Home » Opinion » Letters to Editor » Letter to the Editor: An open letter to President Drake

Letter to the Editor: An open letter to President Drake

Dear President Michael V. Drake,

We, the brothers of Sigma Lambda Beta International Fraternity Inc. along with other members of the Latino community and our non-Latino allies, believe that The Ohio State University must put forth a more concerted and discernable effort to represent us. We feel that the Latino population is unappreciated and underrepresented. We were grateful for the Latino Center, which was established earlier this year by the university, but were deeply disheartened that after only one semester the center has lost all of its support. With no resource center geared toward the advancement of Latino students on campus and with a student population of only 4 percent, it is difficult to feel as though The Ohio State University is working for its Latino student body.  It is for these reasons and many other motives that we have taken the initiative to reach out to you with a list of demands, a response to which is vital to the advancement of a healthy Latino community here at The Ohio State University.

  1. Services for current and prospective Latino students, both documented and undocumented, must be improved to increase student access to resources and scholarships. This will help the retention of Latino students through graduation and will lead to continuation on to higher education programs.
  2. Revise admissions strategies to actively target Latino students for graduate and undergraduate programs, nationally and internationally.
  3. DACA support. To help these efforts, we demand that The Ohio State University support the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy. To create a simplified admissions process where students may select ‘DACA’ as an option when applying. To create an academic adviser position for these students with institutional support from an existing advising unit. To create an institutional scholarship for DACA students.
  4. Space for Latino Students on campus that’s staffed and open at any moment. The lack of any dedicated space for Latino students sends a strong signal to the Latino student body that we do not matter. The creation of such a space on campus for Latinos is an overdue necessity; the lack of a Latino-geared resource center diminishes the importance of our community on campus. This resource center — provided proper support from the university — would help manage some of the demands that we are bringing forward.
  5. Funding of Latino groups and organizations. These funds should be increased to help programming events that will expand cultural awareness in an enriched global institution.
  6. Latino Arrival Program. The brothers of the Psi Delta chapter of Sigma Lambda Beta International Fraternity Inc. are interested in organizing, planning and implementing Ohio State’s first incoming Latino First-Year student event (Latinos Unidos). This arrival event would give incoming Latino students the opportunity to familiarize themselves with campus while creating a strong Latino community with each other. We envision this “Latinos Unidos” event as a singular day or possibly as a weeklong event consisting of a series of orienting activities, field games and workshops that will contribute to the level of involvement of Latinos on campus.
  7. Hiring and retaining Latino staff and faculty leaders who will enrich the cultural community on campus. Continuing to diversify the university’s faculty population with Latino members will lead to a greater integration between faculty and student body.
  8. Establish a Latino alumni network that is backed by the university. This network would provide resources and contact information, through a university-managed website, to facilitate the formation and maintenance of a worldwide Latino alumni community.  This will allow for networking during the undergraduate and postgraduate facets of life.
  9. A short meeting with you, President Drake, in which we may discuss these matters in person.

During these times of discrimination, we ask that the leaders of an innovative and progressive institution such as The Ohio State University put forth marked and notable effort toward meeting the unique needs of its Latino community that is dedicated to finding ways by which to thrive. We’ve seen the pictures of Latinos on the brochures that portray OSU as a Latino-friendly campus, however, we the Latino student body believe that The Ohio State University has a tremendous amount of work to do for its Latino students. Through the accommodation of the demands we have listed, the representation and involvement of the Latino community on campus will be greatly improved.

We understand that you are a busy man, but if you would like to show your support for our community then we would welcome a response and a chance to meet with you to discuss these matters.

Respectfully submitted,

The Brothers of Sigma Lambda Beta International Fraternity Inc.

12 comments

  1. “during these times of discrimination”

    Really? There is probably less discrimination now in the US than any other time in our history. Why would any ethnic group need their own space on campus? We should all be one university not divided by race.

