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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


ASUA opposes ethnic studies law

Robert Alcaraz
Robert Alcaraz/Arizona Daily Wildcat Bryan Ponton, member of ASUA, talks to the ASUA board on Wednesday, March 23, 2011. Ponton informed the board on important upcoming events.

ASUA joined the list of groups to oppose the state Legislature’s law banning ethnic studies at its Wednesday meeting.

The Associated Students of the University of Arizona passed a statement of opposition to the law, formerly House Bill 2281, and efforts to ban ethnic studies curriculum.

An unnamed UA coalition wrote the resolution against the law, which passed on May 11.

The Tucson Unified School District is being audited to see if its ethnic studies courses are in compliance with the law. If the audit finds the courses are not in compliance TUSD faces a 10 percent budget cut.

Sen. Dominick San Angelo said that, as someone who attended a TUSD school for all of his pre-collegiate education, he knows TUSD can use all the money they can get.

“”I think that a 10 percent cut would be absolutely detrimental for what I see, for lack of a better word, a stupid reason,”” San Angelo said.

Michael Weingartner, a member of the coalition and a sophomore majoring in creative writing and molecular and cellular biology, said that because the factors that qualify a course can also be used to disqualify it, the Arizona Department of Education and superintendent of public instruction are able to cut courses as they see fit.

A course is considered not in compliance if it promotes the overthrow of the government or resentment toward a race or class of people, is designed for a specific group of students or advocates solidarity instead of treatment of students as individuals.

The law states that it does not affect courses that include the history of an ethnic group that are open to all students, courses that deal with controversial aspects of history, that teach about the Holocaust or other genocides, or the history of oppression of a particular ethnic group.

Attorney General Tom Horne helped write the law and has been attempting to end the TUSD ethnic studies program since 2006.

Francisco Lara García, a member of the coalition and a senior majoring in political science and Latin American studies, noted that if the texts used in the TUSD ethnic studies program are considered dangerous then the UA’s ethnic studies courses are at also risk.

“”(Horne’s) clearly going to target the university next because we’re doing the exact same thing,”” Lara García said.

Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal has previously stated his belief that the ethnic studies ban should be extended to universities as well, though the bill only applies to elementary and secondary public schools.

ASUA also passed a statement of opposition against increased state budget cuts in higher education.

San Angelo, who wrote the statement of opposition against the budget cuts, said that both statements of opposition were “”a good reminder on how important it is to vote on intelligent and effective leaders.””


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