Opinion: Where Are Our Hermanas? And why can’t I find us on campus?

To be considered a Hispanic-serving institution, enrollment for undergraduate full-time Hispanic students must be at least 25%. According to the Institutional Research, Analytics, and Reporting for Cal Poly Humboldt, CPH has a percentage of 29.3% of Latine students. Why does this matter?

Well, as a Latina who’s going to a Hispanic Serving Institution, I don’t feel there’s been much served to us. It’s my final semester and throughout my four years of being here, not only have I noticed a lack in uniting the community but as well as support and representation for us. 1,026 Latinas accounted for 30% of all women-identified students in fall 2023 and 58% of the Latine population on campus in fall 2023. Even though we are one-third of the female student population on campus we have little to no guidance in the institution. There are no active clubs or organizations helping us to connect to one another. 

“I came to a Hispanic-serving institution hoping I could get some guidance from my community but all of my professors have been white men; except for in EOP, I had one Latina instructor,” said sophomore Ahtalya Ramirez who majors in Mechanical Engineering.

Of course, some programs such as EOP connect us to students with the same issues, such as being underserved, but is that it? El Centro Académico Cultural de Humboldt has had little support from our institution with still no professional coordinator since June of 2023 and Hermanxs Unidas has been inactive for almost a year now. We need to do better for this community if we want to be labeled as a Hispanic-serving institution, otherwise, why claim the title?

When we make up over half of the Hispanic/Latine community on campus, it’s pretty confusing when we don’t see that representation amongst our faculty. With only 20 Hispanic female faculty members out of the 531, there’s only 3.77% of faculty that we can confide in when it comes to challenges that regard our cultural background.

“I came from Los Angeles where there’s tons of Latinos and I was hoping to feel that same sense of community coming to an HSI but it’s been really hard making friends or connections that can understand the cultural context I’m coming from,” said sophomore Jazmin Alcocer who majors in Cellular and Molecular Biology. 

The Hermanadad rarely asks for anything from this institution. The least it could give us is recognition, and here I am asking for it. 

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