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 is a champion for students and fiercely committed to educational equity. She has devoted her career to developing, assessing, and improving programs and policies that facilitate access while maximizing opportunities for student success, earning recognition as a trusted, “student-friendly” resource.
Mentha holds a B.A. degree in Ethnic Studies from California State University, Sacramento, and an M.Ed. in Educational Policy and Research from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Her office is located in the Mattress Factory, and all are welcome to stop by and say hello!
As the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, Mentha consistently communicates important campus updates, news, and information to students. Below are records of these emails, sorted by date (recent to oldest).
October 6, 2022 - "UW Title IX Rights and Resources"
Dear UW Tacoma Students:
We’re contacting you with information about Title IX, a federal gender equity law that prohibits discrimination based on sex or gender.
As a UW Tacoma student, there are a number of reasons why Title IX may matter to you:
You are seeking information about how to support a colleague, student, or friend who has experienced sex- and gender-based violence or harassment. Sex- and gender-based violence and harassment can include relationship violence, stalking, sexual harassment, sexual exploitation, and sexual assault.
You are pregnant and want to know more about the support and protections that are available
We also want to share a copy of the inaugural Title IX annual report. Students advocated for the development of this report and provided input on what content to include. You can find the report on the Title IX annual report webpage.
Lastly, you may be aware that the U.S. Department of Education has proposed new Title IX regulations [ed.gov] which will impact how institutions respond to sex- and gender-based violence, harassment, and discrimination. UW’s detailed response to the proposed rules is posted on the Title IX website. We do not know when the final regulations will be issued, but we will alert the UW community when that occurs.
If you have questions or would like additional information, please reach out to the Office of the Title IX Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for working with us and with each other to build an inclusive community that treats every member with dignity, fairness, and respect.
Title IX Coordinator
Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs
April 25, 2022 - "One last reminder: On-campus dining and housing"
I appreciate the response to the first message and need to hear from a few more undergraduate and graduate students so that I can seek approval for a new residence hall and dining facility.
After completing the survey, you will have an opportunity to enter a drawing to win one of five $50 Amazon gift cards. Once you have completed the survey, you will be prompted to enter your UW Tacoma email address, which will enter you in the drawing. Winners will be notified once the survey period is closed and entries are processed. Only respondents that have completed the full survey will be eligible for participation in the prize drawing.
UW Tacoma has retained the services of a nationally-recognized independent consulting firm, Brailsford & Dunlavey, to administer the survey. If you have any questions about this process, please contact Amy Ellingson at email@example.com.
Thank you in advance for taking the time to participate in this important project for the UW Tacoma community.
Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs
January 24, 2022 - "Students: UW Tacoma Operations for Winter Quarter"
This message was sent via e-mail to all students at UW Tacoma. Similar messages were sent to faculty, and to staff.
Although you may already have heard about UW’s plans to return to largely in-person classes on Jan. 31, we want to assure you that we on the Tacoma campus are aware that conditions in Pierce County are different than in the counties of our sister campuses, and this message describes how we will be approaching the remainder of winter quarter.
On Monday, Jan. 31, we will return to largely in-person classes and learning experiences. You should expect your classes to be in the original format listed in the time schedule unless your instructors inform you otherwise.
Accommodations may be requested by students with health-related condition or needs that put them at heightened risk. We’re also asking instructors to be flexible when it comes to student absences due to illness or other coronavirus-related disruptions. Note that while instructors will work to find ways for you to make-up missed coursework, they are not required to provide a synchronous remote option for classes that are being taught in person.
Winter quarter has been designated an “extraordinary circumstances” quarter. This means specifically that students can change your course grades between numeric grades and Satisfactory/Non-Satisfactory (S/NS) until your degree is posted. During an extraordinary circumstances quarter, S grades will count toward degree and graduation requirements.
Autumn quarter worked because of your efforts! We ask you to continue the same diligent care: stay home when sick, get a booster shot, avoid unmasked gatherings, wear a well-fitting, high-quality mask. Testing options in our region continue to expand and now include rapid tests that are mailed to you.
Psychological & Wellness Services provides confidential mental health counseling and related services for currently enrolled UW Tacoma students at no additional cost. PAWS also provides consultation to faculty, staff and university student families. MySSP is available outside PAWS hours.
