Re Princeton’s Latino Coalition report (Notebook, Jan. 23): Bravo to the students for pursuing a critical issue for the University’s future. I gasp at the figure of 2.5 percent Latino representation among the faculty.
It is somewhat startling that the best university in the United States has paid relatively scant attention to Latino scholarship, given the demographic surge that portends that a quarter of the population will be Latino/a within a generation. An excellent Latino program is necessary:
• to attract the brightest Latino/a scholars;
• to remain at the forefront of academic excellence in the examination of ethnicity;
• to promote intellectual contributions to specific disciplines;
• to contribute to the resolution of the major social issues of the 21st century.
Latino/a intellectuals in academe offer new, distinctive perspectives in all major disciplines, including linguistics, literature, anthropology, politics, sociology, philosophy, and psychology. Can the University not draw together the brightest among them to study, inter alia, the impact of language and culture on thought and analysis, the sources and use of identity, and the role of image in an electronic age?
The Latino Coalition report describes well the inadequate representation of Latinos in all aspects of the University’s program. Its analysis is sound and makes it incumbent upon all members of the Princeton community to understand and discuss whether Latino studies at Princeton are necessary, and, if so, what they might look like and how we might evaluate them. Kudos, and as we say in French, bon courage.