    • Agreed, it is absolutely absurd to give each race their own space on campus. This is literally segregation. God forbid if a white student were to make these demands…

      • In response to Joe: Less discrimination now than ever before? Do you watch the news? Even IF what you’re claiming were true, does that delegitimize the call for out community to do better? Being “less bad” is not the same as being good.
        Mya: Your definition of segregation is a bit askew (actually, a lot). Racial segregation is: “the enforced separation of different racial groups in a country, community, or establishment.” What is being asked is an inclusive space for Latino enrichment. Take a look at our university’s demographics and ask yourself why this is important.

      • What are you talking about Mya? Greek life? Universities? Company executive boards? The media? The entire government? White people already hold all the spaces. God forbid any group asks for their own. And don’t try and pin marginalized groups against each other, we all suffer at the hands of white supremacy in this country and this university. This just happens to be a letter to cover some Latinx issues. Pinning us against each other is just an attempt to cover up the actual issue.

        • None of the “spaces for whites” are designated for white students. If it was, again, we would be called “racist” and YOU KNOW IT!

      • Exactly what I was thinking when I read this article. “What about a “special place” for white students?”. The minute someone sent an editorial suggesting that, they’d be called racist.

  2. Mario Andres Gutierrez

    I want to applaud and commend Jonathan & Brothers Sigma Lambda Beta International Fraternity Inc. for taking the time to format and express these grievances. It takes alot of courage and motivation to address any of these issues. The following is not a rebuttal on any personal means, but a point a view of dissatisfaction on the merit of the demands presented.

    I agree with several of these points such as 3 (DACA support), 7 (Latino Faculty), 8 (Latino Alumni Network), 9 (a Meeting with Drake). It is great that these issues are being highlighted on a platform like the Lantern. I think it is a step forward in the right direction and it is an overall productive initiative. This specific reflection is unfortunately hindered by the tone of the rest of the demands which transcend as a statement of narrow scoped entitlement and self victimization.

    First, it is ridiculous to demand a “Space for Latino students on campus that’s staffed and open at any moment “ (demand 4). The reflected urgency is founded by the fact we are only 4% of the population, and that it is necessary for us to have a space because or else it doesn’t send a strong signal. By this strain of logic, then why doesn’t every other cultural and ethic (though there is a stark difference between the two that is misinterpreted by the mainstream culture) group on campus have their own center. What would a center of that sort do? What would it do that the MCC and Hale Hall, and other smaller entities don’t do? It is counter productive towards our community’s progress to want to segregate ourselves in a center just so we feel together. The real world isn’t like that, and though the University experience is a place for a supporting transition to take place, it is also a place for our community to develop in cohort with other communities. Not shut ourselves into reinforcing the already established stereotypes we bring from home. Establishing an echochamber to raise self esteem and existing self inflicting stereotypes is extremely counterproductive. There is a difference between cultivating a community and segregating into a bubble.
    The demand for “funding of Latino groups and organizations” (demand 5) also falls under this. Established student organizations get $2000-$3000 dollars a year in programming funds from the University. Is that not enough to host a “Latino Arrival Program” (Demand 6) through a few events? LSA (Latino Student Association) raises how many hundreds, if not thousands of dollars through the Ball/Dance in every Spring. Space in the Union and the MCC is free to student groups, not to mention space throughout several buildings on campus. What is lacking is not funds, because funds do not guarantee success or awareness. What is lacking is student cohesiveness, organization ,and mobilization. In my 5 years as an undergraduate at OSU, the amount of social debate, education, and information on “social climate” spearheaded by students in our community is nothing to amount of events and dialogue dedicated to “fun, social events”. Only is there a event on “Social Climate” this semester after several recent years of malignant rhetoric in the mainstream culture. Why didn’t we have these events during election years? Years where we have the opportunity to directly express our concerns through vote. We need and coordinated STUDENT effort between all sub latino groups, not more money for give aways.

