Latino Center Director Julián Cancino announces exit from Tufts

Julián Cancino, center, surrounded by students, faculty, staff and alumni at the Remis Sculpture Court in 2017. (Sara Pizarro Jaramillo / SMFA)

Julián Cancino announced in a Jan. 16 Tufts Daily op-ed that he will no longer be serving as the director of the Latino Center. Cancino had held that role since the fall of 2017.

According to his op-ed, Cancino first came to Tufts in 2015 when he was invited to speak about educational equity among low-income and undocumented students in higher education.

In an interview with the Daily, Cancino emphasized that his role as mentor was important to his work.

“I am proud of making a difference through one-on-one interaction,” Cancino said. “My position gave me the opportunity to work with a wide range of students, student parents, undocumented, closeted [and] queer Latino students.”

Cancino also stated that, as director, he served as one of the major allies for Latinx students at Tufts, advocating on Latinx students’ behalf. He added that educating faculty on how to improve themselves for Latinx students made up a large part of his job.

In his op-ed, Cancino echoed this sentiment, saying “[As director] I believed that students need allies, particularly in the administration, who will listen, develop their leadership and advocate for change.”

Cancino also said that, through his many intersecting identities, he felt he was better able to reach and connect with students.

Cancino highlighted a video project entitled MyTufts, which sought to add onto panel discussions for incoming freshmen during orientation. For the project, students of different identities and backgrounds participated in filmed interviews on their passions and interests, which were published on Instagram.

Cancino said this project helped foster a safer and more inclusive campus climate for all students, some of whom do not have equal access to all of Tufts’ resources.

In addition, Cancino and several students helped create the inaugural Tufts Latinx Film Festival, which Cancino described as an “initiative to connect students to faculty [and] facilitating connection to administrators, faculty, and other students.”

Rebeca Becdach, an intern with the Latino Center, explained the purpose of the festival in an electronic message with the Daily.

“A goal of ours was to connect with different academic departments and the SMFA, as well as to show members of the Tufts community different stories and identities within the Latinx community,” Becdach, a sophomore, said.

Such films included “Ixcanul,” directed by Jayro Bustamante, with a presentation by Rachelle Mozman of the SMFA. Professors Noe Montez of the Department of Theater, Dance and Performance studies and Juliana Berte, a Romance studies lecturer, also participated in the film festival. Becdach also mentioned that Cancino also presented before a viewing of the Pixar film “Coco.”

Cancino said that students evaluated the film festival as a success.

Alejandro Colina-Valeri, another intern at the Latino Center, praised Cancino’s work as director.

“He was really active … he wasn’t one of those bosses who would stay in his office all day,” Colina-Valeri, a sophomore, said, adding that Cancino would often take time to talk to students outside of his office hours. “I think that’s something that shows that he actually cares about the Latino Center.”

Cancino said that he believes in his students and is proud of their ability to unite the many Latinx communities represented at Tufts, calling the students involved with the Latino Center a “solid team.”

Patrick Collins, the executive director of public relations at tufts, said in an email to the Daily that the administration is coordinating with staff and student leaders to create an interim staffing plan to continue to support students for the rest of the academic year.

“Longer term, the Office of the Dean of Student Affairs will develop a plan for the [Latino] Center’s future leadership in close coordination with students, faculty and university leadership, including the chief diversity officers,” he added.


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