About the Vice Chancellor

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Mentha Hynes-Wilson joined the University of Washington Tacoma team as Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs in August 2017. Her portfolio includes oversight of the many programs and services that contribute to enhancing student success. She previously served as Associate Vice President at Salisbury University in Maryland, Dean of Student Affairs at the University of San Diego, Director of Student Life at Princeton University, and Associate Dean of Multicultural Affairs and Student Affairs at Smith College.

Ms. Hynes-Wilson has devoted her career to the development, assessment and improvement of programs and policies that facilitate access while maximizing opportunities for student success earning recognition as a “student friendly resource.” She has a master’s degree in Educational Policy and Research from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Mentha's office is located in Mattress Factory 352 and she welcomes students, staff and faculty to stop by and say hello!

From the Desk of Ms. M...

May 13, 2020 - "Updated Title IX Regulations"

Dear UW Tacoma Students:

President Cauce recently communicated with the UW community regarding the new Title IX regulations  which were released by the U.S. Department of Education on May 6, 2020. The UW (and thousands of others) urged the Department of Education to take a different tack with these rules which govern how educational institutions respond to sexual assault, sexual harassment, and other forms of sexual misconduct. Despite the fact that the final rules are disappointingly similar to what was originally proposed in 2018, there is nothing in the final regulations that will deter us from our commitment to inclusion, equity, and accountability.

The University of Washington will continue to address all forms of sexual misconduct, we will continue to provide support and resources for all members of our community who experience these harmful behaviors, and we will continue to investigate and adjudicate allegations of misconduct via equitable and fair processes.

The University of Washington has already begun an in-depth review of the new rules, which go into effect August 14, 2020. Ourinitial statement about the new regulations includes links to a Department of Education overview and summary of the rules.  We will provide updates on our UW review process and share opportunities to engage in our implementation planning via the “Title IX News” blog on the Title IX website, and through other means. You can also contact the Office of the Title IX Coordinator at titleix@uw.edu with questions or comments.

For support resources, including contact information for confidential advocates, SafeCampus, and options for reporting all forms of sexual misconduct, please see the UW’s sexual assault resources page. 


Valery Richardson 
Title IX Coordinator 

Mentha Hynes-Wilson 
Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, UW Tacoma

April 16, 2020 - "UW Tacoma Class of 2020 Commencement - Online and On Stage"

To: Members of the Class of 2020

As you may have read in a recent message from UW President Ana Mari Cauce[25], all three UW campuses will celebrate our graduates this year with a virtual commencement on June 13, 2020.

This decision was made in consultation with student, faculty and staff leaders on all three campuses and the UW Board of Regents. It was a very difficult decision because we all know how important commencement is as a celebration of the accomplishments of our graduates.

A virtual celebration will not be the same as our traditional event at the Tacoma Dome. But we must protect the health of students, families and our community by not holding an in-person event until the danger from the COVID-19 pandemic has passed. The virtual event will be a live, interactive webcast drawing on the resources of all three UW campuses. It will be the first time all three campuses celebrate commencement together, and it will also be a time for UW Tacoma to celebrate what makes us special.

Graduates of the Class of 2020 are also invited and encouraged to fully participate in an in-person commencement ceremony at UW Tacoma in 2021, where we look forward to recognizing you and the sacrifices you have made. The ceremony will be a well-earned opportunity for you to walk across the stage with your classmates in front of your loved ones.

We are still working to determine whether your in-person commencement will be included as part of the class of 2021's commencement ceremony, or grow into its own separate ceremony if enough of you decide to return for the event, as we hope you will. The postponement to June 2021 gives us ample time to work with you on how you would like this event to take shape.

You will find the latest updates on the UW Tacoma Class of 2020 Commencement website[26], and you can help by taking this brief survey[27] to tell us what is the most important thing we can do to make the virtual ceremony meaningful for you.

We want to invite the entire Class of 2020 and their loved ones to take part in BOTH the virtual ceremony this June and their choice of UW Tacoma commencements in 2021, 2022, 2023 or 2024. Whether online or on stage, the Class of 2020 will be celebrated and recognized as the unique and wonderful Class it is.

