Hispanic Women Students Share Experiences


Allyson Bennett

Panelists were invited to speak about their experiences being a Hispanic woman at a majority white institution.

Allyson Bennett, Staff Writer

The Latin American Student Organization (LASO) and the American Association of University Women (AAUW) jointly hosted a discussion on what it means to be a Hispanic woman at Union.

Attendees discussed how they felt as a Latina at a primarily white institution such as Union. Multiple attendees said they felt imposter syndrome at Union because they were in the Academic Opportunity Program (AOP), a scholarship program. One attendee felt as though their college application was pushed aside from the others. Several students praised AOP, stating that it was the reason they came to Union. Another attendee noted that there were not a lot of people of color in Union’s Scholars Program for the top 10% of incoming students.

Multiple attendees discussed their experiences with professors and other students confusing them for one another, and microaggressions at social events: One professor called two women the same name, and it took them some time to realize that they had different names; other students had their names mispronounced. Multiple attendees noted that people asked them questions about their hair in an insulting manner, for example, “How do you wash it?” One student recounted how their hair was touched without their consent. Experiences of displacement at Fraternities and Sororities during Greek Recruitment were also discussed. Attendees also discussed stereotypes placed on Latina women. Multiple attendees discussed how mothers would fat-shame their daughters. Another discussed how non-Latinx people would fetishize Latina women and stereotype them as sexy, curvy, etc.

“We decided to do this event due to the start of Hispanic Heritage two weeks ago,” Ummi Coats ‘24 and President of AAUW, said. “[Natalia Garcia and I] decided to […] hold a discussion on the experience of being a Hispanic woman at Union. Last year, we held a[…] discussion[…] on the experience of being a woman of color at Union, and we had a great turnout and touched on lots of important points like imposter syndrome and the best places to find community on campus.”