The Latinx Caucus met with UC Berkeley administration and Chancellor Carol Christ in a sit-down meeting Monday to discuss its concerns and demands regarding the welfare and success of the Latine community at UC Berkeley.
The event covered five areas of concern by campus’s Latine community, including institutional demands, housing, retention efforts and obtaining a permanent space for the Latinx Student Resource Center, or LSRC.
The caucus was formed in the early 1990s to facilitate communication and address the needs of campus’s Latine community and supported by the Chicanx/Latinx Student Development Office. Its meeting with the chancellor comes after months of negotiated dates and postponements to have a sit-down, starting with a letter sent to the chancellor’s office in January.
The letter highlighted a set of specific demands for professional development, cultural and affordable housing and financial support for Latine groups and the campus ethnic studies department.
One of the largest demands within the letter addressed during the meeting was community concerns and a desire for transparency on the status of the LSRC, which shut down due to infrastructure issues in December 2022.
Currently, the LSRC is in a temporary space in Hearst Field Annex.
The concern over whether there is a space for the LSRC for the summer and fall was raised among the caucus’s list of demands.
Administration in attendance noted that “complexities” to space allocation take time, citing the phases that it took to establish a permanent space for campus’s Multicultural Community Center.
“We are trying hard to finalize it, we’re working hard on it and a decision will be made soon,” said Vice Provost for Academic Planning Lisa Alvarez-Cohen. “If you are concerned about not having a space before the end of the semester, you are not going to be kicked out of the space without anywhere to go.”
Demands of the LSRC included establishing and meeting with a committee twice annually on the status of the LSRC space, to which Cohen added they’d be “happy” to meet and provide updates.
Additionally, issues with funding, retention and counseling were discussed during the town hall, including specific calls to address cost of living and attendance within the Latinx theme programs, reassessments of gaps in enrollment and graduation and affordability for currently enrolled students.
Campus Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Stephen Sutton responded with suggestions to adjust costs of attendance, and Christ added the importance of further research into enrollment and retention gaps.
The issue of disparities between Latine staff hires and the growing numbers of Latine students was also brought up in the caucus’s letter. Community members and leaders also raised calls for transparency about community metrics and specific funding for themed programs and faculty diversity.