Published: April 15, 2021

3:00 pm - 4:30 pm

You are invited to a panel focused on the history of the Auraria campus. The event features displaced Aurarians and community activists telling their stories followed by a discussion with community members, student leaders, and Auraria faculty and staff on how to use the campus’s history to plan for the future. The University of Colorado Denver, Metropolitan State University, and the Community College of Denver will be putting on this event in celebration of Cinco de Mayo. It will feature CU Denver's own Public History MA students as discussion leaders. 

Here is the list of panelists:

1.      Jamie Torres: Councilwoman, District 3, utilized displaced Aurarian scholarship.

2.      Ean Thomas Tafoya:  Metro State grad, local affairs activist, ran for city council, and Historic Denver board member.

3.      Virginia Castro: Auraria Historical Advocacy Council member and community activist. She has been actively involved shaping Auraria’s relationship to community members since the campus’s founding. 

4.      Frances Torres:  Auraria Historical Advocacy Council member and displaced Aurarian. Her family was a mainstay in the neighborhood and her father was referred to as “Mayor of 9th.” 

Additional confirmed participants include Anthony Garcia, Judy Montero, Brian Page, Dan Paulien, Ivy Steele, and CCD, CU Denver, and MSU students as moderators.

The planners hope the panel will bring to life the complex histories of the campus while also seeking solutions to political tensions that remain between campus institutions and displaced Aurarians. The panel and discussions increase awareness about how institutionalized discrimination created the conditions to build Auraria Campus and the legacies of those decisions. While participants may be concerned about contemporary issues of gentrification and displacement, the event highlights how these issues are not new, but rather ongoing social processes in Denver.

Planning for this project has been headed by Community College of Denver professor Mary Ann Blitt, MSU Denver lecturer Sara Jackson Shumate, CU Denver professors Carrie Makarewicz and Rachel Gross, and AHEC Sustainability Manager Jackie Slocumbe. 

Any questions? Email Professor Gross at