Center of Mexican American Studies
Center of Mexican American Studies
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Dear Latino Studies Family,

During these uncertain times, we want to provide you with as much information as we possibly can regarding our operations in the coming weeks. We are keenly aware of our unique role in the lives of Latinx students on campus and we have been working diligently over the last week to identify resources to support this community during the next several months.
 
If you feel scared or unsupported in any way, please do not hesitate to reach out to us via email at latinostudies@austin.utexas.edu. A Latino Studies staff member checks this email every day. We promise that a real person will see your message. Our names are Karma, Deborah, Laura, John, Katy, Luis, Natasha, Mallory, Ashley, Alex, Vanessa, Alice, Daisy, Fran, Desiree, Ruben, Rachel, Antonio, Lilia, Mirasol, Marisol, CJ, Julie, Richard, Belem… we are people who care about you and will do everything in our power to keep our UT family safe and healthy during this difficult time.
 
In addition to the information in the document, the Chair of MALS, Dr. Karma Chavez, has a little message to share with our Latino Studies family.
And for those who are wondering, a more exhaustive version of this document that includes additional information with food, housing, and mental health resources, as well as a questionnaire that will help us provide individual support to every MALS student, has been distributed directly to our students. Rest assured that we are taking care of our students in every way we can!
We hope we’ve answered most of your questions below. Again, if we fail to address an issue of concern, email us directly at latinostudies@austin.utexas.edu.
 
Love,
Latino Studies
 

 

Classes:

Classes resume on March 30 and undergraduate and graduate instruction will transition to remote delivery through Zoom, Canvas and other methods. The UT Co-Op is offering students access to Free E-Textbooks via Co-Op. You can sign up with your @utexas email.

 

Latino Studies Offices:

The Latino Studies offices will be closed until March 30. During this time, all staff and faculty will be working from home, but can still be reached via email. Now that in-person classes have been suspended and transitioned online for the remainder of the semester, whether staff will return to campus after March 30 is still uncertain. As the University updates its COVID-19 plan, we will update this document and communicate the changes to our students, faculty, and staff directly.

 

La Tiendita:

Our in-house student pantry has become an important resource for students who suffer from regular food insecurity. But we recognize that the recent financial strains of lost employment and other factors may put even more of you in a state of need. For this reason, and to avoid violating the strictures of social-distancing, we are moving food assistance online with e-gift cards. Any MALS major will be able to request HEB and Walmart e-gift cards in $20 increments per week, which we will distribute via email.
 
Help Our Students By Donating an E-Gift Card!
 
To donate an HEB e-gift card, click here. Due to a high volume of web traffic, HEB has temporarily suspended e-gift cards.
 
 
Instructions To Complete Wal-Mart Form:
Recipient’s email: Please send to your own email and then forward the gift card email to: latinostudies@austin.utexas.edu
(Wal-mart, for whatever reason, doesn’t accept our email as a valid recipient.)
 
Recipient’s name: Latino Studies
 
Message: Please include your email here. We will send you a confirmation email with the date and amount of your total donation. You may also include motivational messages for our students!
 
To best distribute resources evenly, please donate in increments of $20 at a time. (Yes, unfortunately, if you’d like to donate $100 you’ll have to add 5 different $20 gift cards. It’s more work but it really helps us on our end!)
 
 
Quantity: Target allows you to purchase multiple $20 gift cards (our requested increment). Select the number you would like to donate.
 
Value: Please donate in increments of $20.
 
Delivery Method: Select “Email.”
Add to cart and check out as usual.
 
Recipient Name and Email Address: Latino Studies, latinostudies@austin.utexas.edu
How it Works:
As the designated recipient, Latino Studies will receive an email that contains the e-gift card number and the pin number. Gift cards are usually processed within 4 hours of purchase.
 
While we are unable to provide a physical receipt, we will email you a confirmation with the date and amount of your purchase once the gift card is received.
 
Students will be able to request gift cards via a google form. Every week, we will review requests and distribute gift cards to students via email on a first-come, first-served basis.
 
If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to email us at LatinoStudies@austin.utexas.edu
Thank you for helping our students during these stressful and uncertain times.

 

Graduation:

We do not yet know the status of UT Commencement, but it is safe to assume that the quarantine measures currently in place will continue well into the summer. The University is currently considering online ceremony platforms, and we too will begin to explore virtual options for the MALS graduation if that is the recommended path.
 
We understand how hard students have worked and how greatly families may have sacrificed to help students reach this milestone, and we realize how disappointing it will be if this special occasion cannot be honored with a formal ceremony. For this reason, we will try our hardest and throw our most creative selves at the task of making your graduation as meaningful and memorable as it can be.

 

Research Studies:

The Latino Research Institute remains committed to its active research studies, which are currently in progress in various parts of central and south Texas. All in-person research activities have been suspended, but data collection and other research activities will continue to take place online and via telephone and video conference. The work of our dedicated researchers will remain important to the health and well-being of the Latino community long after this pandemic makes its way across the globe. The virus’ path is indiscriminate, but communities of color will arguably bear the greatest burden as society continues to function on the backs of those who have no option but to continue working. The research we produce today will be there for these communities tomorrow, as we continue to challenge systemic inequities that leave the Latino community most vulnerable during global crises.

 

Events:

Our events are a big part of how we create and sustain community among students, faculty and staff at UT. However, with gathering sizes now strictly regulated and a soon-to-be virtual campus, we are brainstorming ways to stay connected. Beginning in April, we are taking our in-person Sana Sana event series online via Instagram Live. We’ve invited local Latinx healers to guide us through natural ways of boosting our immune system, meditative practices, and ways of healing in community while practicing social distancing. For more details, follow us on Instagram: @LatinoStudiesUT.
 
We will also share weekly readings direct from the syllabi of Mexican American & Latina/o Studies faculty! Break away from COVID coverage and read along with us on social media.
 
To keep up with all of the projects we’ll be developing in the coming months, you can sign up for our weekly newsletter.