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Hispano Round Table de Nuevo México

Presidential Selection and Centro de la Raza at UNM

Juan José Peña, Chairman
Hispano Round Table of New Mexico
Post Office Box 27217
Alburquerque, New Mexico 87125-7217
Telephone: Home: 242-8085; Work: 248-8064; Pager: 247-5998;
E-Mail - Home:, E-Mail - Work:; Fax: 242-1603

Letters Editor
The Alburquerque Journal
Via Electronic Mail


Native New Mexican Indohispano lack of representation relative to our numbers and percentages in the state are beginning to take their toll on our interests at all levels. U.S. Representative Heather Wilson and Joe Skeen have voted against the interests of native New Mexican Hispanos on issues of affirmative action, bilingual education, English only, economic assistance for Hispano students and economic development in Hispano areas, cancelling out the efforts of 150 years of work by our native New Mexican Hispano Congressmen and U.S. Senators Padre José M. Gallegos, Francisco Perea, José Franco Chávez, Trinidad Romero, Mariano S. Otero, Tranquilino Luna, Francisco A. Manzanares, Antonio Joseph, Pedro Perea, Benigno C. Hernández, Nestor Montoya, Dionicio Chávez, Antonio M. Fernández, José M. Montoya and Manuel Luján, Jr., whose efforts, legacy and people they seem to know little or nothing about and about which they seem to care even less, because they have cavalierly trampled all over their generations of work and effort in these areas.

Governor Carruthers and Governor Johnson left us severely under-represented in their cabinets, judgeships and boards and commissions of the state of New Mexico where we represent half of the population such that we only have one native New Mexican Indohispano regent at each of the state's universities, even at Highlands, where we represent over 75% of the inhabitants of the area. This has caused travesties of under-representation such as has occurred at the University of New Mexico, where non native New Mexican non Indohispano regents of the University cabalierly passed over tremendously qualified candidates for the presidency of the UNM Cresencio "Chris" García, two time (now three time) Provost of UNM; Daniel López, President of New Mexico Technological University; Dr. Vernon Lattin, graduate of Highland High School, now on his third university presidency; Dr. Ramón Gutiérrez, resident of the barrio of San José and graduate of St. Pius X High School, Vice-Chancellor at the University of San Diego and who knows how many other highly qualified native New Mexican Indohispanos who were passed over and whom we did not learn about. Now the non Native New Mexican regents are attacking the Centro de la Raza which recruits Hispano students from our 50% of the population of the state of New Mexico to the university, counsels them to help retain these students, help them with financial aid, tutoring and any other assistance they can provide them and helps move them on to graduate school.

This is why it is so critical that the composition of the Search Committee for the President of the University of New Mexico reflect the native New Mexican Indohispano population of New Mexico at the regent level, the administrative level, the faculty level, the student level and the community level equal to our numbers and percentages in the state. We need native New Mexican Hispano administrators, students and community members whose roots are in the community and who are aware of the needs of our native New Mexican Hispano population which has been paying the bills for UNM while so many of our native New Mexican Hispano ancestors, parents, relatives and children have been denied positions from the Presidency down to the student level for the last 109 years. Members of my family have been in New Mexico in 1540 and since 1693, and I have been active in the efforts to bring parity and equality to New Mexico's native Indohispanos since 1964. This is why the Hispano Round Table of New Mexico chose me to be and act as a community representative in the Presidential Search Committee for the University of New Mexico. Porque a mi no me dan gato por liebre and because I had an integral role in the selection of the first Hispano President of a four year public university in the history of the United States, Dr. Francisco Angel at Highlands University.

Juan José Peña

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Last Updated September 25, 1998, by Juan Fidel [] Larrañaga