Collection ID: C245
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Collection context


Indiana University, Bloomington. Latino Cultural Center
The Latino Cultural Center was established at Indiana University in 1973. It is more affectionately known as La Casa. Its purpose was, and continues to be, to achieve through educational and social programs, a greater historical, political and cultural awareness regarding the latine community. The collection consists of records created by the Latino Cultural Center while under the direction of the Office of Latino Affairs, documents from student organizations, such as Latinos Unidos at Indiana University (LUIU), and other documents realted to the history and interests of the Latino Cultural Center including correspondence, publications, events, annual reports, and subject files.
8 cubic feet (7 boxes and 1 oversized box. )
Materials are in English .
Preferred citation:

[Item], Indiana University Latino Cultural Center records, Collection C245, Indiana University Archives, Bloomington.


Biographical / Historical:

In 1971 the Indiana Daily Student published a call for assistance in forming an office that would address the needs of a growing Latino student body. In 1973, after two years of development, the Indiana University administration appointed Horatio Lewis to fill the dual role of assistant dean in the University Division and director of the newly created Office of Latino Affairs (OLA). In November of 1973, Lewis helped to establish the Latino Cultural Center, affectionately known as La Casa, in a house at 410 South Park Street. However, in 1976 La Casa relocated to a larger and more conveniently situated house at 715 East 7th Street, across from the Student Union building. School of Education graduate student, Jorge Wehby, was hired as the first director of La Casa.

By 1977, La Casa had settled into its new location, and Latino students felt it was time to take another step to develop a thriving Latino community at Indiana University. Alianza Latina del Medioeste de America (ALMA), the leading Latino student organization on campus at the time, began lobbying the administration to hire a Latino recruiter and establish a fulltime Latino deanship. As a result of their efforts, Guadalupe Solis was hired for the 1979-1980 school year as the first Latino recruiter at Indiana University and a new fulltime dean, Dr. Hector-Neri Casteñeda, was hired effective August 15, 1978. As part of Dr. Casteñeda duties he oversaw the Office of Latino Affairs and the Latino Cultural Center. In the 1980-1981 academic year, Dr. Casteñeda approved the funding for a major improvement project designed by graduate student Georgia Burgueño. She had La Casa renovated to create a new lounge, T.V. room, library, and tutoring center. Burgueño also worked to establish a Counseling and Academic Advising Program from 1980 until 1986, when she then became the Coordinator for Latino Services for the Office of Latino Affairs.

In 1981, Dean Hector-Neri Casteñeda received an unfavorable administrative review and many complaints from students for failing to be a strong advocate for the Latino community. Casteñeda took a leave of absence and later resigned from his position. Alberto Torchinsky, professor of mathematics, stepped in as acting dean and was later hired for the permanent position. Under Torchinsky's leadership, La Casa was expanded into an umbrella organization for a growing number of Latino student groups. La Casa provided faculty advisors, a meeting place, funding, and full use of the office equipment for clerical activities.

In 1992, Lilian Casillas, a graduate student who served as the Program Assistant to the Office of Latino Affairs, assumed the responsibility of overseeing La Casa. Lillian Casillas held the position from 1992-1998 and returned to La Casa in 2000 to accept the newly created position of director. Under the direction of Casillas, La Casa continued to flourish. As La Casa's presence grew on campus, the general student body became more aware of diversity issues. Yet, at the same time, a climate of racial tension was also burgeoning on campus.

