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MEChA de UCLA recently held a demonstration on campus in a response to discrimination at the university. Earlier in the week, racial and sexist slurs were scrawled on a door of an apartment in Westwood near the UCLA campus.
A photo of the vandalized door was posted to Latino Rebels’ Facebook page last week, showing the anti-Mexican, misogynist insults. According to reports, though one of the three residents of the apartment is a Guatemalan-Salvadoran woman, the only Mexican-American in the apartment is a male.
As told to UCLA’s student paper, The Daily Bruin:
The hate crime is the most stark incident to happen recently, but minorities at UCLA face discrimination on a daily basis, said Luis Roman, a fifth-year Chicana and Chicano studies and women’s studies student.
“I think this incident was the last straw that we could take as a community,” said Roman, who is on a MEChA steering committee to plan future events and action against discrimination on campus for all minorities, not just the Latino community.
This isn’t surprising considering that last year another UCLA student was in the news for making racist statements. It is disheartening given that a prestigious institution dedicated to higher learning, located in one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the world continues to have a problem with discrimination and racism.
In order to prevent future attacks against underrepresented students at UCLA, MEChA reportedly wants to meet with other minority groups on campus to plan other protests and demonstrations and will meet with the university’s administration to “take proactive steps against a hostile campus climate.”
[Photo By Chris Radcliff]
UCLA is set to shut down the independent Spanish and Portuguese Department to merge all language departments into one single department, irregardless of how popular any given language may be at the university. In an email that’s been circulating in academic circles, the current chair of the Spanish and Portuguese Department, Maarten van Delden, notes:
As you may already have heard, there is a distinct possibility that our department will cease to exist as an autonomous entity at UCLA. Following is a brief overview of what has been happening at our university.
In December 2009, a Humanities Task Force convened by the Executive Vice Chancellor proposed, among other recommendations, a merger of Spanish and Portuguese with other language departments, creating a Department of European Languages and Cultures. In Winter 2010 several town hall meetings were held, at which faculty expressed overwhelming opposition to the merger plan. Nevertheless, in late October the Dean of Humanities announced that he wanted to implement the merger. In November and December he met with each of the departments concerned, and once again strong opposition was expressed. The departments wrote letters to the dean stating the reasons for their opposition. I’m attaching the letter from Spanish and Portuguese, which was signed by a large majority of my colleagues.
The dean has informed us that he will be submitting recommendations for the future of our department before the end of the current quarter. I think now would be a good moment for friends and alumni of the department to share their point of view with the dean. The Department of Spanish and Portuguese has a long and distinguished tradition of teaching, research and service to the community. Furthermore, UCLA is located in the largest Spanish-speaking city in the Western hemisphere outside of Latin America. Given the importance of the Spanish language and of the cultures of Spanish-speaking peoples to our region, it seems incomprehensible that UCLA could contemplate eliminating the Department of Spanish and Portuguese as an autonomous entity on our campus.
If you would like to express an opinion on this matter, I encourage you to write to Tim Stowell, Dean of Humanities (firstname.lastname@example.org), with a copy to Professor Devon Carbado(email@example.com), a UCLA law professor currently acting as special assistant to the dean for the implementation of the merger.
There’s also an official letter protesting the proposed merger, you may see that here.