    Additionally, demands 1 and 2 are misguided and a symptom for mediocrity within the perceived stereotype of what a Latino is in this country. If we are addressing efforts of retention, motivation, and preparation by the time a student gets to college, we have lost. Several resources for scholarships and academic resources are readily available throughout the University. ODI and MCC, along with several specific departmental centers offer several types of resources for academic success. There are several latinos who are on ODI scholarship, or even just general scholarships. Now yes there can always be more scholarships given, but scholarships are competitive. And those Latinos who are on ODI scholarships were the best applicants within a huge group of minority applicants. “Revising admissions strategies” is another way of reflecting handicapping our community’s competitiveness just because we are under represented. We are under represented because we do not have enough Latinos who are competitive. How would accepting sub competitive applicants positively contribute to the previously stated concern of retention. If a demand is to be made, it is to have the University support to assist in preparing future candidates in grade school so they are able to apply on equal ground as all other students. LASER does this to an extent, but why couldn’t it not be complemented through several other student led groups.

    Lastly, “times of discrimination”. Discrimination is a lazy direction to justify any of these demands. “Discrimination” experienced by current students (such as you and I) are not caused because we are being denied resources. The “Discrimination” we experience is a product of lack of education of the overall mainstream culture and current stereotype that we cultivate within ourselves. How do are we expected to share and educate those of different cultures and ethnicities , if we misrepresent each other within our own communities. What is a Latino? What is a Hispanic? We come in several different colors, countries, nationalities and backgrounds. We cultivative mediocre stereotypes that are perceived on TV, stereotypes that our student oversee and validate because WE present them. We self discriminate, through racism, elitism and nationalism. Why do we do this? Because instead of accepting whoever might consider themselves part of our community, we exert them to validate themselves as “true latinos”. We are not being denied entrance into bathrooms, we are not being denied into buildings. Going to college isn’t good enough anymore, that’s not an accomplishment anymore. We must elevate our own standards. We are not here to participate, we are here to make a statement. We make a statement by outperforming our competition on an equal playing field. If we want to be treated equally on all fronts, we must compete on equal grounds.

    We are here to shape a new stereotype, a stereotype that isn’t self victimizing. A stereotypes that doesn’t reflect on success or failure on the intricacies of who we are or how we are seen, but how the quality of work and product of competitiveness that we present to an equal playing field. We can not preach equality and demand special treatment. There is a difference between consideration of opportunity, and victimized entitlement.

    I appreciate this presentation of demands and I hope the bureaucratic entity of the corporate interest of this University will take notice. This is not an attempt to invalidate the demands, but to present a point of view of dissatisfaction of the standards. More money, or a specific student center won’t change anything in the long term. It will be our focus of higher standards that will cement success and opportunity for us and future generations of Latino Buckeyes.

    Very Respectfully,

    Mario Andres Gutierrez

  3. I want to applaud and commend Jonathan & Brothers Sigma Lambda Beta International Fraternity Inc. for taking the time to format and express these grievances. It takes alot of courage and motivation to address any of these issues. The following is not a rebuttal on any personal means, but a point a view of dissatisfaction on the merit of the demands presented.

    I agree with several of these points such as 3 (DACA support), 7 (Latino Faculty), 8 (Latino Alumni Network), 9 (a Meeting with Drake). It is great that these issues are being highlighted on a platform like the Lantern. I think it is a step forward in the right direction and it is an overall productive initiative. This specific reflection is unfortunately hindered by the tone of the rest of the demands which transcend as a statement of narrow scoped entitlement and self victimization.

    First, it is ridiculous to demand a “Space for Latino students on campus that’s staffed and open at any moment “ (demand 4). The reflected urgency is founded by the fact we are only 4% of the population, and that it is necessary for us to have a space because or else it doesn’t send a strong signal. By this strain of logic, then why doesn’t every other cultural and ethic (though there is a stark difference between the two that is misinterpreted by the mainstream culture) group on campus have their own center. What would a center of that sort do? What would it do that the MCC and Hale Hall, and other smaller entities don’t do? It is counter productive towards our community’s progress to want to segregate ourselves in a center just so we feel together. The real world isn’t like that, and though the University experience is a place for a supporting transition to take place, it is also a place for our community to develop in cohort with other communities. Not shut ourselves into reinforcing the already established stereotypes we bring from home. Establishing an echochamber to raise self esteem and existing self inflicting stereotypes is extremely counterproductive. There is a difference between cultivating a community and segregating into a bubble.

