UT Not Color Blind to Mexican Americans

RECEIVED Mon., Sept. 15, 2003

It was with great consternation that I read the article on the dismissal of Mr. Guerra ["Closing the Books," Sept. 12] and the closing of CMAS Books through a unilateral decision of the CMAS director, Jose Limón. Unfortunately, this is not the first time that the UT system has allowed the wholesale slaughter of efforts targeting academic research and programs that focus on Chicano/Latino issues. The administration at the University of Texas at Arlington gutted the Center for Mexican American Studies as it was just getting under way. It currently exists, but certainly not with the community-outreach focus it had at the time. It appears that UT-Austin has the "patron" mentality when it comes to Mexican-Americans – in other words, what you say and do is OK as long as you are saying and doing what is OK with "me," i.e., administration. Where are the academic freedom rights of Dr. Guerra that are extended without question to Anglo faculty? This is another sad chapter in the relationship between the UT system and the Mexican-American community, and I'm not surprised. However, just as UT-Arlington had to pay money to the staff at CMAS who were unfairly treated by their unilateral decision, Mr. Guerra will probably also receive our tax dollars to compensate for the wrongs of the UT-Austin administration. It is time for the UT system to be truly colorblind and to allow Chicanos/Latinos to raise concerns without fear of being fired.
Diana Flores
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