Petition for Latinx, Asian American Studies departments exceeds goal after social media pushes


Daily file photo by Colin Boyle

Students attend a Wednesday teach-in hosted by the Latinx Asian American Collective. The Collective exceeded its 1,000-signature goal on a petition to create departments for the Latina and Latino Studies Program and the Asian American Studies Program.

Alexis White

A petition to make the Latina and Latino Studies Program and the Asian American Studies Program departments has exceeded its goal of 1,000 signatures, after students and Associated Student Government showed their support on social media.

MEChA de Northwestern and the Asian Pacific American Coalition have been working together as the Latinx Asian American Collective to gain signatures. As of Friday, the petition had over 1,000 signatures, said Weinberg junior Monica Garcia. Garcia said even though 1,000 signatures was their goal, the Collective still welcomes more support.

“Our plan was to present the signatures to the administration just to show them how many people support our campaign, and then to see what our campaign will look like from there,” Garcia said. “We just wanted to show the administrators that we have support.”

ASG published a statement Thursday in support of the Latinx Asian American Collective as it continues to garner support for the creation of the two departments.

ASG vice president of academics Sky Patterson said the ASG executive board signed the petition as one unit, and she also signed it as an individual. Patterson, a Weinberg junior, said the petition was shared among committees within ASG, and that she has spoken with faculty about the issue.

“The time is right to finally make these programs departments,” Patterson said. “They (would be) important departments at Northwestern. They serve a lot of students.”

The ASG statement said departmental status would give these programs more “resources, autonomy, and experienced and specialized faculty.”

In addition to those benefits, Garcia said departmental status would allow these studies to hold more office space and offer more classes. She said the two student groups have been considering asking for new status for some time. However, Garcia said the issue became more urgent in May, after an Immigrations and Customs Enforcement public relations officer visited campus and was met by student protestors.

“The ICE protest was a catalyst, like, this is necessary,” Garcia said. “People need to be informed of different kinds of oppression and looking at that through different lenses.”

The Collective will continue to host teach-ins about this proposal, Garcia said. The group hosted one on Wednesday already. They’re also sharing information about the importance of these studies through hashtags on their Facebook page: #llsptaughtme and #aasptaughtme.

The collective is encouraging students and alumni to share on the Facebook page how these programs impacted their education. Garcia said the stories being shared online show how LLSP and AASP programs help students learn about themselves.

“I think a common thing is learning about our identities that are usually silenced by the dominant narrative, the dominant white narrative, and coming to terms with our perceived marginalization and knowing that there are ways out of this,” Garcia said.  

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Twitter: @AlexisFWhite