    The demand for “funding of Latino groups and organizations” (demand 5) also falls under this. Established student organizations get $2000-$3000 dollars a year in programming funds from the University. Is that not enough to host a “Latino Arrival Program” (Demand 6) through a few events? LSA (Latino Student Association) raises how many hundreds, if not thousands of dollars through the Ball/Dance in every Spring. Space in the Union and the MCC is free to student groups, not to mention space throughout several buildings on campus. What is lacking is not funds, because funds do not guarantee success or awareness. What is lacking is student cohesiveness, organization ,and mobilization. In my 5 years as an undergraduate at OSU, the amount of social debate, education, and information on “social climate” spearheaded by students in our community is nothing to amount of events and dialogue dedicated to “fun, social events”. Only is there a event on “Social Climate” this semester after several recent years of malignant rhetoric in the mainstream culture. Why didn’t we have these events during election years? Years where we have the opportunity to directly express our concerns through vote. We need and coordinated STUDENT effort between all sub latino groups, not more money for give aways.

    Additionally, demands 1 and 2 are misguided and a symptom for mediocrity within the perceived stereotype of what a Latino is in this country. If we are addressing efforts of retention, motivation, and preparation by the time a student gets to college, we have lost. Several resources for scholarships and academic resources are readily available throughout the University. ODI and MCC, along with several specific departmental centers offer several types of resources for academic success. There are several latinos who are on ODI scholarship, or even just general scholarships. Now yes there can always be more scholarships given, but scholarships are competitive. And those Latinos who are on ODI scholarships were the best applicants within a huge group of minority applicants. “Revising admissions strategies” is another way of reflecting handicapping our community’s competitiveness just because we are under represented. We are under represented because we do not have enough Latinos who are competitive. How would accepting sub competitive applicants positively contribute to the previously stated concern of retention. If a demand is to be made, it is to have the University support to assist in preparing future candidates in grade school so they are able to apply on equal ground as all other students. LASER does this to an extent, but why couldn’t it not be complemented through several other student led groups.

    Lastly, “times of discrimination”. Discrimination is a lazy direction to justify any of these demands. “Discrimination” experienced by current students (such as you and I) are not caused because we are being denied resources. The “Discrimination” we experience is a product of lack of education of the overall mainstream culture and current stereotype that we cultivate within ourselves. How do are we expected to share and educate those of different cultures and ethnicities , if we misrepresent each other within our own communities. What is a Latino? What is a Hispanic? We come in several different colors, countries, nationalities and backgrounds. We cultivative mediocre stereotypes that are perceived on TV, stereotypes that our student oversee and validate because WE present them. We self discriminate, through racism, elitism and nationalism. Why do we do this? Because instead of accepting whoever might consider themselves part of our community, we exert them to validate themselves as “true latinos”. We are not being denied entrance into bathrooms, we are not being denied into buildings. Going to college isn’t good enough anymore, that’s not an accomplishment anymore. We must elevate our own standards. We are not here to participate, we are here to make a statement. We make a statement by outperforming our competition on an equal playing field. If we want to be treated equally on all fronts, we must compete on equal grounds.

    We are here to shape a new stereotype, a stereotype that isn’t self victimizing. A stereotypes that doesn’t reflect on success or failure on the intricacies of who we are or how we are seen, but how the quality of work and product of competitiveness that we present to an equal playing field. We can not preach equality and demand special treatment. There is a difference between consideration of opportunity, and victimized entitlement.

    I appreciate this presentation of demands and I hope the bureaucratic entity of the corporate interest of this University will take notice. This is not an attempt to invalidate the demands, but to present a point of view of dissatisfaction of the standards. More money, or a specific student center won’t change anything in the long term. It will be our focus of higher standards that will cement success and opportunity for us and future generations of Latino Buckeyes.

