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NMSU celebrates National Hispanic-Serving Institution Week

New Mexico State University joins the nation in celebrating National Hispanic-Serving Institution Week Sept. 14-18.

Group of Hispanic students in front of dancers with headdresses.
The NMSU College Assistance Migrant Program hosted the Danza Azteca group as part of Latino Week festivities spring 2015. (Courtesy photo)

In order to hold Hispanic-Serving Institution status, universities must serve 25 percent or more Hispanic student enrollment.

?The HSI status indicates the university sits amidst communities with high percentages of Mexican-American students, and these comprise a major part of our service mandate,? Dulcinea Lara, associate professor in the criminal justice department at NMSU, said. ?While I am eager to serve all students, I appreciate that our HSI status is part of repairing a centuries-old system of inequality that marginalizes racialized populations, namely Hispanics.?

The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities works with members of Congress to recognize the contributions of Hispanic-Serving Institutions in their communities. NMSU became a member of HACU in 1989.

U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez took the lead to once again sponsor the Senate Resolution declaring it National Hispanic-Serving Institution Week. HACU submits a proclamation request to the White House yearly.

?It's important to recognize HSI week so that everyone who works at and attends NMSU is aware of the university's special mission to educate and uplift communities that have been historically oppressed,? Lara said. ?It's also important to honor the status so that Hispanic students feel welcomed and important at the institution they chose to attend.?

Lara, who earned a doctorate in ethnic studies from the University of California at Berkeley, said the HSI status played an important role in her decision to work at NMSU.

Earlier this year, NMSU was recognized as one of the best institutions for Hispanics in the nation, according to the Top 100 Colleges and Universities for Hispanics list in The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education. NMSU ranked 24th in most bachelor?s degrees granted and 22nd in graduate student enrollment.

For more information, please contact NMSU Chicano Programs at 575-646-4206.