Restore UCR's "Hispanic Serving Institution” (HSI) Status

Restore UCR's "Hispanic Serving Institution” (HSI) Status

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ASUCR Office of Campus Internal Affairs started this petition to UC Riverside Campus Administration

Background Information

In 2008, UC Riverside was the first UC campus to become a federally designated Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) and we have held that status for ten years. Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) are defined in Title V of the Higher Education Act as not-for-profit institutions of higher learning with a full-time equivalent (FTE) undergraduate student enrollment that is at least 25 percent Hispanic. Such a designation means that institutions can apply for competitive grants to expand and support educational opportunities for Hispanic and/or low-income students. These grants are spent on various projects, such as faculty development and creating new university programs. HSIs represent 9 percent of all non-profit colleges and universities in the country, yet serve 54 percent of all Hispanic students. 

It has come to our attention that the University of California, Riverside’s administration has made a clerical error that has resulted in the removal of UCR’s status as an HSI. This clerical error, which can be attributed to Gerry Bomotti, the UCR Vice Chancellor of Planning, Budget & Administration, has intentionally been concealed by the UCR campus administration such as the Chancellor and the Vice-Chancellor of Student Affairs. This clerical error which revoked our campus’ HSI status, has come during a time of severe budget cuts and amidst a global pandemic that has severely debilitated the success, growth, and longevity of our university and most importantly, the students of our university. 

In the year 2018, it was found that approximately 41.5% of the undergraduate student population identified as Hispanic or Latino. Holding the status of an HSI, which was obtained from the U.S. State Department of Education as a result of the blood, sweat, and tears of Chicano Student Programs (CSP) and their pro staff, has been quintessential to supporting students on campus, particularly those of Hispanic and/or Latino origin.  

A key example of a project that is supported by the HSI status is the UCR STEM Pathway Project. The STEM Pathway Project was implemented with a $3.3 million federal grant made possible by the College Cost Reduction and Access Act and the HSI program (via the U.S. State Department of Education). It aims to bring more Hispanic and low-income students into science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields and is especially targeted toward students who transfer from community colleges to UCR. Six community colleges — College of the Desert, Pasadena City College, Mt. San Jacinto College, Riverside City College; and the Moreno Valley and Norco campuses of the Riverside Community College District — are all UCR partners. Combined, they have an enrollment of nearly 36,000 Hispanic students. As a result of initiatives such as this one, UCR has ranked third in the nation in graduating Hispanic STEM students and has won awards for this. 

This clerical error has larger implications than just the removal of a title. This error has led to our university to potentially be ineligible for thousands of dollars in grants that can be used to support and benefit marginalized and low-income students on campus. It has potentially taken away opportunities from potential and current students to further their careers and livelihood. Our campus, which boasts high social mobility and diversity, has failed to formally address and acknowledge this egregious mistake on a campus-wide level. There have been no efforts on the administrative level to inform students of this situation, how this impacts students, and there have been no efforts to take accountability for the actions that were taken that led to the revocation of UCR’s HSI status. The Associated Students of the University of California, Riverside’s (ASUCR) Office of Campus Internal Affairs, and the ASUCR Diversity Council firmly believes that the campus administration's indifference to this situation, the way the situation has been handled and its blatant lack of transparency is disrespectful, impetuous, and malicious. 

 

Our Demands

We are seeking accountability from Gerry Bomotti, the UCR Vice Chancellor of Planning, Budget & Administration. Students should keep campus administrators accountable and actively protest, sign this petition, and organize with the goal of ensuring that the individual behind this clerical error faces consequences for their action. Students should contact their local, regional, state, and national representatives and lobby them to bring this issue to the attention of larger entities and the U.S. Department of Education. Students should attend a University of California (UC) Regents meeting and voice their concerns regarding these affairs to the regents. Students should collaborate with the UC Student Association and work with colleagues from other universities to bring this issue to the forefront of UC matters. We must rally together and bring awareness to this extreme loss of funding and opportunities. 


Lastly, we ask that Chancellor Kim A. Wilcox, Vice-Chancellor of Student Affairs Brian Haynes, and Vice-Chancellor of Planning, Budget & Administration Gerry Bomotti release a formal statement regarding the HSI affairs and host two town hall meetings where individuals can ask questions and learn more about how the loss of UCR’s HSI status will affect students, faculty and staff. It is unacceptable that information regarding UCR’s HSI affairs has been kept under the wraps for so long, and we ask for change, transparency, and accountability. 

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At 1,500 signatures, this petition is more likely to get picked up by local news!