Portland, Ore. — Protesting a court-ordered eviction by a federal agency, Chicano students and teachers at the innovative Colegio Cesar Chavez in Mt. Angel, Oregon have occupied the four-year-old school’s buildings and vowed to stay there until arrested.
Six Colegio students have filed a U.S. District Court countersuit against the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), charging that their right to an equal education is violated by the threatened eviction.
HUD demands eviction because a $1 million debt, incurred when the Colegio took over the former Mt. Angel College’s premises and debts in 1973, remains unpaid. HUD gained ownership of the property after the Benedictine Sisters of Mt. Angel College defaulted on the loan.
HUD not only refuses to consider Colegio proposals to purchase, lease, or receive the school as a gift, but is secretly conspiring to sell the property to the county Housing Authority.
This is HUD’s fourth attempt to evict the determined college. School supporters view the eviction as part of the intensified government offensive to seal off educational opportunities for minorities. The drastic discrepancy between HUD’s treatment of the Colegio and its Anglo-Catholic predecessor is clear.
The Colegio is the only independent Chicano College in the country.