UofL’s Faculty Senate gavel was ceremoniously passed onto Enid Trucios-Haynes Sept. 7 by her predecessor, Pamela Feldhoff. Trucios-Haynes joined the faculty at the Brandeis School of Law in 1993 and is a nationally-recognized scholar in immigration law.
At the law school, Trucios-Haynes directs an immigration placement which offers opportunities for students and community volunteers to visit to the Boone County Jail, where immigration detainees are held in the custody of the ICE bureau of the Department of Homeland Security.
Additionally, Trucios-Haynes is currently serving as interim director of the Muhammad Ali Institute for Peace and Justice and is co-founder and co-director of the Brandeis Human Rights Advocacy Program, which was established in spring 2014 to focus on immigrant, noncitizen and refugee rights.
In her “spare” time, Trucios-Haynes serves on the Metro Louisville Ethics Commission by appointment and is the secretary of the board of the Hispanic-Latino Coalition of Louisville. She also serves on ACLU of Kentucky boards.
Trucios-Haynes managed to find some time to talk to UofL News about her objectives as Faculty Senate chair, what motivates her to be heavily involved in the community, and some of her favorite things about Louisville.
UofL News: How long have you been involved in Faculty Senate and why did you join?
Trucios-Haynes: I have been a member since 2000. I joined because I was interested in university-wide and faculty welfare issues beyond the law school. I became a member of the executive committee a few years later and have served on that committee every semester except when I was on sabbatical. I was chair of the Redbook committee before I was elected vice chair, and I served on the ad-hoc committee that developed the revised faculty grievance policy in 2010.
UofL News: What compelled you to seek out the chairmanship?
Trucios-Haynes: I have always been interested in faculty well-being since coming to University of Louisville in 1993. Faculty, staff and students are essential in informing and shaping the long-term policy of any university. This makes universities a unique space in many respects. I had been in private law practice for many years and as a junior and senior associate before I became a faculty member. In those positions I did not have a voice in setting policy.
UofL News: How do you balance all of the work you do on campus and in the community?
Trucios-Haynes: One thing that helps me is to remind myself that I cannot control everything although, like so many of us, I often wish I could. I also live by the principle of doing the hard things first which helps me to make sure that I am focusing on what needs my attention the most at any given time.
UofL News: How do you spend any free time you have?
Trucios-Haynes: I like to be outdoors – hiking, walking, cycling – whenever I can. I enjoy cycling and try to get out to the Parklands whenever possible. When I can’t, I go to spinning classes to get a good workout. I also like yoga and cooking.
UofL News: What is your favorite thing about UofL?
Trucios-Haynes: The people and its urban-metropolitan focus. Working with students is energizing to me, and their passion makes me want to do the best I can to engage them. I am inspired by the faculty who care deeply about this university and its mission. Working at the Muhammad Ali Institute for Peace and Justice has helped me to meet so many faculty members who share my interests and who are passionate about racial and social justice issues. UofL is a special place because of all of the people who work here who are so friendly and always willing to help each other.
UofL News: Where do you entertain guests from out of town?
Trucios-Haynes: One of my favorite places to take guests is Mammoth Cave. And, of course, the many great restaurants we have in Louisville now.
UofL News: What is your favorite restaurant?
Trucios-Haynes: My favorite restaurant is a place where I can eat comfort food – Havana Rumba. The food is very similar to the Puerto Rican food I grew up eating, especially the “platanos” (sweet plantains).
UofL News: What motivates you to teach law?
Trucios-Haynes: It is a privilege to teach. I hope that I help students think about the role of law in shaping our institutions in society and how policy is shaped by the advocacy of lawyers. I do this in my classes and with the law school’s Human Rights Advocacy Program. This is also our focus in the Ali Scholars Program of the Muhammad Ali Institute for Peace & Justice.
UofL News: If you could have lunch with any one person, living or dead, who would it be?
Trucios-Haynes: I would like to have lunch with Mary McLeod Bethune. I read a biography about her when I was very young (9 years old) that shaped my ideas about myself in the world as a person of color, the difference a person can make in the world, and how education and dedicated service to one’s community can make a difference. She was an educator, civil rights activist, and worked on racial justice issues with several presidential administrations.
UofL News: What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Trucios-Haynes: I think one of the most important lessons I have learned was about leadership. I believe it is better to take on difficult issues directly and not worry about trying to shape the discussion. One piece of very helpful advice someone shared with me nearly 20 years ago was that if you want to be healthy and exercise regularly, you need to schedule it into your life.
UofL News: What do you hope to accomplish in your new role as Faculty Senate chair?
Trucios-Haynes: My goal is to ensure that the principles of shared governance are fully realized at the University of Louisville. Shared governance must include diversity and inclusion in all areas of the University’s operations in order to ensure the widest possible participation in decision-making. I am committed to our shared values of transparency and open communication. I will work to ensure there are mechanisms for input before decisions are made on matters that affect faculty welfare or have a large-scale impact on university constituencies. All of us want what is best for University of Louisville and the Faculty Senate is integral to building a 21st Century University.