Outside Funding Saves Latinx Graduation

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Photo of graduates

Despite funding cuts to diversity programs at the University of Texas at Austin, a Latino graduation ceremony, as well as other diverse group ceremonies, will proceed off-campus. 

Along with the university’s Multicultural Engagement Center and Latinx Community Affairs office, the Latinx Graduation was defunded amid broader, state-mandated cuts to DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) programs throughout Texas. 

Thanks to efforts by the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) and online donations, the canceled Latinx Graduation has been revived. 

Once funding for the ceremony was cut, students sought support from private donors on GoFundMe. After initially falling short of their $9,000 goal, Katherine Ospina, the outreach chair of Latinx Community Affairs, contacted local elected officials and LULAC, who were able to discount and pay for a venue, respectively. 

In an interview with NBC News, Domingo García, LULAC president, highlighted the importance of recognizing students’ cultural heritage and criticized Texas’ anti-DEI law as regressive and xenophobic. This effort also coincides with LULACs 95th anniversary, making it the oldest Latino civil rights group in the U.S. 

“Students should be proud of their heritage and their culture and have a certain way that recognizes that, especially because many of them are first-generation,” Domingo García, LULAC president said in the interview. “What better way to celebrate [LULAC’s anniversary] than to celebrate those young men and women who are going to be part of the future of America in business, education, and government? That’s what our legacy is about.”

With LULAC’s support, the students raised more than their $9,000. The extra funds will enable them to hold the upcoming graduation ceremony and support future events, such as new student orientations and leadership symposiums, that had previously been funded by the university.

The Latinx Graduation has held significance for Latino students, acknowledging their bicultural heritage and providing a bilingual ceremony that allowed family members with varying levels of English fluency to attend. The event featured Latino cultural elements — including food, music, and decor — distinct from the university’s standard graduation events. These ceremonies also have historically played a vital role in recruiting, retaining, and graduating Latino students.