Urgent Action: Arizona Moves to Dismantle Academic Freedom And Historic Organizations for Students of Color

You’re here. Adopt American values . . . If you want a different culture, then fine, go back to that culture . . .

– State Rep. John “reverse discrimination is real” Kavanagh

The Arizona Senate Appropriations Committee passed an amendment to SB1108 – a Homeland Security Bill – that radically decreases the academic freedom of professors and challenges the right to assembly of students of color.

  • the amendment prohibits students at the state’s public schools, universities, and community colleges from organizing groups based on race. This would put an end to historic groups like MEChA that originated the move toward getting Latin@s into higher education. It would also impact all student of color organizations preventing what some see as a core link in mentoring and retention of students of color on college campuses. update: read this piece by See Light about why these organizations are particularly important in Arizona.
  • It also withholds funding from schools that “denigrate American values and the teachings of Western civilization” including course material that questions capitalism (including globalization) and deemed anti-religion (most likely seen as anti-Christian in the legislators minds). Curriculum – course materials, syllabi, etc. would have to be submitted for review and funds with held from anyone who did not pass.
  • Any school sponsored activities must also pass the denigration test leaving events open to criticism and sanction on the basis of speculation or unfounded complaint

Read full text of amendment here.

State Rep. Russell K. Pearce, introduced the bill primarily to stop what he sees as “reverse-discrimination” and potential . . . He actually called MECha a racist organization when its primary goals have always been to promote Latin@ scholarship and equal access to higher education fro Latin@s.

It is feared that the bill also makes room to dismantle Chican@ Studies, Mexican American Studies, and Latin@ Studies which may have been targeted by the same rep in the past. The proscription on academic freedom could impact ANY ethnic studies program however, meaning all of them are at risk.

PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION to strike down this amendment. (thanks to sin verguenza for sending me the petition link)

7 thoughts on “Urgent Action: Arizona Moves to Dismantle Academic Freedom And Historic Organizations for Students of Color

  1. Thanks for the alert, profbw. I was just talking about this with some friends last weekend. We can’t believe it actually made it out of committee. I’ve sent this information on to some colleagues.

  2. hi Sina. I wish I was shocked by I just saw an in-depth report on why immigrants are all moving out of Arizona and the impact on the Latin@ community that has been there for generations. grrr . . .

  3. This is unbelievable! Also, isn’t Latino technically not a “race”? Not that it matters necessarily, but when they’re getting all “legalistic” it seems like it might matter…

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