    Very Respectfully,

    Mario Andres Gutierrez

    • Hello Mario. My name is Manny Cuellar, a brother of Sigma Lambda Beta International Fraternity Inc. I decided to respond to your comment to extend an offer to join this conversation in a personal meeting.

      This letter was written on behave of the Latino student body, with that said it is important that every voice of that student body be heard. Please contact me via email at Cuellar.18@osu.edu.

      Looking forward to hearing from you.

    • 1. What’s ridiculous here is you fail to see the importance of a space for Latinx students. The Hale Center and MCC both serve very different purposes. The Hale Center develops and maintains supportive programs for the advancement of Black students in particular. The multi-cultural center was created to teach “students personal and interpersonal skills necessary to be most effective in a diverse world” which is seen through their programming. Both are great, but they aren’t sufficient for Latinx and other groups. They are both overbooked and often at the cost of the student organization meetings. A Latinx space at OSU would, like many Casa Latinas at universities across the country, create an environment where anyone in the Latinx community can go and feel and sense of community and belonging. I imagine that it would also work as an advocacy space where students can achieve a greater historical, political, and cultural awareness of Latinxs. It would also help with the recruitment and retention of Latinx students. I’m not even going to get into the “self inflicting stereotype” comment/argument because, well, it doesn’t make any sense.

      2.It has become increasingly clear to me that you are simply misinformed. The Latino Student Association lacks financial support in more ways than one. The programming funds that LSA receives go straight to paying for the Ball, which is roughly $10k (rises each year). The university does not allow the organization to charge more than $10 per ticket and then turns around and demands insane amounts of money for catering and renting the space necessary to hold such an event (since they have strict restrictions on external catering which is much cheaper and authentic). The funds gathered from the event, including university “support,” barely cover the cost of the event and any extra funds typically go straight to financing the following year’s Ball, and maybe having food at one of the meetings the following school year. I will also note that many of the Latinx organizations on campus have hosted events targeting social climate over the past few years, it’s not the community’s fault that you did not choose to participate until now. And no, the programming funds are not enough to host the Latino Arrival Program because 1) I presume hosting this event (successfully) will vastly exceed this amount 2) organizations are only allowed to apply for this funding once 3) using these funds for the L.A.P would limit the Beta’s ability to host other events on campus.

      3.It is an insult for you to assume that we simply do not have enough Latinx students competitive enough to attend Ohio State. Shame on you. If anything, we should redirect our focus to the fact that many Latinx students come from low-income districts, which often means that they do not receive the same resources or attention as students who were educated in the classrooms of wealthier districts. It is also offensive for you to imply that a call for revising admissions strategies is “handicapping our community.” What is actually handicapping our community are the barriers we face to accessing/receiving a better education and way of life. A Latinx center on campus would only help with the retention of these students by hosting workshops and tutoring, much like the current center does (you know, the one stated to close at the end of this calendar year). Oh, and many Latinx organizations work to assist students in becoming successful candidates for employment and grad school — have you ever bothered to look at the events hosted by HBSA, SHPE, APsi, GALA, LSA, etc? These organizations work tirelessly to bring the desperately needed resources to the students that lack them, many times without the support of any university members and it is unacceptable.

      4. I’m not even going into your last “argument” because it’s problematic on so many different levels and I’m tired.

      Respectfully,
      A fellow Latinx Buckeye

  4. It is rhetoric like this that has caused Donald Trump to rise in popularity. No special treatment to anyone based on the color of their skin.

  5. Poorly written, poorly researched, and deluded in its demands. Do you really believe that if we don’t have a space that is open 24 hours and staffed all the time for students of every minority group here on campus, it sends the signal that they “do not matter”? Do you not see how identity politics are incredibly divisive and force people into a difference they do not want? Do you not see the problem with requiring quotas for faculty and staff members, instead of evaluating them on their merit, that is, their qualifications for and capacity to fulfill the duties of a particular role requires?

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