UC Davis to Open New Center for Chicano, Latino Students

Cirilo Cortez by a banner for the Center for Chicanx and Latinx Academic Student Success
Cirilo Cortez, director of the Chicanx and Latinx Retention Initiative and the student center that acts as its hub, prepares to celebrate the opening of a new facility for the center. (Karin Higgins/UC Davis)

Traditional Aztec dance, mariachi music and contemporary Latin dance will mark the opening of a new facility for the Center for Chicanx and Latinx Academic Student Success at the University of California, Davis, on Wednesday, Sept. 27.

The center is among new and expanding campus initiatives to support the recruitment and academic success of historically underrepresented groups — African American, Chicano/Latino and Native American — and reduce the time necessary for all students to earn their degrees.

UC Davis is also pursuing designation by the U.S. Department of Education as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, or HSI, which opens the door to grants to help students succeed in college. In fall 2016, about 23.8 percent of the campus’s domestic undergraduates were Chicano/Latino, and Davis expects to meet the designation’s threshold of 25 percent this fall.

Cirilo Cortez, director of the Chicanx and Latinx Retention Initiative and the center, said the center serves as a hub to provide academic support for Chicano and Latino students; empower their leadership, career and personal development; and help them access campus resources.

“We affectionately call it el centro, and it’s a place where students can find a sense of belonging and family, too,” he said.

Operating in temporary quarters since last fall, the center will now use former meeting spaces on the second floor of the newly renovated Memorial Union. It includes study and socializing areas, computer stations, a conference room, offices and a kitchenette.

Students will be able to meet on-site with tutors and counselors, as well as academic and career advisors. The center will host cultural events, skills workshops and for-credit seminars to help students succeed in their transition from high school or community college.

Cortez said academic support and faculty advising will include the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering and math, where Chicano and Latino students are underrepresented.

The opening ceremony will begin at 5 p.m. on the South Patio of the Memorial Union with the performances and remarks and then move to the center for a ribbon cutting and tours.

Among the most recently opened student centers on campus are the AB540 and Undocumented Student Center (2014), the Center for African Diaspora Student Success (2015), the Native American Academic Student Success Center (April) and the Veterans Success Center (May).

Media Resources

Cirilo Cortez, Student Affairs, 530-752-3823, ccortez@ucdavis.edu

Milton Lang, Student Affairs, 530-752-8787, lmlang@ucdavis.edu

Julia Ann Easley, News and Media Relations, 530-752-8248, jaeasley@ucdavis.edu

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