Texas A&M minority students petition college for Latino/Chicano studies program

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By Raul Garcia Jr.
Twitter: @rgarcia_LE

Colleges around the country are offering Latino/Chicano studies undergraduate and graduate degrees and Aggie students are asking themselves why doesn’t Texas A&M University offer similar courses and programs. So they started a petition.

“The effort has been going on for a month,” said Joe Rodriguez, a TAMU double major. “The goal is to create the minor and once we have the minor we can push for the major.”

A group of minority students aligned with as many campus groups to gain a critical mass and then they started an online petition that has grained over 300 signatures and comments that reflected the opinions of students, state tax-payers and people from around the country.

The petition states that Latino students are underrepresented by Texas A&M University and by not providing additional education opportunities for them to learn about their own history and culture. This minor would not only serve the growing Latino population at TAMU, but also provide further opportunities for students of any background to broaden the scope of their own education.

“A lot of other institutions already have Chicano/Latino studies programs already in place,” Rodriguez said. “ If places like Michigan, Indiana and California have programs like this– Why can’t Texas A&M.”

Rodriguez said this years freshman class is 24 percent Latino and he believes if the trend continues TAMU will be serving more Latinos in the coming years.
Leaders from all the Hispanic/Latino campus organizations meet with the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts on April 28th. They met with Dean José Luis Bermúdez and reported that he was receptive to the idea and will work with the students and faculty to organize the courses.

“The meeting with the dean of liberal arts, Luis Bermudez, went extremely well,” said Cindy Salinas, TAMU freshman. “The faculty that was working with us fully supported us and the Dean himself stated his full support for the Minor.”

TAMU offers a Hispanic studies Minor that focuses on Spanish language literature yet the students expressed that the courses didn’t include any topics of historical history about Latino or Chicanos in the United States.

Salinas said, “For the following months, the dean will be working to have the minor in effect as soon as possible now we are in the process of deciding the curriculum that will be included in the minor itself.”

The first Chicano/Latino studies program was established in 1969 at California State University. By 1984, when the University of Michigan established it’s Latino Studies Program UCLA, Indiana State, Rutgers University all had major programs. By 2010, twenty-eight tier one colleges in the United States have Latino/Chicano or Ethnic Studies programs for students to explore and research the Latino experience of history, creative production and liberation movement.

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