HSI Progress and Next Phases Toward Becoming a Latinx Thriving Campus

November 10, 2021

Dear Campus Community, 

Becoming a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) by 2027 is a high priority for our campus. Today we are writing to announce the launch of the HSI Initiative. We want to thank the campus community for your detailed and valuable feedback on the HSI report and recommendations. We would also like to thank the HSI Task Force Co-Chairs Dr. Oscar Dubón, Jr. and Dr. Kris Gutiérrez, and the students, staff, faculty, and alumni who generously served on the task force for their comprehensive, thoughtful, and practical roadmap for federal HSI designation and becoming a Latinx-thriving institution. In addition, we would like to acknowledge the participation and support from the Chicanx/Latinx Standing Committee

An important part of ensuring we advance this initiative in an inclusive way was to obtain comments from the campus community. We appreciate the number of comments received during the open comment period, for which we thank you. We considered carefully the various comments and perspectives, all which will inform our thinking as we move forward in achieving our HSI goals.

Here is a summary of the comments on the report:  

  • There was overwhelming support and appreciation for the comprehensive and thoroughness of the content of the report, which took into consideration the historical, political, institutional and social aspects of becoming an HSI. 

  • Language, beyond Spanish, is an important cultural and inclusive element of becoming an HSI. Offering more than just a one-dimensional perspective on how language shapes and invites an experience toward greater belonging is critical in the classroom and on campus. Acknowledging the indigenous languages and communities as well as ensuring materials are translated accordingly will aid in the inclusiveness of the approach to becoming an HSI.  

  • To achieve our campus access goals within the confines of California law, we have and will continuously assess and evolve our entire admissions process from outreach to yield, and work more closely with our student initiated groups that do excellent work with recruitment.  As a premier California public institution we are confident we can uphold our commitment to access as an institutional value and goal, while continuing to ensure that every applicant for admission meets our rigorous standards. 

  • Acknowledging and lifting up the work that has already been effective in attracting, retaining, and enriching the experience of our Latinx/Chicanx communities must be foundational to advancing the goals of a Latinx-thriving campus.  

  • Executing the HSI implementation plan recommendations in a timely, strategic, and coordinated manner will be important next steps in making progress towards becoming an HSI. 

  • We are building upon the tireless efforts and countless contributions of Latinx students, staff, faculty, alumni and community members. We must continue to capture their wisdom, knowledge and expertise throughout the implementation and after the federal designation is achieved.

The HSI Task Force report and the community feedback reinforce that the HSI Initiative is not just about meeting a numerical target and federal designation. We are striving to create a campus community where every student thrives and has equal access to Berkeley’s extraordinary opportunities. To achieve this type of transformational change, it is imperative that the work belongs to all of us -- students, faculty, staff, alumni and community partners alike. 

To ensure the initiative continues to move forward while also providing flexibility in the current budget climate, adoption of the HSI Task Force recommendations will occur in phases, as outlined in the report. Investment in Phase I requires campus support for the creation of the implementation structure, including identifying and establishing committees, sequencing future recommendations and pursuing the immediate staff positions necessary to move the campus into Phase II.

Under the guidance of HSI Initiative co-chairs, Vice Chancellor for Equity & Inclusion Dania Matos and Professor Kris Gutiérrez, we are happy to report that Phase I of the implementation has started. As such, we invite you to join us for an HSI Initiative Townhall on Thursday, December 9, 2021 where we will provide updates, share next steps and collect your input on the implementation plan. We are also excited to share the soft launch of our HSI website that you can visit for updates on our collective journey. We will continue to collect feedback from the community as part of an iterative process to build upon this initial soft launch of the website. 

Advancing the HSI Initiative is our collective responsibility as a public land-grant institution. We will continue to engage the Berkeley community after the townhall, as we form committees and activate the short-, medium- and long-term recommendations from the report. Implementation plans will include quarterly campus updates, community engagement activities, and the development of a sustainable funding model to ensure we make progress toward federal HSI designation and become a Latinx-thriving institution. To ensure a continual feedback loop, we invite you to submit your comments, questions, and indicate your interest in participating in this important initiative. 

Thank you again for your engagement and advice as we work toward putting in motion the implementation plans for achieving federal HSI designation and becoming a Latinx-thriving institution. 

Carol T. Christ
Catherine P. Koshland
Interim Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost
Dania Matos, JD (she/her/ella)
Vice Chancellor for Equity & Inclusion, Executive Sponsor and Co-Chair of the HSI Initiative

Professor Kris Guitérrez (she/her/ella)
Co-chair of the HSI Task Force and Initiative

Chancellor's Office