Growing concern led Kenneth R.R. Gros-Louis, Chancellor of Indiana University, Bloomington, to reevaluate minority advocacy programs again in March of 1998. The plan was released on October 1, 1998 and it called for the strengthening of minority advocacy through the consolidation of individual advocacy offices into a unified Office of Multicultural Affairs. This led to the hiring of former OLA Coordinator for Latino Services, Georgia Burgueño, as Latino Advocate in the new Office of Multicultural Affairs, which opened on January 1, 1999. Now, the Office of Multicultural Affairs is referred to as the Office of the Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Multicultural Affairs for the better part of the last 20 years. Currently, the Latino Cultural Center, La Casa, serves as an advocacy office and program under the Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Multicultural Affairs. La Casa enhances the connection between the students, community, and faculty and staff at Indiana University. La Casa provides programming, support, and opportunities to foster a sense of belonging and pride for the Latino students, while also assisting in their academic, leadership, professional, and social development. Open on a year-round bases, the building includes lounge areas, reading, study, and meeting rooms, a recreation room, offices, and a library. The Current Director of the Latino Cultural Center, La Casa, is Lillian Casillas.

Scope and Content:

This collection contains materials relating to and collected by the Latino Cultural Center (La Casa) staff and students while under the direction of the Office of Latino Affairs and while currently under the Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Multicultural Affairs.

The Administrative series contains three subseries of Office of Latino Affairs, Latinos Unidos of Indiana University, and General Administrative Files. Items within the Office of Latino Affairs subseries pertain to the history of the office and La Casa, as well as, annual reports. Items in the Latino Unidos of Indiana University subseries pertain to both general and executive board members, constitutions, and meeting agendas. Items with in the General Administrative Files subseries contain folders that were instrumental to La Casa and the Office of Latino Affairs development and presence on campus. Such folders include "La Casa Renovation Project", "Proposal for the Consolidation of Minority Offices" and "20/20: A Vision for Achieving Equity and Excellence".

The Association series contains both organizations that are local to the Bloomington community, and student organizations supervised under the umbrella of the Latino Cultural Center.

The Events series contains four subseries of Banquets and Receptions, Conferences and Retreats, Speakers, and General Events. Items in the Banquets and Receptions subseries pertain to events where recognition was given to either students, faculty, or staff. Items in the Conferences and Retreats subseries pertain to conferences and retreats that either happened on Indiana University Bloomington's campus, affiliated campuses, or within the Midwestern region. A conference of notoriety is the Indiana Latino Leadership Conference, spanning from 1998 to 2016. Items in the Speaker subseries contains files on individual guest speakers who came to IU and individuals whom the Latino Cultural Center and the Office of Latino Affairs were trying to bring to campus. Of special note are speakers César Chavez and Henry Cisneros who are known internationally for their activism for the Latino community. The General Events subseries contains a wide variety of events supported by the Latino Cultural Center, Office of Latino Affairs, and The Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Multicultural Affairs. They range from social and cultural events to leadership workshops and academic events.

The Correspondence series contains exchanges between student organizations and businesses, students, or other campus organizations. This series also contains exchanges with Lillian Casillas, the Director of La Casa, and also correspondence pertaining to the former Office of Latino Affairs.

The Publications series contains many newsletters published by the Office of Latino Affairs, Latino Cultural Center (La Casa), Latino students, Latino organizations, and the greater communities within Bloomington and Indiana.

The Subject Files series contains materials that are directly related to the Latino Cultural Center, and the Indiana University Bloomington community. Such files in this series have documents related to alumni, organization approvals, and documentation and background for project events.

Finally, the General Files series contains materials that are related to research topics and inquires for students of the Latino Culture Center. The majority of the files in this series are related to the essence and curiosity of the students, faculty, and staff that work in or are involved with La Casa.

Acquisition information:
Accessions 2003/081, 7071, 2019/067
Custodial history:

Transfer; Latino Cultural Center; 2003; Accession 2003/081.

Transfer; Latino Cultural Center; 2019 Accession 2019/067.

Processing information:

Processed by Kate Ball.

Completed in 2004.

Accession 2019/067 processed into the collection inby Mariah Isbell in March 2021.


The collection is organized into seven series: Administration, Associations, Events, Correspondence, Publications, Subject Files, and General Files.



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[Item], Indiana University Latino Cultural Center records, Collection C245, Indiana University Archives, Bloomington.

Indiana University Bloomington
Herman B Wells Library E460
1320 East Tenth Street
Bloomington, Indiana 47405-7000, United States
Indiana University Bloomington