The United Farm Workers and the Cesar E. Chavez Foundation are proud to support the grassroots efforts of the University of Texas El Paso's (UTEP) Students for Cesar Chavez collaborative who are gathering signatures on petitions asking University of Texas El Paso President Diana Natalicio to reinstate the March 31 Cesar Chavez holiday, which was abruptly canceled in November 2010.
This was announced January 3rd during the winter holiday break. The Faculty Senate at UTEP removed Cesar Chavez Day as a holiday from the university's calendar for the next four years. This was done behind closed doors without any student input. Understandably this move has generated controversy on campus. Students have come to us asking for help and we want to do all we can to help them.
UTEP has a Latino student population of approximately 76% percent. Reportedly it receives much of its federal and private grant funds because of this unique population. It's inconceivable that faculty would decide this holiday does not deserve to be observed.
"They're canceling the day of someone who was important and fought for what he believed in and made a change," said Cesar Chacon, senior computer science major to a local newspaper. "UTEP is mostly Latino, so I think students should take offense because we are a widely Latino university."
"The removal of Cesar Chavez Holiday from the list of days dedicated to mark important events or leaders is not merely administrative, but an act with deep consequences. Texas has already banned Cesar Chavez from elementary and secondary textbooks. This makes UTEP’S leading role even more important." said Adrian Rivera, a Bilingual Education student who is the coordinator for Students for Cesar Chavez.
Will you help these students? Add your voice to their protest by signing the petition asking the Faculty Senate of UTEP to reinstate the March 31 Cesar Chavez holiday.