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Plan Presented to Recruit, Retain Minorities at UCI

Times Staff Writer

Latino students, faculty and staff at UC Irvine on Tuesday presented a 43-point plan for recruiting and retaining under-represented minorities at the university and vowed to work with administration officials to diversify the campus.

The plan, which stressed cooperation, calls for better communication between university officials and Latino organizations to identify prominent minority candidates for jobs, add a Chicano Studies major to the curriculum, and increase grant and fellowship help for Latino graduate students.

“What we are doing is not idealism anymore. . . . It’s not ‘Chicano Power,’ ” said Gerardo Mouet, president of the La Raza Assn., a Latino organization established in 1976. “It’s practical and good for everyone because of the demographic realities of the state of California.”

The 23-page report also suggests ways to “personalize” recruitment and competition for qualified minority high school students.

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“The most important part of this effort is faculty involvement,” Mouet said. “For example, if we have a black high school senior with a very good grade-point average who has applied for mechanical engineering at UCI, we hook him up with a professor in the area he’s interested in. If one of our top professors calls this young man and says, ‘I would be interested in seeing you work in my lab,’ we’ve got that kid.”

Another Latino student organization, MECHa, joined in a news conference to present the report Tuesday. MECHa co-chair Luis Chavez, who also took part in a minority student protest last week at UCI, said La Raza’s report is more likely to prompt action by UCI administrators.

“Last time, it was a protest,” Chavez said Tuesday. “Now, we’re asking to be incorporated into the process.”

Other recommendations by La Raza included:

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*Establishment of an endowed Latino chair that would go to a different faculty member and a different college or department within the university each year.

*Creation of a UCI Library special collection in Chicano-Latino studies.

*Establishing goals for recruitment of Chicano-Latino doctoral students by every academic department.

*A requirement that corporations invited to build facilities in UCI’s planned research park should be required to pass an affirmative action test in their hiring policies.

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*Establishing mentor programs linking graduate students with freshmen and sophomore minority students in each academic department.


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