Would you agree with Harvard President Neil L. Rudenstine in his 1996 report when he stated while referring to diversity, “It is the substance from which much human learning, understanding, and wisdom derive. It offers one of the most powerful ways of creating the intellectual energy and robustness that lead to greater knowledge, as well as the tolerance and mutual respect that are so essential to the maintenance of our civic society.”
Did you have any Latin@ professors while at Harvard University? Do you think Harvard should strengthen its effort to recruit tenured faculty from traditionally under-represented minority groups in the United States? Are you willing to pledge your support for such efforts?
In April 1996, Latin@ students organized the first Harvard-wide conference to create an action agenda and prioritize community goals for U.S. Latin@ students at Harvard on the premise that, “La Union Hace La Fuerza.” Approximately 275 undergraduate and graduate students participated in the conference held at the JFK School of Government.
The resulting mandate from this conference was the formation of a national Latin@ alumni association that would strengthen and complement student efforts to advocate specific community objectives and the unique interests of U.S. Latin@ students at Harvard. The Latin@ Mobilization Team has set out, for the past 3 years, to faithfully meet that charge by collecting alumni, and student home and email addresses through informal networks and mailing lists. In addition, the Team sent a one-time mailing to those listed in a compiled database of more than 2,500 identified Latin@ graduates. No Harvard funds were used to pursue our efforts.
In less than a three weeks after our mailing we received over 200 pledges to support the outlined goals and overall strategy. Each pledge asserts agreement to become a member and support our vision to make Harvard a warmer, more receptive and welcoming University for future generations of U.S. Latin@ students.
Upon reaching a critical mass of support, the Mobilization Team will request an appointment with the University President with an invitation to the Board of Overseers to introduce our proposed vision, mission, and goals and ultimate objective-to increase the recruitment of tenured faculty from dramatically under-represented Latin@ minority groups in this country.
Those who have already pledged also support the creation of a:
- Harvard administrative position with the assistant staff necessary to oversee the logistical operations to implement our vision and mission including Latin@ student recruitment
- Harvard-affiliated Latin@ Alumni Association
- Latin@ Alumni Advisory Board elected by the alumni association’s membership that provides input on issues important to Latin@ students and alumni
- Database of Latin@ alumni and graduating students from all schools and units
- Database of Latin@ Ph.D.s and other academic instructors from the United States and Puerto Rico to expand the pool of Latin@ candidates.
- National Latin@ alumni newsletter with articles submitted to the Latin@ Alumni Advisory Board from the membership
- Endowment fund for U.S. Latin@ faculty
To pledge, or for more information, please e-mail Armando Ramirez at firstname.lastname@example.org or call Russ Calleros at (562) 464-6974. In the near future, we will announce our “Latin@ mobilization” web page for finding downloads of pledge materials and project status updates.
Armando Ramirez is a Communications Coordinator and Russ Calleros is the Executive Director of Mobilization Project until December 2000. We hope that Board elections can be organized and will take place by that date. We would like to thank the men and women of the team who have given their labor and financial support to our effort over the past four years. La Union Have La Fuerza.
Eddie M. Duque was a Master in Public Policy ’96 at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.
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