As we are sure is true for you, we each are personally experiencing countless ways that people around us are rising to the occasion and employing their ingenuity to express themselves and move forward in this challenging time. Although it won’t be in-person, we can guarantee this year’s virtual commencement will be a unique experience, unlike any that has come before. Join us for what promises to be a unique and dynamic celebration of the Class of 2020!

Mark A. Pagano, Chancellor

Mentha Hynes-WIlson, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs

March 24, 2020 - "How to stay home and stay healthy during spring quarter"

To: students

I want you to know that I appreciate your attention to the numerous communications from the University about COVID 19. I understand the worry that this virus and its consequences has created and my top priority remains your health, safety and well-being.

It is natural to feel stress and uncertainty during these times. However, I also want you to know that all of us at the UW are staying abreast of developments and are working tirelessly to ensure that our students are front of mind as we constantly adapt to this evolving situation. One important recent development is the stay-at-home order issued by Governor Inslee last night.

Stay-at-home order: What does it mean?
Essentially, the Governor’s order requires every Washingtonian to stay in their residence unless they need to pursue an essential activity such as going to the grocery store, for health care needs, and for other critical needs. It also bans all gatherings for social, spiritual, and recreational purposes, as well as closes all businesses except essential businesses[47]. However, there are some things you can do:

  • Grocery stores, gas stations, and pharmacies remain open. 
  • You can still go to restaurants for take-out only.
  • Feel free to go outside for activities such as walking or exercise, but it is important to keep at least six feet of distance from other people.
  • Move from your residence hall and return home to your primary residence.

Additionally, on the UW’s COVID-19 information page[48], we continue to share important information about community impact, university response, and health tips. The key health prevention measures have remained consistent, and include:

  • Washing hands often with soap and water for a least 20 seconds. Use hand sanitizer, with 60-95% alcohol if water is not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home while you are sick and avoid close contact with others.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with your elbow or a tissue when coughing or sneezing, and immediately dispose of the used tissue.

Taking care of yourself

Now more than ever, it is critical that you take care of yourself so you can stay well and be there for others. Most UW and UW Tacoma offices remain available to you through remote means. Additionally, here is some information from UW Tacoma Counseling and Psychological Services[49] that may prove useful:

Pay attention to your reactions: It is normal to experience stress, anger, anxiety, and fear during a crisis. Being aware of your reactions can help you decide what you need to cope with these feelings.

Be kind to each other: Remember that COVID-19 doesn’t recognize race, nationality, or ethnicity. Wearing a mask does not mean a person is ill. Being compassionate is the best thing we can do for ourselves and our communities.

Take a break and relax: There is life outside of the current crisis. Make sure to schedule a break and relax or do things you enjoy such as meditation, listening to music, coloring, etc. Different coping strategies work for different people; use what has worked for you in previous times of stress.

Maintain a healthy routine: It is important to maintain your regular schedule for sleeping, eating, studying, working, socializing, etc. Don't use nicotine, alcohol, or other drugs to cope with your stress – these may in fact reduce your body's capacity to heal itself.

Limit information: Too much information leads to overload and more stress, so try to limit your exposure to news and information regarding the virus. Choose a reputable and non-sensational news source such as the CDC or Tacoma-Pierce County Health department.

Connect with others: When in distress, you may feel lonely and isolated in what you are going through. You can benefit from connection with others where you can provide and receive support from each other. Talk to your friends and family.

Staying safe
We have found that when there are fewer people on or near the Tacoma campus, safety becomes of greater concern. To help keep you safe, we ask that you:

  • Be aware of your surrounding and what is going on around you.
  • Stay in well-lighted areas as much as possible.          
  • Remove yourself from potentially dangerous situations as soon as possible.                         

 If you suspect criminal activity, here is some helpful information to pass on to the police:               

  • Clothing descriptors: Look for layers under the visible layer, other distinctive identifiers, etc.        
  • Physical characteristics: Height, weight, eye and hair color, mannerisms, scars, or tattoos.              
  • Direction of travel.