Tomorrow, Tuesday, Jan. 25, from 10-11 a.m., we will be hosting a Community Conversation where you can learn more about how the remainder of winter quarter will work, and you can ask questions you may have about our plans. It will also be an opportunity to hear your suggestions for how best we work together to uphold our values of access, equity, excellence and belonging as we successfully transition back to a largely in-person environment. You can submit your questions in advance or during the event to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We want you to know how much we appreciate the grace you have shown throughout these last two years. Our core values include providing, safely, an excellent in-person educational experience for you, our students. The emergence of Omicron has been stressful and for many traumatic, but case counts in some parts of our region are already declining, and are predicted to begin declining in Pierce County within the next week.
With your continued dedication and patience on- and off-campus, we will get through this! Thank you. You make us proud to be Huskies!
Even though many classes are retaining a remote format for the next several weeks (instructors have flexibility through Jan. 28), the campus remains open. There are some in-person classes, and students are on campus to study and access services. It is wonderful to see you!
Mattress Factory (MAT) 106 is the central hub for students and visitors needing in-person assistance. Main entrances to campus buildings are open 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mon-Fri. Outside those hours you will need your Husky Card to access buildings.
Students can use their Husky Cards to enter the Dawg House Student Lounge in the MAT and find spaces to study, eat, and access remote classes in a private area. Quiet space is also available near MAT 103, MAT 213 and MAT 352. Admissions is continuing to serve prospective students in MAT 251.
The UW Tacoma Library, computer labs, the University Y and reservable study spaces are open, too. Find the location of reservable and non-reservable spaces by using Scout.
Please wipe down tabletops, chairs and other surfaces before and after you use campus spaces. Disinfectant wipes are available at stations throughout campus buildings.
Thank you again for all you have done and will do to keep yourself and those around you safe.
Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs
December 20, 2021 - "'We are here to support you' message to UWT students"
Dear UW Tacoma students,
I get it. The Omicron news is scary. But, as UW leaders said in their message yesterday, we are in a much better place today than we were in March of 2020.
It isn’t yet possible to predict what the course of the Omicron variant will be, but there are hopeful signs. By holding the first week of most winter quarter classes online, we are allowing more time after your holiday travels for you to get booster shots and to get tested (you can still enroll in the Husky Coronavirus Testing program) before we return for in-person instruction on Jan. 10.
Your course instructors will provide updates via Canvas and/or email on specific course plans. I urge you to monitor those channels.
All student support services will continue to be available from the start of winter quarter on Jan. 3. These include:
September 26, 2021 - "A warm husky welcome from Mentha & Andre"
We are excited to welcome you – in person and on-line! Your first week will be busy, and we have prepared a short video to help you get ready.
Enjoy! And have an amazing first week, first month, and first quarter.
P.S. Your ASUWT President, Andre Jimenez, has also prepared a welcome video introducing you to some exciting developments in student government. You can view Andre's message below.
September 20, 2021 - "Welcome Huskies!"
Greetings and welcome to the 2021-2022 academic year! The start of the autumn quarter is especially exciting, and there will be plenty for you to absorb in the days and weeks to come. I am writing to share a few notable updates.
Campus Parking: Parking surrounding our campus is undergoing changes. The Cragle Lot and all parking along C Street, as examples, are closed for construction of Milgard Hall. Please visit the Parking Services website to learn which parking options are right for you.
Convocation: Students, faculty and staff come together to kick off the start of the academic year. The campus communities will gather on Wednesday, September 29, on the Prairie Line Trail Plaza from 12:30–1:30 pm. View the UW Tacoma Convocation website for more details.
Emergency Preparedness/UW Alert: We take your safety seriously and we want you to do the same. The UW Alert System provides current information regarding campus closures and delays due to inclement weather and emergency situations. To receive email and/or text messages, you must opt-in to this service — you will not receive alert messages if you have not signed up.
Free Coronavirus Testing: You are encouraged to enroll in the Husky Coronavirus Testing Program. Tests for the virus that causes COVID-19 are administered at in-person testing sites and through at home test kits.
Sex- and Gender-Based Violence and Harassment: If you have concerns about you or another person’s well-being, the university has resources that can help. Call the UW Tacoma Office of Advocacy and Support at 253-692-5934, the Office of the Title IX Coordinator at 206-221-7932 or SafeCampus at 206-685-7233 anytime — no matter where you work or study — to anonymously discuss safety and well-being concerns. No situation is too big or too small to discuss.
Vaccination Attestation: Remember that the university requires students and personnel to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Students can attest to being vaccinated online.
Welcome Days: There are many rewarding and fun ways to get involved on- and off-campus. With over 65 student organizations, there is bound to be something for you - from bingo nights and resume workshops to discussions of identity. Learn more through Welcome Days events during the first week of the autumn quarter.
