Student Representation and Activism

Other major initiatives TACS devoted energy to was the reallocation of student activity funds.  Andy Hernandez, who by then was a student council representative-at-large, petitioned for a change in the structure of the funds, which focused on residential students and Greek life organizations.  The residential requirement at Trinity was not instituted until the 1980s, therefore many students chose to live off campus and did not have the financial burden of room and board fees. However that didn’t mean that they didn’t see campus as a place to engage.  Hernandez worked with the activities board to change by vote the allocation of funds depending on the numbers of students involved in the organization.  And there were a lot of members in TACS.  A 1973 article which highlights the issues of the Chicano on campus notes that 10% of the student body were considered Chicano (Mexican American and not international Latino students as Hernandez explains in his oral history interview), and the most active Chicano students, between 30-40, participated in TACS.

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Trinitonian article from September 28, 1973 that lays out concerns Hernandez had.

Hernandez also addressed voting procedures that affected student representation.  In the same article he noted that there were several locations within dormitories for students to vote in elections, but there was only one polling place for town students, and that was the campus coffee shop.  He was able to change this process and make a central location for students to cast ballots, the student union building.

While it went unnoted in the Trinitonian, Hernandez credits the short-lived Minority Council of representatives from TACS and BET (Black Efforts at Trinity) for creating town senator positions within Trinity’s student government.  As he notes in his interview, town students largely consisted of minority students.

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Trinitonian article about the protest against the National Labor Relations Board recruiting on campus.

Felipe Reyes Jr. who is a pivotal figure in the Chicano Art Movement as he founded Con Safo which scholar Ruben Cordorva has been able to label one of the earliest Chicano art collectives.  Reyes was a transfer student from San Antonio College and attended Trinity for two years between 1971-1973 and received his BA in Fine Arts.

In April of 1972, Reyes organized a protest in response to the National Labor Relations Board being invited to campus to recruit students to work for the federal agency. As he recalls in his oral history interview, word of the protest got out to the community and soon there were dozens of people from the outside Trinity who were protesting in solidarity with Reyes and students of TACS. Protesters not part of Trinity were required to protest off campus grounds and positioned themselves atop of the hill of Stadium Dr. at Trinity's main enterance.


Photo of Felipe Reyes Jr. in the December 1971 issue of El Magazín.

"...we started up on the front of the campus. And so whenever drivers would come in to visit the campus, we'd hold up our thanks and cheer and everything. And then the word got out, by phone. I guess some of the students called some of the people out in the community. And they came on into the campus, but they got escorted out. And so they stayed on the perimeter of the campus, and started protesting as well...

But when we tried to put this together at the beginning, some of the students said, “don't do this, man, I want to apply.” I said, “go and apply, man. If you're not going to stand by Cesar Chavez, go with them. That's what you are. Go. We don't need you. We got plenty.” And I also said, “you ought to be ashamed of yourself.”

When everything wrapped up, I got into the car and several people asked me for a ride  downtown. I was listening to the Trinity Station [possibly KITE AM 930]. And one of the DJs started saying, "what we have got is Trinity's first protest." And then we went, "Yay!" [cheering sound]. And the other thing the DJ said was, “Right on.”  And so everybody went, “Yay!” [cheering sound].

While earlier protests regarding the Vietman War at Trinity can be traced, this could very well be the first Chicano protest on campus.  This was followed by a months long student-led lettuce and grape boycott starting in August 1972, which was chaired by TACS member Laura Alvina.

Scroll through Trinitonian pages that mention the lettuce boycott.