The USC Latino Forum was launched by Diane Pasillas (she was in Community Relations) and Samuel Mark (I worked for the College then) in 1987. We first held meetings with Raul Vargas and Abel Amaya, to garner their support, and then we organized a planning lunch with key USC Latino faculty members at the USC Faculty Center. The first meetings were lunches at the FC at no cost (different offices paid for them.) The first meetings were held on December 4, 1987 and Feb. 5, 1988. Later we added a lunch fee and a membership fee of $10 per year to cover mailings. Only those who paid the $10 fee were invited to the meetings. After the first two years we started holding lunches at USC El Centro or at USC Religious Center (usually cold cut plates). The location change was due to many members not showing up for the FC lunches and we would get stuck with their uneaten lunch cost. The purpose has always been to facilitate networking, provide support, share information, and advocate for certain staff/faculty issues. In the beginning members saw it as a “managerial and faculty” group, so the FC location was deemed appropriate. With time the group became more “democratic” and more efforts were made to recruit Latinos from other levels, to become more inclusive. For many years we met four times per year (2 meetings per semester) and held a Christmas party (the tamalada). Usually there was a speaker, primarily USC Latino faculty members (about 30 minute presentation). We felt that Latino faculty only attended if one of their colleagues was a speaker. As members felt they wanted to do other projects, the group organized a taco sale during the Mariachi Festival, a scholarship program, involvement with Admissions events, bilingual workshops on preparing for college for lower-level Latino staff, joint meetings with the African American and Asian/PI staff and faculty groups, recognition of exceptional staff members, etc. Some past presidents: Maribel Taussig, Teresa McKenna, Lidia Ramirez, Ivan Calimano, Richard Vargas, Maria Contreras, Lori Suarez and Diana Sabogal.
~ Samuel Mark, USC CCR, April 4, 2000
Presidents of the USC Latino Forum
Macarena Gomez-Barris, Associate Professor of Sociology and American Studies & Ethnicity (Since 2011)
Maribel Taussig, Teresa McKenna, Lidia Ramirez, Ivan Calimano, Richard Vargas, Maria Contreras, Lori Suarez, Diana Sabogal, Ilda Jimenez y West