In 1968, there were nine Chicana/os at the University of Colorado at Boulder. They realized injustices within the University institution that accommodated their mere presence. In response to these injustices, Chicana/os at CU created the United Mexican American Student (UMAS) organization. The sole mission of UMAS was to recruit Chicana/os excluded from the realms of higher education.
In the summer of 1968, the founders of UMAS recruited 23 Chicana/os to CU. From their deep dedication and hard work, the enrollment of not only Chicana/os, but all students of color excelled beyond the goals of the administration.
Through the UMAS-EOP (Equal Opportunity Program), Chicana/os reached out to their gente across class and geographical boundaries. The Migrant Action Program (MAP) and CAMP recruited migrant farm workers and their families into the educational system that had excluded them. The MACHO program recruited ex-convicts from the pintas in Colorado. These programs were the beginning of the struggle that challenged the ethnocentric system by which we are still shackled today.
In the summer of 1972, UMAS-EOP had recruited 950 Chicanas and Chicanos to CU, an accomplishment never to be achieved again. Instead of commemorating the UMAS-EOP directors for their accomplishments, the University fired them and appointed two new directors with motives of driving UMAS to the ground. Chicana/o enrollment dropped over 33% in one year, which is exactly what the administration wanted.
In the fall of 1973, UMAS students requested the resignation of the newly appointed directors, but were ignored. During midterms of this semester, Chicana/o students had not received any financial aid. The spring semester of 1974 was business as usual, midterms without books. This time UMAS students decided that action must be taken to insure their demands. UMAS students took over what was called "Temporary Building #1." They demanded the resignation of Joe Franco and Paul Acosta, the newly appointed directors. During the 18 day occupation of TB 1, six Chicana/o activists were slain. On May 27th, 1974, Neva Romero, Una Jaakola, and Reyes Martinez were killed at Chautauqua Park. Less than 48 hours later, on May 29th at 11:38 p.m., Heriberto Teran, Francisco Dougherty, and Florencio Granados were killed in similar fashion, a car bombing at 28th and Canyon. The Boulder Police Department, CUPD, FBI, and ATF determined that the bombings were accidental. The media, of course, portrayed that allegation as true. These Chicana/o martyrs, known as "Los Seis de Boulder," remain in the hearts and minds of our members.
Since then, UMAS has remained a strong entity on the Boulder campus. And although other chapters no longer exist, UMAS continues the strong legacy that was once, the forefront organization in Boulder representing ALL communities of color and minority students.