Latinx Faculty and Staff Association begins development at Baylor

Dr. Kristina Campos-Davis works as both chief of staff to the provost and president of the Latinx Faculty and Staff Association. Photo courtesy of Baylor University.

By Caitlyn Meisner | Staff Writer

The newly chartered Latinx Faculty and Staff Association (LFSA) has kicked off the 2022-2023 academic year supporting campus Hispanic Heritage Month events.

LFSA is an association dedicated to providing Latinx faculty, staff and graduate students with professional development and support, along with cultural awareness and networking opportunities.

The association was started by Dr. Kristina Campos-Davis, president of LFSA, and recently began its first term officially chartered.

“When I arrived on campus in August 2021, I was surprised that there was not an organization for Latinx faculty and staff,” Campos-Davis said. “I immediately began the process of starting the organization.”

Dr. Crystal Diaz-Espinoza, president-elect of LFSA, said she joined the organization when it was in the process of being chartered last spring. Diaz-Espinoza, Campos-Davis and Amanda Torres, secretary and treasurer, make up the leadership team.

Although LFSA is just getting started, Diaz-Espinoza said they have exciting ideas for events in the upcoming semesters.

“We’re hoping to meet at least two to three times a semester officially with general body meetings,” Diaz-Espinoza said. “In between, we’d like to [go to] a profit-share for the Hispanic Student Association or finding time to have lunch.”

Diaz-Espinoza said there have been around 30 faculty and staff members who have paid dues to become official members of LFSA.

The Black Faculty and Staff Association (BFSA) has been instrumental in the chartering and success of LFSA, Diaz-Espinoza said. She also said the two associations will be meeting with Human Resources and the Provost’s Office to discuss common issues that are important on behalf of their groups.

“We will come together in that way, in terms of just coming together to advocate on behalf of faculty and staff at Baylor,” Diaz-Espinoza said.

Diaz-Espinoza continued to say the associations are working together and building one another up to be successful.

“We hope to do social events,” Diaz-Espinoza said. “Several of them came to our initial meeting. I’m part of BFSA as well — and have been since they launched. There’s definitely a lot of support and mutual admiration between our groups in just wanting us both to be successful in the advocacy for faculty and staff needs and issues.”

Richmond senior and Hispanic Student Association president Jessica Sanchez said she is excited LFSA is on campus and has high hopes for its impact.

“I really, really, really would like for them to speak up on our behalf more because students can only do so much,” Sanchez said. “They are the higher-ups. They are the people that are easily heard. I really hope that they don’t give up and they keep fighting. As long as they keep going and keep marching on, I know that they can make changes.”

There will be a faculty, staff and student mixer to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month at 3:30 p.m. on Oct. 4 in the Barfield Drawing Room in the Bill Daniel Student Center.

Diaz-Espinoza said many of the faculty and staff members in LFSA are invested in supporting students on Baylor’s campus.

“Eventually, [Campos-Davis] and I want to figure out how we can raise money for scholarships or other ways to support students financially,” Diaz-Espinoza said. “That’s a goal of both of ours.”

Only about 5% of Baylor’s faculty and staff identify as Hispanic, and Diaz-Espinoza said it is challenging to see other people that look like her on campus.

“Typically, we are one or two in our areas, so something like an LFSA can bring us all together to remind us that we are all at Baylor and we’re all focused on helping students succeed,” Diaz-Espinoza said. “That reminder can just help reinvigorate us as we go back to our work.”

Campos-Davis also said she thinks what these faculty and staff want and need is a place where they can come together and see coworkers who are similar to them.

“We have Latinx faculty all over campus, and we just wanted everyone to know who everyone else is and what they are doing,” Campos-Davis said.

According to Diaz-Espinoza, her goal is to alter LFSA’s programming to accommodate faculty, since there are more faculty in the association.

“Some of the things we’d like to do are community-building sorts of things — getting together without necessarily an agenda and just helping faculty and staff see each other and fellowship together,” Diaz-Espinoza said.

Diaz-Espinoza also said she wants to bring more voices into curriculum for both Latinx and non-Latinx students.

“[It can] be through research presentations or bringing guest lecturers/speakers to campus to benefit non-Latinx in learning about Latinx culture, research or authors,” Diaz-Espinoza said. “Emphasizing that there are Latinx researchers that are doing great work and focus on the academic side as well.”