Dear Campus Community,
September 15th marked the beginning of Latinx Heritage Month. This year, we have much to celebrate in the many ways Chicanx-Latinx students, faculty, and staff are making UC Berkeley and the campus experience richer.
This past year has been particularly difficult for many Latinx people in the United States. The undocumented community has been the target of a national campaign to dehumanize and minimize the contributions of Latinx people in America. Families have been separated, torn apart, and federal promises have been broken.
Chancellor Christ has formed the Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) Task Force to provide Berkeley with a blueprint for becoming. The 27-member committee is co-chaired by Kris Gutierrez, the Carol Liu Chair and Professor at the Graduate School of Education, and me.
The Division of Equity & Inclusion has established a Chicanx Latinx Standing Committee. The 15 members are made up of faculty, staff, undergraduate and graduate students, and alumni. There are several important recommendations put forward in the Chicanx Latinx Task Force report. The committee will advise the Chancellor’s Cabinet on improving campus equity, inclusion, and the experience for Chicanx-Latinx students, staff, and faculty as well as prioritizing the task force recommendations.
Two outstanding professionals have accepted positions of leadership on campus. Lisa García Bedolla became the Vice Provost for Graduate Studies and Dean of the Graduate Division in July 2019. Prior to her appointment, Dean García Bedolla served as the director of the Institute of Governmental Studies at UC Berkeley and professor in the Graduate School of Education. She has earned five national book awards for her work exploring why people choose to engage politically and has consulted for presidential campaigns and statewide ballot efforts.
Lisa’s extensive body of academic research focuses on understanding the causes of political and economic inequalities in the United States, using cross-disciplinary approaches to examine disparities that cut across the lines of ethnicity, race, gender, class, geography and sexuality.
Samuel Santos is the new Assistant Vice Chancellor and Associate Dean of Students. He comes to Berkeley from the University of Houston, Downtown, where he was the Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students. Mr. Santos brings years of experience and dedication to student services at two-and-four-year colleges.
Striving to make UC Berkeley accessible to more communities, the Office of Undergraduate Admissions has launched Berkeley En Español. The website provides information in Spanish on the application process, transfer requirements, planning a visit to campus, and much more.
The Puente Project, located at Berkeley’s Center for Educational Partnerships, has increased its commitment to the K-14 pipeline, ensuring students are ready to apply to and be admitted into four-year colleges. For the last 38 years, Puente has worked with high schools and community colleges. Now they have launched a middle school program to begin the college preparation process even earlier.
This summer, as the news cycles filled with stories of family separations and internments at the Mexico border, Professor Ronald Rael, Architecture department chair, constructed an art project called Teeter Totter Wall between Sunland Park, New Mexico and Ciudad Juarez. Three bright pink teeter-totters reached through the wall for children on both sides to play on. Instead of the wall keeping children and families apart, for this one day, it brought them together. Professor Rael hopes the project helped shift perceptions of border communities. Read more about the project in California Magazine
Latinx Heritage Month continues through October 15th. A wide variety of talks, workshops, and other events are being sponsored by Chicanx Latinx Student Development, Alianza Staff Association, Casa Magdalena Mora Theme Program, and Latinx Research Center. We encourage you to take part and enjoy the celebrations.
Oscar Dubón, Jr.
Vice Chancellor, Equity & Inclusion