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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Research survey gauges need for Latinx Center for Hispanic students

Papel+picado+flags+in+Rudder+Plaza+on+Sept.+15%2C+2022.
Photo by Cade Gossett

Papel picado flags in Rudder Plaza on Sept. 15, 2022.

The Latinx Center Research Task Force Survey was sent to students on Oct. 6, and the survey will close on Friday, Oct. 21. The survey results will be used to help determine the need for additional spaces and resources for Hispanic students at Texas A&M.

The survey gauges if there is a need for a Latinx Center at A&M, now that the university has achieved Hispanic Serving Institution, or HSI, status. After collection, the data from the survey will be used by the A&M HSI Guiding Committee on how to help improve the experience of Hispanic students by furthering the university’s commitment to diversity. The survey results will also be presented to A&M President M. Katherine Banks.
The Battalion spoke to public service & administration graduate student Sofia Chunga Pizarro, who is a co-manager for the Latinx Center Research Task Force.

According to Pizarro, the survey was sent to 23,004 students. Recipients included a sample group of 2,500 non-Hispanic students, 15,201 students who identified as Hispanic and 1,303 international students. Pizarro said for the international students group, they will focus on those originating from Latin countries.

As of Oct. 13, Pizarro said the survey had about a 3% response rate. At the time, only 531 students had completed the survey and 292 students were in progress.

“We’re working with professors and organizations to increase that [number],” Pizarro said. “Our focus right now is to get people to take it.”

After the survey closes, the data will be analyzed with the help of Student Affairs Planning and Research. Pizarro said it will take about six weeks to complete the analysis of the data.
Pizarro said Latinx student leaders have been discussing the need for a Latinx Center since 2019. Since then, Pizarro and Gonzalez have been pursuing the task force through the Student Government Association.

Pizarro said the process to create the survey was tedious, taking about six months to formulate unbiased questions that captured the needs of the students.

“We’re trying to make this as quantitative as possible,” Pizarro said. “The survey asks questions to gather data about academic advising, financial advising, need for physical space and cultural acceptance.”

Pizzaro said Hispanic students have different academic and financial advising needs.

“A lot of Hispanic students usually fund their own education. They’re not usually ones to take out loans,” Pizarro said.

In addition, Pizarro said undocumented Hispanic students in Texas face different issues compared to other students for academic advising, financial advising, need for physical space and cultural acceptance.

The survey also asks questions about students’ sense of belonging and if A&M is living up to their expectations for its HSI status. Pizarro said the survey asks students if they knew about the A&M Hispanic Network.
According to the Hispanic Network’s website, the network was formally chartered in November of 2006 by The Association of Former Students to address ways A&M and its former students of Hispanic background could assist with achieving goals relating to increasing diversity within the student body, faculty and staff.
The Battalion also spoke to management senior Yovanka Carolyn Gonzalez, who is also a co-manager with Pizarro for the task force.When asked about the biggest issues for Hispanic students, Gonzalez said there were several central concerns.

“We are currently a [HSI], but we don’t have the resources to adequately serve Hispanic students,” Gonzalez said. “We’re constantly struggling to find adequate spacing on campus for our students.”

The survey also asks students about their need for personal space, which ranges from studying to student organization spaces. Currently, there are 40 to 50 Hispanic student organizations on campus, Pizarro said.

“People think [Hispanic student orgs] are allowed to use the [Department of Multicultural] spaces, but that’s not allowed,” Pizarro said. “Only the DMS orgs are allowed to use that space for meetings, and that’s two organizations.”

Gonzalez said observable culture on campus affects Hispanic students’ academic performance.

“Our cultural events are very limited to Hispanic Heritage Month and nothing past that,” Gonzalez said. “Our culture is very intricate and constantly impacts the way that we pursue our education.”
Pizarro and Gonzalez want the best outcome for helping Hispanic students on campus, but said it is a slow and tedious process.
“The ideal outcome is that we can make a proposition to the administration about the current needs of students on campus,” Gonzalaez said. “That way, we can see what the administration can do to properly address the needs of Hispanic students.”

Gonzalez said she has faith that in the next couple months there will be some action toward creating spaces on campus for Hispanic students.

“Acknowledging the needs of students is a really big step, and after that, any progress forward will be satisfying,” Gonzalez said.

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About the Contributor
Ana Renfroe
Ana Renfroe, Head News Editor
Ana Renfroe, Class of 2025, is a journalism junior with a minor in professional writing from Bryan, Texas. Ana has served as The Battalion's head news editor from May 2023 to May 2024. Previously, she was the assistant news editor for the spring 2023 semester. Ana has covered breaking news, politics, and more. She typically covered the Texas A&M System and university administration, Texas and Bryan-College Station politics, student government and more. Ana previously hosted and produced episodes of The Batt Signal, The Battalion's news podcast. Additionally, she was a copyeditor and feature writer for Maroon Life magazine, and helped contribute to the Aggieland Yearbook.
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