduated from Tech last spring with his bachelor’s degree. In addition, Dr. Cabrera also served on the Tech Advisory Board for nearly a decade.
Cabrera also spoke about his previous position as the president of George Mason University (GMU) in Fairfax, Virginia. He focused on GMU’s growth in previous years, placing emphasis on having helped the school become an example of “access to excellence.”
This is not to say that his time at GMU always went smoothly. Earlier this year, GMU hired alleged sexual assaulter and Supreme Court justice Brett Kavanaugh to teach at the university. The decision received backlash from student groups such as Mason For Survivors, a student-led advocacy group. A petition presenting opposition to Kavanaugh’s hiring received more than 15,000 signatures, and articles in the Huffington Post have accused GMU of taking money from the Federalist Society, a conservative and libertarian law nonprofit. Cabrera defended his decision to students at GMU this past April, saying “even if the outcome is painful, what’s at stake is very, very important for the integrity of the university.”
He did not comment on the past controversy with Kavanaugh during his speech to the Institute. Cabrera did, however, address the Institute’s issues with mental health and the treatment thereof. He assured the audience that he was committed, saying “[mental health] will remain a priority for me personally.”
Cabrera also introduced several administrative changes that will be taking place in the immediate future. The Title IX Office, responsible for making sure that male and female athletes have access to the same opportunities, will now be under the Office of Institute Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.
Cabrera also expressed a desire to “earn the public trust” through an expansion of transparency into the affairs of the Institute, as well as to make it more clear why certain records cannot be shared. To accomplish this Cabrera announced a new group being created under Institute Communications, which “will focus on telling our story through the news media, managing crises, as well as being responsive to those seeking more information through Open Records requests and supporting all those in external-facing functions throughout the Institute.” The Open Records department, currently under Legal Affairs, will become a part of Institute Communications inside of this new group.
Cabrera did not come to the Institute from his old post alone. Frank Neville, Cabrera’s chief of staff at GMU, will be working at the Institute in the same capacity. Neville will also hold the title of Senior Vice President of Strategic Initiatives and assume control of the Strategic Consulting department.