Students and faculty are concerned about the lack of professors in the Asian-American studies, Africana studies, Chicano and Latino studies and American-Indian studies departments.
Paola Carrillo, a senior Chicano and Latino studies major argued that the lack of diversity in professors is present among all departments.
“There’s a lack of Latino and Latinx professors in all departments,” Carrillo said. “I like seeing professors that look like me and have similar experiences and background.”
The issue was initially brought to the attention of Associated Students Inc. Sen. Minoli De Silva after she attended several campus club meetings and was approached by students majoring in Chicano and Latino studies who expressed their concerns.
There are currently six full-time professors in the Chicano and Latino studies department for around 800 students currently enrolled in classes in the department. This is an increase from previous years, but no additional professors were hired, according to Jose F. Moreno, associate professor for the Chicano and Latino department.
“This campus has shown very little commitment to our department in terms of sustaining and investing long term,” Moreno said.
The department is often a spot for students interested in ethnic studies while enrolled in general education courses to seek support and gain advice on their career paths.
Provost Brian Jersky, who is responsible for overseeing academic affairs on campus, explained the process of hiring faculty starts with departments making a request to the college dean who then passes the recommendations to him.
“These are decided based on student numbers and demand for courses,” Jersky said. “I have not seen any need for additional faculty hiring in the ethnic studies area based on those numbers.”
The Chicano and Latino Department was previously located in Faculty Office 3, the same building that holds the other departments, but was moved to the McIntosh Humanities Building.
The move from a building in the center of campus to a more isolated location has students and faculty in the department feeling a lack of support from the university.
“For us it’s hard to find our department and it’s hard to think about majoring with us because a lot of people don’t talk about us,” Moreno said. “We’re a nice shiny object that gets brought out when the campus needs to show that it cares about its growing Latino demography.”
Classrooms previously held in Liberal Arts 5 were also moved to be closer to the department and are now mostly located in Peterson Hall 1 and University Telecommunications 101. The auditorium seating offers no movement of chairs for class discussions, and the outdated equipment has proven difficult, according to Moreno.
“Areas of studies like ours are considered add-ons,” Moreno said. “It’s not seen as something fundamental to the mission of this institution because if it was, we wouldn’t be in this situation.”