Our aim in Student Affairs is simple: to help students access a variety of convenient and beneficial services, programs, and activities. Your academic success is our top priority and the Student Affairs team stands ready to guide you along the way.
Best wishes to all,
Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs
August 18, 2021 - "Your back-to-campus Checklist"
We’re excited to return to in-person learning this fall and to welcome you to — or back to — campus. As you prepare for autumn quarter, there are a number of things that you need to do in advance to ensure you start the quarter safely and successfully.
We’ve created a Back-to-School Checklist to help you get ready. There you’ll find details on steps you need to take before you set out for campus, as well as the things to bring with you.
Several of those key items are:
Get vaccinated against COVID-19 and complete your student COVID-19 Vaccine Attestation. There are free vaccine clinics available on campus in Philip Hall on Aug. 18 and 25 from 1 - 7 p.m.
Again, these are just a few of the steps – the Back-to-School Checklist has all the details, and following it will ensure you have a safe, healthy and successful start to the new academic year.
We can’t wait to see you on campus. If you have any questions, please contact us. We’re happy to help!
Mentha Hynes-Wilson Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs
August 17, 2021 - "Fully Vaccinated by 9/17? You May Win a 1k Scholarship"
Getting vaccinated is a critical step in stopping the COVID-19 pandemic, so we can return to the activities we love this summer and bring back the pack this fall.
As part of Washington’s “Shot of a Lifetime” program, the Governor’s Office recently announced funds to be awarded by random drawing to students in state colleges and universities. As a Washington state resident, you may be eligible to receive a $1,000 scholarship if you are fully vaccinated.
The UW will randomly select 10 students on each campus who meet the following requirements:
You are a Washington resident undergraduate or graduate student
Johnson & Johnson: Receive the shot no later than September 3
Pfizer: In order to be fully vaccinated by the deadline, you need to begin this series no later than August 13. We strongly recommend starting as soon as possible.
Moderna: In order to be fully vaccinated by the deadline, you need to begin this series no later than August 6.
The Office of Student Financial Aid plans to notify winners in late September.
Thank you for doing your part to stop this pandemic and protect your pack. We cannot wait to see you on campus this autumn.
Mentha Hynes-Wilson, Vice- Chancellor for Student Affairs
April 1, 2021 - "Spring quarter and Commencement"
We hope you’ve had a good start to spring quarter, and that the longer days and growing hope for an end to the coronavirus crisis have lifted your spirits as they have ours. As we all continue to do our part — including masking up, maintaining distancing and avoiding large gatherings, and getting vaccinated when eligible — we are also working to expand the number of in-person services and activities this spring, and planning for how we will recognize our graduates. We have updates on both of these topics to share with you.
Earlier this month, UW shared guidance with instructors and staff that outlines how to safely offer more in-person services, student organization meetings and optional class-related activities. The state moving to Phase 3 of its recovery plan allows us to do more in-person, though its requirement for six feet of distancing in classrooms, study areas and other facilities continues to limit most in-person instruction and group gatherings. Nevertheless, we will see an expansion of in-person services this spring and summer, and instructors are now allowed to offer optional class-related activities, so long as students learning remotely aren’t disadvantaged. Masks continue to be required in all UW facilities and shared spaces, regardless of vaccin! ation sta tus.
We recognize commencement and the UW’s many graduation celebrations are among the most meaningful events in the lives of graduates and their families. Together with our faculty and staff, we too look forward to these events. We take pride in your achievements and recognize you have worked hard — particularly since last spring — to reach this moment. We have spent the past several months evaluating what would be safe, feasible and equitable to do for commencement.
The UW’s 2021 commencement ceremonies will be held virtually, including all college, school and department graduation celebrations. Based on consultations with UW Tacoma undergraduate and graduate students, student leaders, health experts, and the University’s deans and chancellors, we determined regretfully that holding an in-person commencement ceremony in the Tacoma Dome — which in a normal year brings upwards of 10,000 graduates, families and friends to downtown Tacoma — or events throughout our facilities, is simply not possible in the interest of public health. Rising case counts in recent days, along with the fact that the majority of the UW’s employees and students will likely not yet be fully vaccinated by commencement, make our conditions uniquely difficult and fluid when compared to other institutions around the country.
We know the lack of an in-person commencement is disappointing news for our 2021 graduates, as well as for the 2020 graduates whom we’d hoped to be able to recognize at an in-person ceremony this year. We are working on additional opportunities to celebrate our graduates during the traditional spring timeframe that are designed around ideas generated during a Community Conversation with undergraduate and graduate students. We will continue to work on opportunities to recognize the achievements of the Class of 2020 and the Class of 2021 in the future. We’ll share details later this quarter. And as was announced in January, we are planning to be back for largely in-person classes in the fall.
