Michaela Lune knows she is a minority as a Latina student at
“But sometimes you feel like you have nobody who looks like you,
or nobody who has the same experiences that you do,” said Lune, a
senior human development in family studies and Spanish major.
Latinos make up about 6 percent of the students at CSU,
according to the Office of Budget and Institutional Analysis. The
population of Fort Collins is 8.8 percent Latino, according to the
2000 U.S. Census.
Lune is a first generation college student, which she said makes
finding “resources, (like) knowing who to contact, knowing where to
go when you need help or if you want scholarships, where you can
find scholarships” all difficult.
Lune, like many other students of minorities, often finds she is
the only Hispanic student in her class.
“In my Spanish classes, there’s most often never a Hispanic (in
class) besides me,” she said.
Some Latino students have experienced discrimination in Fort
“Where I feel the most discrimination is through the police
force, in general,” said Nathan Castillo, a senior psychology
major. “I have a group of friends and we throw parties. We’ve all
noticed that the police come down harder on us than they do for
other events. If there’s a fight, they say ”Oh, well, you can’t
have parties any more, because you’ll always have fights.’ They
generalize. Whereas at bars and stuff…there are three or four
fights a night there, especially on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I mean,
they don’t get reprimanded, there are cops sitting out there
Even on campus, students have overheard racial slurs.
“I am light skinned, I grow light hair, my eyes are light,
people don’t think I am Hispanic,” Lune said. “So they will make
comments, and I hear them. For instance, one time on campus, I was
standing in between classes, and there were these two guys standing
right next to me just having a conversation amongst themselves. One
of the guys said, ‘Yeah, I’m really mad because I’m losing a lot of
the hours at my job.’ His friend asked why and he said, ‘Because
all these wetbacks are taking my hours.'”
Guadalupe Salazar, the director of CSU’s El Centro Student
Services, recalled one student’s experience in a speech class.
“Two young men did their presentation on Tijuana. And they
referred to Tijuana as a resort where you could find a woman for 20
bucks and when you were in a restaurant you never saw any dogs
because you were probably eating them. She came in here just in
tears. You couldn’t believe it. They laughed at (the presentation),
the instructor never said anything,” Salazar said. The class’s
instructor refused to meet with her, she said.
When asked what would help most, both Lune and Castillo
suggested a curriculum change.
“(It would help) to include some sort of ethnic education into
the (All University Core Curriculum),” Castillo said. “I know that
they have a certain number of classes they have, like their math
class, their speech class. I think that if they were required to
take six credits of courses through (Center for Applied Studies in
American Ethnicity) it would reduce the ignorance, just by the fact
they would be presented with issues they don’t think about every
Peter Nicholls, the provost/academic vice president, said that
while ethnic awareness is something the university values, changing
university core curriculum can be a lengthy and difficult
“The only way to get a proposal through the system is to have
the proposal come, I think the route it would follow, is it would
come from the faculty to the University Curriculum Committee,”
He also said the university had a global/cultural awareness core
curriculum requirement that was intended to fulfill the same
purpose the students suggested.
Salazar said students would be most helped by feeling accepted
“By (other students) understanding that this country is made of
many different people,” she said. “Appreciating diversity, I think
it is education.”