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University marks national HSI week

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Edith Gomez
Staff Writer 

To kick off National Hispanic Serving Institution, or HSI, Week, the University held a forum on Monday in the Ludwick Center Sacred Space with roughly 30 attendees to recognize the Latino student body. 

There were several events throughout the week to honor and understand what it means to be an HSI. 

Christian Bracho, associate professor of teacher education, was the main speaker for Monday’s event. Bracho shared background and context for what being a national Hispanic Serving Institution means. 

“How can we change this institution so that we are actually serving them?” Bracho asked.

The second half of the forum involved a discussion of ideas and thoughts on how the University is using the HSI title and giving back to students. 

About 57% of ULV students are Latinx, so serving this student body better was an important theme. 

Another topic discussed was the different types of Hispanic serving institutions. Institutions with populations that are 25% Latinx or more are designated “Hispanic Serving.” Those that are close to that 25% threshold are called emerging Hispanic institutions. 

 “The University needs to do better to serve the Latinx community,” said Raúl Pérez, assistant professor of sociology. “Although in numbers we are seen as an HSI, we are still in the emerging phase to get to the part where we can confidently say we are serving that community.” 

“I think we need to figure out what our student’s needs are, what our community needs,”  said Alexandra Burrel, chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer. “I think it’s consistent that we need faculty of color, that we need to retain (and) recruit more.”

The University is taking steps to improve the experience for and better serve its Latinx students. 

“We do have an HSI task force, continuously trying to flesh out what it means for us to be serving versus enrolling (Latinx students), ” said Daniel Loera, director of multicultural affairs. “I’ve been here for over 22 years and (years ago) this conversation wouldn’t be happening as openly as it is.” 

Edith Gomez can be reached at edith.gomez@laverne.edu.

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Edith Gomez is a senior communications major with a concentration in public affairs.

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