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Forum to look at Latina/o experience 10 years after protest


Mare Payne, News Bureau
(217) 333-0567; m-payne@illinois.edu

4/19/
2002

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Ten years after a Latino/a student demonstration on the University of Illinois campus called for reforms concerning students, faculty, staff, curriculum and campus climate, a forum on April 27 will take a look at the past experiences of Latinas/os on campus and toward the future.

"The Struggle of the Latina/o Experience at the UI – 1992-2002," to be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Temple Hoyne Buell Hall auditorium, 611 Taft Drive, Champaign, will feature a campus committee’s assessment of the status of Latinas/os on campus during the past decade.

"Latinas and Latinos continue to be underrepresented at all levels at the University of Illinois, even while the Latino population in the state of Illinois has increased dramatically since 1992," said Cristina Pacione-Zayas, co-chair of the Campus Committee on Latina/o Issues, which initiated the April 27 program.

"One goal of this forum is to help the university understand that it has a responsibility to ensure that all citizens of this state are provided the opportunity to study and work at the Urbana-Champaign campus. We think it is time to move beyond excuses or explanations. We’re interested in seeing results."

Among the participants invited to the forum are Latina/o students who were on campus in spring 1992 who will share their perspectives.

The demands students made at the May 5, 1992, protest included hiring additional Latina/o faculty, staff and administrators; increasing support for recruitment and graduation of undergraduate and graduate students; establishing a Latina/o Studies Program; providing sufficient resources for La Casa Cultural Latina; and targeting recruitment at high schools and community colleges that have large enrollments of Latina/o students.

Changes the campus initiated since the 1992 protest include the creation of the Latina/o Studies Program, which offers an undergraduate minor; a larger facility for La Casa Cultural Latino; expanded recruitment at Chicago-area high schools; and additional resources aimed at the retention of Latina/o undergraduate students.