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      Walkout planned to save UTPA Mexican-American Studies program

      A program at the University of Texas Pan American is in jeopardy of being slashed, but students are not taking this sitting down.

      They are planning a walkout.

      The UTPA Mexican American Studies Club is fighting education cuts.

      The club is organizing a walkout on Cesar Chavez's birthday to let their voices be heard.

      They say it's part of their identity.

      "We want to preserve our culture," said co-founder of the club Teresa Hernandez. "We want to preserve our history."

      They don't want their identity taken away.

      "Cause I mean you're learning about people that are just like you," said UTPA student Norma Palacios.

      So they're fighting for the right to keep the Mexican American Studies program at UTPA.

      "Eighty percent of the population here at Pan-Am is Latino, so cutting this program will affect us as students and also as Mexican Americans," said Michelle Cavazos a member of the club.

      With $10 billion dollars in proposed cuts to public education, the Mexican American Studies program is on the chopping block.

      Students at the University of Texas Pan American said they just won't stand for that.

      To protest the cuts, students will walk out of class Thursday at eleven and participate in the rally.

      The Mexican American Studies Club organized the rally purposely on Cesar Chavez's birthday.

      "We decided because he did fight for many rights, so I think it would be a big honor in his name for us as Latinos as well to do it," said Palacios.

      Co-founder of the club, Teresa Hernandez said especially in this area, it's crucial to keep Mexican American Studies alive.

      "It really helps students learn about the Mexican American experience and really just develop as individuals and as scholars," said Hernandez.

      Hernandez said already 200 students have confirmed their participation in the walkout, and they hope this will send a strong message.