Contact UW Tacoma Campus Safety and Security[50] at 253-692-4416 for additional crime prevention information.

Moving forward together

These are distressing times for all of us, and while these conditions will pass in time, the disruption to our day-to-day living will undoubtedly affect each of us at different times and in different ways.

Together we will work through these distressing times with resilience, compassion, and strength and I ask you to observe the Governor’s order: Stay Home and Stay Healthy[51].

Mentha Hynes-Wilson, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs

March 4, 2020 - "COVID-19: What you need to know"

To: students

The recent outbreak of COVID-19 (the disease caused by the novel coronavirus) has been challenging for us all. There is an understandable level of concern on our campus, in our country and indeed across the world. I want to assure you that anxiety and feelings of unease are normal when inundated with stories of new infections and people being tested.

Although there is as yet no confirmed case of COVID-19 in Pierce County, we are working closely with the Washington Department of Public Health[124] and Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department[125], as well as following guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)[126] and our own experts at UW Medicine and the health sciences schools, to align our plans with the most current recommendations from experts. This includes encouraging everyone to monitor their own health, practice good hygiene, and stay home if feeling sick.

It is important to note that our region has increased its capacity to test for COVID-19. This is a very good thing that will help focus treatment and prevention efforts, but it almost undoubtedly means that the number of cases confirmed will increase in the coming days as we have an increased ability to test and identify existing cases.

Staying up to date – UW Novel Coronavirus FAQs

This is an evolving situation, both in Washington and globally, so circumstances could change rapidly – I encourage you to monitor the University’s Novel Coronavirus Information page[127], which is being updated regularly.

Staying healthy

The best strategies for prevention are some commonsense measures from the CDC and Department of Health, including: 

  • Wash your hands often, with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Stay home when you’re sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with your elbow or a tissue when coughing or sneezing, and then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean frequently touched surfaces and objects using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Getting plenty of rest, drinking fluids, eating healthy foods and managing your stress can help you prevent getting COVID-19 and recover from it if you do.

If you are sick

First, it’s important to emphasize that so far the vast majority of people who have become ill with COVID-19 have experienced relatively mild symptoms, such as fever and cough.

If you are sick, you should take steps you normally would when sick, including focusing on caring for your health, not attending class, communicating with your instructors, and contacting a healthcare provider if you feel you need to. Students at UW Tacoma may contact Franciscan Prompt Care or Franciscan Virtual Urgent Care[128] as one option. Please call ahead before visiting your health care provider so that they can provide you with guidance specific to your symptoms.

University leadership and faculty are working together to ensure that if you miss class due to illness or choosing to self-isolate, accommodations will be made just as they would if you were experiencing any other health issue. No doctor’s note is needed.

For more information, see the University’s FAQs on health, wellness and prevention[129].

Classes, University operations and contingency planning

As we continue to monitor the events associated with COVID-19, we are developing a broader plan to account for a variety of scenarios. For example, in the event of suspended campus operations, UW leadership is working on plans to support instructors in offering their courses online.

For more general information, see the University’s FAQs on classes and academics[130].

Additionally, the Office of the University Registrar has created its own FAQs with guidance on issues around grading, finals, and graduation[131].

Navigating stress and anxiety

These developments are an understandable source of concern for many in our community, and may present an added layer of worry for members of our UW community who have personal connections to affected communities and countries. This is a critically-important time for all of us to reinforce a community of care on our campus and support one another.

If you would like to talk with someone, emotional support is available to Tacoma campus students through Counseling & Psychological Services[132].

Next steps

Your well-being is our paramount concern, and the University will continue working with public health officials to be as prepared as possible to protect the health of the UW Tacoma community. We are extremely fortunate to live in a region with outstanding medical services and public health infrastructure. We will continue doing everything we can to keep you apprised, and again, please check back regularly on the University’s Novel Coronavirus Information page[133] for updates and information.

Mentha Hynes-Wilson, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs