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Chancellor Christ pledges for UC Berkeley to become a ‘Hispanic Serving Institution’

By Camila Ceja

Courtesy of the Latinx Caucus Facebook page (@LatinxatBerkeley).

On Tuesday, Nov. 10, the Latinx Caucus held a community meeting with Chancellor Christ and fellow administrators of UC Berkeley. The Latinx Caucus is a student-run organization that circulates resources, events and discussions to the Latinx community on campus. This semester, the Caucus held its semesterly meeting with Chancellor Christ open to the public via zoom. Topics discussed at the meeting included a ten year plan to convert UC Berkeley into a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI).

The meeting began with a land acknowledgement of the university’s space in Ohlone land, as well as a review of community agreements, ensuring the meeting to be a safe space. Amongst community members, leaders of the sixteen Latinx-serving organizations on campus introduced themselves, as well as gave information about their respective organizations.The Chancellor opened the discussion by providing a statement of sympathy for the community, as the impacts of the elections, pandemic and overall semester have proven to be extremely difficult for the campus community.

The main topic of discussion throughout the meeting was UC Berkeley’s efforts to serve the Latinx community. Chancellor Christ and her administrators announced that the university is currently on the timeline of a ten year plan to transform the university into a HSI.

Literally defined, a HSI is one that has an enrollment of at least 25% Hispanic students. Last year’s freshman class enrollment consisted of 15.5 % Hispanic students and rose to a record number of 17.9% for the 2020 freshman class.

The ten year plan to become an HSI was decided in 2018 as the university began a transition into implementing new resources for Latinx students. Last year, the Chancellor made an announcement that the University would establish a Latinx Resource Center, which is still in the making. Administrators have worked to establish a location, with a space in Unit 3, a UC Berkeley residence hall, as a possible location.

Many of the community members at the meeting questioned the process to becoming an HSI. They asked how the university will help the Latinx and POC community members that are currently present and especially those struggling due to the pandemic. In response, Chancellor Christ assured that they are working to implement new resources into EOP. In addition, though prop 16 for Affirmative Action did not pass, the Chancellor claimed that a new administration process was going to be implemented.

The Chancellor also gave updates on the general campus community amidst the pandemic. Administrators were proud to announce the most diverse class was accepted this year. Furthermore, though some Colleges, such as the College of Letters and Science, were able to implement Pass/No Pass grade guidelines for fall 2020 and others did not, the Chancellor claimed that she has no control over College guidelines, therefore cannot make changes. Following the five hybrid pilot classes, classes taking place partly in-person and partly remote, that took place this fall 2020 semester, next year was announced as hybrid, with 400 to 600, 25-student classes operating in this fashion.

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