Thursday, March 27, 2008

UMCP Students Fight for Latina/o Studies Program

Foolishness: Another ethnic studies program is under siege.

Last night, a meeting was organized by undergraduates, graduate students and supportive faculty. Particularly incensed are two students who are set to graduate with the minor this year but may not have it reflected in their degrees because of the university's proposed "strategic plan":

"And for ten years we've experienced a number of setbacks … and one of the things we keep hearing over and over again is that the university doesn't understand why we need a U.S. Latina/o studies program," said Hernandez, who formerly worked as a reporter for The Diamondback.

With laughter and applause from the crowd at the considerably audacious move, senior Evelyn Lopez, a criminal justice major and one of two students who has met the requirements to graduate this May with a minor in the unsanctioned program, took the floor as well. There, she asked Farvardin how he can push a plan full of global initiatives while a diversity-centered program sits on the administration's desk.

"We've worked really hard," Lopez said. "Are you just going to forget about the other minors that are trying to get put into place, or are you just going to give more initiative to [the strategic plan] and just kind of put everything aside?"

The university claims it does not have the resources to sponsor a Latina/o Studies Program.

Times are tight, true. But the first move is to cut scholarships, fellowships, programs and departments that cater directly to populations already underrepresented at the university-level???

And what does a university without these programs look like? How does that change the dynamic of a campus over one, five or ten years?

Click here to contact
Robb Hernandez
about what you can do to help the students (who are united across race, by the way) at University of Maryland-College Park.

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