Latinx and Dartmouth: A History of the Administrative Relationship with the Latinx Community

By Kevin Staunton, '24.


The Latin American, Latino and Caribbean Studies (LALACS) Department is one of the more recent additions to the array of academic choices at Dartmouth College. The department was founded as a response to the push for greater Latinx representation at Dartmouth, a request long ignored by the administration. Starting as a Latin American Studies Concentration, it has since developed into a flourishing and ever-developing program that continues add valuable insights to the world of academia.

As early as the 1970's, there was national recognition of the Latinx community as a increasingly significant part of the United States. As such, many people believed that colleges and universities like Dartmouth should reflect that representation. However, despite the support from professors and students alike, the administration was quite hesitant to any change towards inclusion for quite a long time, especially increasing recruiting efforts to achieve greater Latinx enrollment. Frustrated, those students and professors formed a grassroots campaign to sway the stagnant administraiton. After a significant portion of time, this led to the creation of the LALACS Program in the 1990's, as recruitment efforts continued to be ignored. However, following a hesitant administration, a clear consensus surrounding the direction of the program was not reached, causing tension among faculty. Regardless, the LALACS Department has since provided a successful cultivation of academic study into Latin American, Latino, and Carribbean culture for leagues of students and will for decades to come.

While claiming to be for inclusion at most points along the way, the administration's actions spoke loudly of being against any change that would benefit the Latinx community. The administration failed to afford the same resources to recruit and support the Latinx community as they did for the Native and Black communities, especially as Latinx populations rose across the country.

Note: Although controversial due to its inconsistency with the gendered language of origin and other reasons, this exhibit will use the term "Latinx" to refer to the umbrella community of people of Latin American descent in attempt to be most inclusive, as opposed to other choices, including Hispanic and Latino. However, names of organizations and other such uses of certain terms will be preserved, like "Latino Forum".

Please select a moment of time to continue your exploration of the Latinx experience at Dartmouth.