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Kent State Panel Discussion Will Explore Puerto Rico Statehood, Jan. 31

Posted Jan. 25, 2013

UPDATED 1/30/13: This event has been postponed and will be rescheduled for a later date. Visit

Kent State University’s College of Arts and Sciences, and the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion are sponsoring a panel discussion titled “Puerto Rico: The 51st Star On the U.S. Flag?” on Jan. 31 from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in the Kent Student Center Kiva. The event is free and open to the public. A dessert and coffee reception will follow the discussion in the Multicultural Center, Room 206 of the Kent Student Center, which is directly above the Kiva.

Supported by the Hispanic Alliance Inc., Kent State Admissions, and the Spanish and Latino Student Association (SALSA), the discussion will provide participants with the opportunity to explore the complex issue from diverse angles. The history of Puerto Rico’s connection as a U.S. territory and the arguments for independence, status quo and statehood are all aspects influencing the issue to be discussed by the panel.

“This forum will present a discussion focusing on the historic statehood vote by Puerto Rico in the fall 2012 election,” said Joseph Ortiz, Ph.D., geology professor and provost faculty associate for Kent State’s Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, who will serve on the discussion panel.

Other panel members include Jose E. Lopez, adjunct professor and executive director for the Institute of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture at the University of Illinois at Chicago; Juan Molina Crespo, executive director, Hispanic Alliance Inc. in Cleveland; Amoaba Gooden, Ph.D., chair of Kent State’s Department of Pan-African Studies; David Kaplan, Ph.D., professor in Kent State’s Department of Geography; and Elizabeth Pryor-Smith, Ph.D., history professor at Kent State. The panel will be moderated by José C. Feliciano, a Cleveland-area trial lawyer who also serves as Kent State’s 2012-2013 President’s Ambassador.

For more information about Kent State’s College of Arts and Sciences, visit

For more information about Kent State’s Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, visit

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Media Contacts:
Joseph Ortiz,, 330-672-2225
Sandra Morgan,, 330-672-8986
Emily Vincent,, 330-672-8595