At the TACHE Conference…

Stace & Dolores Huerta

The rest of the week will be a slow blogging week as I am attending the 31st Annual Texas Association of Chicanos in Higher Education (TACHE) Conference at the Hyatt Regency downtown. So far, so good. Today’s Keynote was by Dr. Michael Olivas, a professor of law at UH-Law Center. He gave a seriously funny talk on the topic: “What if there were no Mexicans?”

I also saw my mentor Jose Angel Gutierrez who gave his as usual rousing presentation on the politics of struggle. I also attended a seminar by Dr. Arturo Vega, professor of political science at UT-San Antonio. Vega’s was a presentation on Latino attitudes (based on the 2002 Pew Hispanic Center data) and acculturation–a challenge of nationally-known anti-Latino pundit Samuel Huntington whose information is used by the Republican Party for wedge issue dissemination. Of course, the data shows the progressive nature of Latinos in regards to pocket book issues (more taxes, more government, etc.), but shows the “conservative” nature of Latinos on gay, abortion and other issues. So, I took him on, challenging him as to the numbers: “Were those asked registered voters? If not, why do those that didn’t vote matter in such a survey if they are ultimately ignored in the development of public policies on education, health care, etc.?” He was a bit annoyed, to say the least. It just goes to show, I’ll challenge anyone–not just Dick Murray! HA HA!

Anyway, after the conference, I attended a reception hosted by Dr. Max Castillo (Prez of UH-D) and featuring as special guest speaker the legendary Dolores Huerta–one of the founders of the United Farm Workers. She was so cool, sweet and nice and very motivational when it comes to CAUSA issues on education and higher education.

I also met a future colleague, Instructor of Sociology at UTSA Sophia Ortiz. Talk about funny and fun! And I get to see professor Ortiz in action giving a talk on the validity of degrees from Mexico and the impact on degreed Mexicans that come to the US, while degrees from other nations are readily accepted. This is a major topic for future political consideration.

Tomorrow, we get Dr. Raymund Paredes, Commissioner of Higher Education. Let’s see if I get to challenge him and Perry’s dismal record. Dr. Max from UHD will speak at the luncheon. THEN, the Presidential Awards Dinner will feature scholar at Trinity University, Dr. Arturo Madrid.

Good people, good talks, and a little bit of rubbing elbows with some of the scholars that Texas should be listening to the most in regards to higher education.

More tomorrow; although, there’s no Wi-Fi, at least FREE Wi-Fi. UGHGH!

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