We continue to be grateful for the ways you have cared for each other, for those who depend on you and for yourselves. Thank you for the many ways you have continued and excelled in your studies, your clubs and activities, your internships and research, and your friendships in the face of grief, loneliness, anxiety and all the other, often hidden, side effects of this pandemic and other traumas. We can create a brighter future if we remember and act on the lessons these times are teaching us about building a more just and more equitable world for us all.
Stay safe. Stay strong. And best wishes for a successful spring quarter.
Mark A. Pagano
Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs
February 16, 2021 - "UK coronavirus variant detected at the UW"
The B.1.1.7 variant originated in the United Kingdom. It is 30%-50% more contagious than the coronavirus variant now most prevalent in our region. This means it takes less exposure to the virus to infect you. It also means that a small number of cases in a community can more quickly turn into another wave of infections and the reinstatment of health restrictions.
I wanted you to be aware of this information because we may soon be seeing wider spread of the B.1.1.7 variant throughout our region and the nation, and now is a good time to remind ourselves to step up our own COVID prevention efforts.
Additionally, while Spring Break is just around the corner and falling case counts might make it look like it’s safer to travel, the risk remains high and you should continue to avoid all but the most essential trips.
The Seattle Flu Study will continue to sequence positive samples from the Husky Coronavirus Testing program in order to determine the prevalence of this and other virus variants in our community.
The coronavirus spreads when we let our guard down, and this new variant is even better at taking advantage of our lapses. We are all fatigued, but we can control the virus and get back to a more normal way of living and learning if we stay on our guard and each continue to do our part.
Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs
January 19, 2021 - "The UW's plans for spring quarter and returning in the fall"
We hope you have had a successful start to the winter quarter, despite the challenges posed by the strife in our country and the continued suffering caused by the pandemic. We are writing to share with you the University of Washington’s spring quarter plans for the Tacoma campus, as well as our intent to return to in-person instruction this fall.
The coronavirus continues to infect more than 200,000 people in the United States each day and January is poised to be the most tragic month of the pandemic to date. While vaccines are being administered here in Washington and beyond, the UW Advisory Committee on Communicable Diseases and other health experts report that vaccination efforts are not expected to contain the virus enough to allow for significant relaxation of health restrictions by the start of spring quarter on March 29.
Therefore, for spring quarter we plan to continue most courses online, similar to winter quarter, while at the same time offering more in-person student services and activities as the quarter progresses. Our deans, vice chancellors, and other leaders are committed to expanding units’ in-person services over the course of spring quarter, as state and local health guidelines allow. Instructors will also have the flexibility to offer optional, in-person, class-related activities, such as physically distanced advising, so long as students taking those courses remotely are not disadvantaged.
Those courses held in person will once again largely be labs and similar hands-on courses, and these will continue to have appropriate safety measures and physical distancing in place. The spring quarter time schedule will be posted Friday, Jan. 22 and generally indicate whether classes will be taught remotely or in person, though some changes may occur as schools and colleges refine their plans. You will continue to have the option to make academic progress through fully remote instruction. Your academic advisors and course instructors can address questions you may have.
While the prospects for spring are not what any of us would have hoped, based on projections from health experts we are looking forward to welcoming you back to campus for an autumn quarter with largely in-person classes. This, of course, depends on the effective distribution of vaccines and on each of us continuing to follow health guidance, such as wearing masks and avoiding gatherings.
Summer session courses will likely be a mix of remote and in-person classes, as the course of the pandemic allows. And we are in active discussions about ways in which we can safely and appropriately recognize those who will graduate this year, because we know how meaningful these events are to graduates and their families.
Throughout this pandemic, UW Tacoma’s faculty and staff have been committed to finding innovative ways to support your learning, well-being and success. We will continue that commitment as we begin the transition to more in-person services this spring and more in-person courses in the summer and fall.
We can each help hasten the end of the pandemic through our own actions, and we are so appreciative of all the ways you are doing your part by following the Husky PACK Pledge and the 3 W’s — Wear a mask. Wash your hands. Watch your distance. — and also by taking part in Husky Coronavirus Testing. We both pledge to take a coronavirus vaccine as soon as we are eligible and encourage you to do the same.
Thank you for the grace and compassion you have shown each other — and yourselves — during these challenging times. There is light on the horizon, and working together we will get to a time when we can all be together, in-person, as a community once more.
Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs