Students to propose establishment of Latino center

by Erin Loback | 6/21/96 5:00am

Latino students and supporters are currently drafting a proposal requesting a resource center to promote Latino issues at Dartmouth, according to La Alianza Latina President Uriel Barrera-Vasquez '98.

Abraham Hunter, advisor to Latino/Hispanic students, said the proposal is still far from completion.

"There is a lot of new information that needs to be submitted," he said.

Hunter said there are "no assurances or promises" that a Latino resource center will be established at Dartmouth in the near future, but "as we are moving ahead, we see it is important to have space."

An ongoing process

The process of submitting the proposal is ongoing, Hunter said, and several drafts will probably have to be written.

He said he expects it to be finished this term.

"We want to go ahead and present as much as possible," Hunter said. "I can put together a lot of data from my three terms as the advisor."

Dean of the College Lee Pelton said the proposal for a Latino resource center has gone through several forms and he has not seen the latest one.

He said he believed the latest proposal asks for an academic affinity house.

A proposal for a Latino resource center was "submitted about a year and a half ago, and recently some revisions are being made to it," Hunter said.

Ernesto Cuevas '98, intern to the Latino/Hispanic Advisor's office, said Latino students at Dartmouth have been seeking a space of their own for many years.

Barrera-Vasquez said the proposal for a Latino resource center is "something La Alianza has been working on for a few years."

Many potential functions

Cuevas said if it were created, a resource center would be "the center of the Latino community."

Hunter said the resource center would have a big area for programs and resources for a small library.

The center would also serve as a place for meetings of Latino students as well as for programs to educate the community about Latino issues, he said.

The drive for a Latino resource center has a "multi-faceted goal involving the Latino community and the general Dartmouth community," said Cuevas, who is also a former president of La Alianza.

Cuevas said Hunter's office in Collis is small, and a new resource center could instead house this office.

The resource center would also ideally have a room for a fellow to live in, Barrera-Vasquez said.

He said the Latino students and their supporters are looking for a resource center, which is different from an affinity house because it is for anyone who is interested in Latino studies, issues and culture.

A resource center "would be open to everyone, like the Native American House and [Cutter-Shabazz]," Barrera-Vasquez said.

He said the resource center would be a meeting place for Latino students which would also have beds.

He said having students live at the house is not the main concern, but it could be a way to pay for the resource center.

Competing for space

Barrera-Vasquez said Pelton has a committee to determine which groups have priority for space.

"We could be at the top, we could be at the bottom," Barrera-Vasquez said.

He noted that for events, "La Alianza has always had trouble finding space."

"We even have trouble reserving rooms in Collis for meetings," he said.

Barrera-Vasquez said other groups that are looking for space are the Dartmouth Rainbow Alliance, Dartmouth United and the Dartmouth Asian Organization.

Pelton said there is an "informal committee on campus which advises the College on how space should be used" that works with his office.

"The bottom line is, there is very little space available for the kinds of things student groups would like," Pelton said.

"Whenever needs are matched with availability, then some arrangements can be made," he said.

Other schools

Hunter said the universities of Harvard , Yale, Stanford and Cornell all have Latino resource centers.

However, he said, these schools also have larger Latino populations than Dartmouth.

Cuevas said that he does not know whether the lack of a Latino resource center is reflected in the number of high school students who have chosen to attend Dartmouth.

"Students need to feel at home or they aren't going to do well," Cuevas said.

"People begin to miss a lot of where they come from and what their community was like in the past," he said.

"At the same time," Cuevas said, "people come here and want to learn about different cultures and communities."

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