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Think Tank on Latino Issues Leaving Claremont for USC

May 02, 2003|Errin Haines | Times Staff Writer

The Tomas Rivera Policy Institute, a think tank specializing in Latino issues, is moving from its longtime home at the Claremont Graduate University to USC.

The move to USC's School of Policy, Planning and Development puts the institute closer to a highly urbanized Latino population at a major research university, said Harry Pachon, president of the institute.

"USC's window to the east side is going to be improved," he said. "And we will have some of the nation's top urban scholars working on issues that affect the Hispanic community."

The institute -- now researching such topics as Latino voter turnout, Internet use and farm worker health -- officially opens at USC in the fall. The School for Policy, Planning and Development combines USC's schools of public administration and urban planning.

The Rivera institute, the nation's oldest think tank for Latino issues, has been based at Claremont Graduate University since its inception in 1985.

The Claremont school's president, Steadman Upham, expressed regret over the institute's departure.

"They've been working on the transition for more than two years, so we knew it was coming," Upham said.

Ultimately, USC's offer, which included extra space, additional faculty and expanded resources, helped lure the institute away, Pachon said.

Both Pachon and Dan Mazmanian, dean of the USC school, said their common focus on urban policy made the collaboration a natural.

"I think this partnership allows both of us an opportunity to do better at what we think is important, in the heart of this urban laboratory called Los Angeles," Mazmanian said.

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