Effective as of January 1, 2011, the ethnic studies ban in Arizona has ripple effects within and beyond the borders of Arizona.
Many site the ban, along with the series of anti-immigration legislation in Arizona, as a contributing factor to the hostile environment in the state.
The question I pose today is, “What are the ramifications of the ethnic studies ban in Arizona?”
This question brings up many other questions:
1. What is the purpose of relevant education?
2. What would our world be like without relevant education?
3. What are the arguments for the ethnic studies ban in Arizona? What are the arguments against it?
4. What are the intentions behind the ethnic studies ban in Arizona?
I received an email from my former Asian American Studies Professor, Professor Omatsu, just yesterday about some of the impacts of the combined forces of Arizona’s ban on ethnic studies, the budget cuts, and the hostility toward immigrant communities.
Below is the article enclosed in the email:
The Ban Plays On: Two California Universities Ax Ethnic Studies
by Adriel Luis January 18, 2011
Looks like California’s celebration of Martin Luther King Day took a turn for the… Arizonian. This month students and faculties from two California campuses are fighting the demolition of their ethnic studies programs: Asian American Studies and Cal State Los Angeles and American Studies at the University of California Santa Cruz.
Late last year Dean James Henderson at CSULA offered students and faculty a grim holiday gift – notification that he had decided to suspend Asian American Studies, indefinitely. To date, the only explanation Henderson has offered is lack of faculty, student, and community support – which he announced at a November 29 meeting to a roomful of concerned faculty, students, and community members. Since then, a grassroots movement in support of retaining the program has been swelling both on and off campus (check out Immigrant Rights blogger Gabriel Garcia’s post on it).
CSULA is located in the San Gabriel Valley, which holds one of the largest Chinese populations in the country. Asian American Studies – which was just established in 2005 – failed in the Dean’s eyes to meet enrollment numbers. However, the decision of a Dean to dismantle the program without prior discussion with students and faculty is a threat to more than just one department on one campus.
“Cutting AAAS is an attack on the university’s diversity and threatens the already tenuous support of the campus’ Chicano, Latin American, and Pan African Studies programs as well,” explains a grassroots website launched in opposition to the suspension. In light of Arizona’s recent ethnic studies ban, CSULA’s decision is another threat toward the demolition of valuable ethnic studies programs throughout the country – and this isn’t just a theory.
Just last week, UCSC announced its suspension of American Studies, citing budget restraints. As the only UC without an ethnic studies program, American Studies was the only major that offered somewhat of a substitute – since Community Studies was suspended last year. On Monday students and faculty met to express disappointment that, like CSULA’s suspension, the decision had been made without student consent.
This issue hits home for me personally – I graduated from UC Davis with a minor in Asian American Studies. Throughout my years in college, the faculty and staff at the department were vital not only in guiding me academically, but also in catalyzing in my involvement in social progress – which leads me to Change.org today.
Contrary to the claims that led to Arizona’s ban, ethnic studies is not about promoting anti-Americanism or inflammatory hatred. Rather, it’s a vital platform for students to explore issues and histories that are often overlooked in traditional courses. Please take a moment to sign both petitions by copying and pasting these two web addresses http://www.change.org/petitions/view/save_asian_american_studies_at_cal_state_los_angeles and http://www.change.org/petitions/view/save_american_studies_at_the_university_of_california_santa_cruz.
Winning this and similar campaigns depends on our ability to quickly call on thousands of supportive folks like you. After signing the petition below, please click http://www.facebook.com/humanrights.change.org?v=app_6009294086 to help us win!
Post Submitted By: Layhannara Tep