The former Latina/o/x Student Success Office (LSSO) is officially changing its name to employ the gender-inclusive term “Latinx.”
Inspired by other organizations and student services offices across the nation that have adopted the term, LSSO is choosing to use Latinx as a gender-neutral and non-binary alternative to Latina/o or Latin@. Examples abound of “Latinx” being used in a higher education student services context across the country, such as the Center for Chicanx and Latinx Academic and Student Success at University of California-Davis.
The “Latinx” term has been rising in popularity since 2004, mainly among students, scholars and activists. It has been specifically embraced by members of the LGBTQ+ community who identify themselves outside of the male/female binary. As terms evolve to become more inclusive, LSSO continues to evolve as well.
Gender inclusivity has always been one of LSSO’s commitments. In 2005, LSSO opened as the first office on campus to include “Latina/o” in its name. This set a precedent that the Latina/o Studies Program (previously Latino Studies Program) eventually followed. As a student services office, LSSO endeavors to offer an affirming space for students with respect for their own evolving ways of identifying. The name change aligns with the recent university statement citing Cornell’s ongoing commitment to equal education opportunity for community members of all gender identities and expressions. Incorporating Latinx into LSSO’s name was supported by a majority of students and alumni in a recent community survey.
Latinx is not the perfect solution, and will not satisfy everyone. However, it is a step toward maintaining a welcoming and inclusive environment to better serve students of Latin American descent.
Juliette Ramírez Corazón is Assistant Dean of Advising in the College of Arts and Sciences and Director of Latinx Student Success Office housed in Latina/o Studies.
LSSO logo design by Paul Muniz, Ph.D. Sociology, Cornell University