September 15, 2009

As National Hispanic Heritage Month Commences, Senators Introduce Bipartisan Resolution Honoring Hispanic Serving Institutions

September 20th as "National Hispanic Serving Institutions Week"

WASHINGTON - Today, as our nation celebrates the beginning of Hispanic Heritage Month, U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) introduced a bipartisan resolution to recognize the work, goals, and achievements of 268 non-profit Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs) for their crucial role in educating and empowering Hispanic youth students, improving their local communities, and contributing to the economic vitality of the United States. This resolution specifically calls for the designation of the week of September 20, 2009 as National Hispanic Serving Institutions Week and calls for its observation through private ceremonies, activities, and programs to demonstrate support for Hispanic Serving Institutions.

Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs) are defined as colleges, universities, or systems/districts where total Hispanic enrollment constitutes a minimum of 25% of the total enrollment. The Resolution was co-sponsored by 10 Senators: Senator Harry Reid (D-NV), Senators Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), John Cornyn (R-TX), Joseph Lieberman (I-CT), Charles Schumer (D-NY), Carl Levin (D-MI), Robert Casey (D-PA), Tom Udall (D-NM), Mark Udall (D-CO), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY).

"As the only Hispanic Senator and Chair of the Senate Democratic Hispanic Task Force, I am proud to begin Hispanic Heritage Month by introducing a resolution that honors the importance of Hispanic Serving Institutions in educating the next generation of Latino leaders," said Menendez. "It is critical to honor those Institutions that play a crucial role in increasing the access future generations of Latinos have to a better education, a better community, and a better future. We must continue to work to ensure Latino students have the resources they need to become contributing members of our society and economy."

"Education in this country has been the most effective means of social mobility and I am a testament to that. Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSI) are therefore a key component in closing the socio-economic gap many Hispanics face. I am proud to be a co-sponsor of this resolution and I congratulate my colleague, Sen. Menendez for introducing it as it recognizes the service HSI provide not just to Latinos, but our country as a whole." said Sen Reid.

"I am pleased to join my Senate colleagues in honoring Hispanic Serving Institutions and the essential role that they play in American higher education. HSIs enroll the majority of Hispanic college and university students and are critical to the success of New Mexico and the nation as a whole," said Sen. Bingaman. "As a senior member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and a co-chair of the Senate HSI coalition, I will continue to work with my colleagues to support HSIs and the work that they do."

"We are proud to have 16 Hispanic Serving Institutions serving and supporting our minority-majority population in New Mexico," said Sen. Tom Udall. "These institutions deserve special recognition for their unique recruitment efforts that inspire our growing Hispanic youth to pursue higher education."

"I am proud to join with my colleagues in honoring the outstanding contributions of Hispanic Serving Institutions to the education and empowerment of our country's Hispanic youth. HSIs play a crucial role in building stronger communities and promoting economic advancement for thousands of young people and their families." said Sen. Casey.

"I am pleased to join my colleagues in recognizing the exceptional work of Hispanic Serving Institutions. These institutions provide vital services for Hispanic students through wonderful educational opportunities. I believe that every student deserves an opportunity to achieve his or her God given potential, and this resolution applauds Hispanic Serving Institutions for making this dream a reality for Hispanic students across the nation." said Sen. Gillibrand

"I believe that strengthening our HSIs will help close the high school graduation gap for Hispanics and give them greater opportunities to continue their education at the college and graduate level," said Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison.

"Hispanic Serving Institutions play a vital role not only in education, but in the economic vitality of our entire nation. The contributions HSIs make to our communities and our nation are worthy of praise and deserve to be honored. As we begin the month-long celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month today, I am pleased to join my colleagues in this bipartisan effort to recognize our Hispanic Serving Institutions and the vital role they play in helping to increase the enrollment of Hispanic students in higher education, expanding opportunity and improving our nation," said Sen. John Cornyn.

"As Hispanic Heritage month is celebrated across the nation, recognizing the impact that Hispanic-Serving Institutions have made in higher education is deserving of national recognition," said HACU President and CEO Antonio Flores. "In honor of the many achievements and contributions made by our nation's HSIs, we hope that Congress will pass the resolution and support National Hispanic-Serving Institutions Week."

To read the full resolution, click here: http://menendez.senate.gov/pdf/09152009MenendezHSIResolution.pdf