UTEP Cancels Observation of Cesar Chavez Day
Mesa, Arizona. El Paso Times has reported that the University of
Texas at El Paso (UTEP) is revoking Cesar Chavez Day as a holiday
for the next four years.
According to the news report, the Executive Council of the Faculty
Senate voted last November to cancel the holiday. The council is
composed of eight members.
The Cesar Chavez Day honors Cesar Chavez Estrada, the Mexican-
American labor activist who led a long struggle to achieve better
conditions for migrant farmworkers, and is observed in the United
States on March 31 each year.
On Monday, January 3, UTEP Registrar Miguel Sifuentes sent an e-
mail to deans, department chairs and faculty members announcing
the change, the paper reported.
"Part of the problem is the state limits the number of holidays," UTEP
Vice President Richard Adauto told the Times. "We just cannot take
In Texas, Cesar Chavez Day is a state holiday. For institutions of
higher education observing the holiday is optional, and they get to
choose 12 holidays a year, the Times reported.
In previous years, UTEP has observed Cesar Chavez Day by giving
faculty and students the day off.
Nearly eighty per cent of UTEP’s students are Latino/Hispanic, and
over the years the Cesar Chavez Day had become a tradition on the
El Paso Times reported that even though classes no longer will be
canceled to observe the holiday, the UTEP will commemorate Chavez
with celebrations from February through April.
"It's not that we don't recognize it. We recognize it with activities
and academic programs," Adauto told the Times.
The head of the Border Agricultural Workers Union in El Paso said
UTEP's decision stems from racism against people of Mexican origin,
the Times said.
"I consider it a lack of respect to the memory of Cesar Chavez,"
Carlos Marentes, union director, told the paper. "UTEP is giving in to
right-wing, conservative anti-immigrant groups that don't like
recognizing people of immigrant origins."
By Eduardo Barraza January 7, 2011
An eight-member UTEP's Faculty
Senate decides to cancel March
31 as campus holiday honoring
the Mexican-American activist.
Photo: Eduardo Barraza
Published by the Hispanic Institute of Social Issues in Phoenix, Arizona
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