Minority Students Feel Betrayed by Miscommunication

Mila Alicea’s Loud Latinx event, and why Champlain tried to make her postpone it.


A promotional image for Loud Latinx, from the Burly Beaver’s Instagram page.

Saturday, March 6 at 5:00 p.m., Mila Alicea (‘24) and several of her fellow Latina and Latino students are hosting Loud Latinx, an Instagram livestream roundtable to discuss their experience on Champlain’s mostly-white campus. Champlain responded to Alicea’s proposed event by trying to have it postponed. 

Alicea realized that the Champlain community needed Loud Latinx when she was talking with several of her friends; each shared microaggressions they’ve experienced on campus due to being Latinx. She had similar experiences herself. These were brought to the college’s attention, and neither Alicea nor her friends felt as though they were properly addressed. 

“We reported it in September, and we didn’t get any justice out of it,” Alicea says. “[Champlain] is not putting any action into what we’ve said, what we’ve experienced.” She says that neither she nor her friends received so much as an email promising the college would pursue their report. That led her to the realization that she needed to pull her community together and bring that experience into the light. She states it simply: “Let’s talk about this.”

So Alicea created Loud Latinx. Originally, she was operating under the umbrella of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, where she is employed. However, two days before the event, she received an email from an ODI faculty member that caught her off guard. 

The email informed her that, while Loud Latinx was a “great and necessary conversation,” she would need to plan on postponing it due to “logistical issues.” The email did not include precisely what those issues were. 

“First, it blindsided me,” Alicea says. “But it made me really angry, and it made me really sad. And it felt like, not just my voice but the other Latinx students on campus, like they were trying to silence us.” 

She adds, “They didn’t give me an explanation. They just said it’s ‘logistical problems.’ I’m like, I understand that, but tell me why. They just left me in the dark, and they left the students that are trying to speak out in the dark.”

One of the things Alicea was adamant about getting across with Loud Latinx was that she didn’t want it to be bashing the college at all. She’s extremely grateful for the academics at Champlain, and for the scholarships she receives. She just wanted to host an open and critical conversation, so getting that email “felt like a slap in the face.” 

However, it may be that this is a case of misinformation and nothing else. Lisa Mazzariello, head of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, says that her only intention was for Alicea to postpone the event in order to use more of the traditional channels of promotion to raise awareness for it and make sure the Champlain community knew about it before it happened. 

Mazzariello says that usually event planners need to advertise through the Stall Street Journal, the View, put posters up around campus and in residence halls, and campaign on social media. She comments, “To date, I believe the social media campaign is the only piece of the logistics that have been put in place [for Loud Latinx].”

“It’s not a gag order,” Mazzariello emphasizes. She wanted the event to be postponed so Alicea could work with the ODI to get the word out more thoroughly, stating, “If you haven’t properly advertised a program, that’s going to be ineffective, and everyone’s going to walk away feeling a little worse.”

She also adds that Alicea only received training on how to plan events on March 4, and that the ODI thought she was moving too quickly to ensure the event was put together well.

However, Mazzariello admits that the ODI’s email to Alicea didn’t have enough information in it. She says, “I understand why people jump to what conclusions that they maybe have jumped to.”

The content of the email rather contradicts what Mazzariello said, though, alluding that the issue was centered on Alicea communicating with the press to promote the event while being an employee of the college. 

As for Loud Latinx itself, it is still being held tonight as planned. Alicea is hosting it through the Burly Beaver, a student-run news project organized by professor Erik Shonstrom for one of his 100-level Core classes. 

Since Alicea received the email, all mentions of the ODI have been removed from promotional material for the event. Alicea has decided that having the Loud Latinx conversation as soon as possible is worth not getting promotional help and support from the ODI. 

The event runs tonight, Saturday, March 6, from 5:00-6:00 p.m., live on the Burly Beaver’s Instagram page.


Editor’s Note: This piece is one of several diving into college relations with student run journalism organizations. Related stories will be posted within the next few weeks.