Friday, May 13, 2011

Ethnic Studies Struggle Continues in Tucson

We're a little late here, but on April 26, students took over a Tucson school board meeting and chained themselves to the seats of the board members to prevent the meeting from going forward. They were protesting a resolution that would remove ethnic studies from the core curriculum of the schools in the Tucson Unified School District as a result of a bill passed by the anti-immigrant legislature at the state level (HB 2281). Despite differences in terms of the political context, there is a certain resonance with the restructuring happening at UC Berkeley, where the administration has decided to consolidate three departments -- Ethnic Studies, Gender and Women's Studies, and African American Studies -- as part of the austerity program "Operational Excellence." Then, on May 3, when students and allies returned to the follow-up board meeting, they found that had been effectively militarized with over 100 riot cops and a canine unit. Nevertheless, they were able to intervene effectively and shut down the meeting. The Arizona Daily Star reports that the school board decided that the vote would be delayed until a public forum could be held on the issue:
The TUSD Governing Board decided Tuesday night to delay making changes to the ethnic studies program until it holds a public forum on the controversial proposal.

Board President Mark Stegeman made the recommendation to hold off on the vote on his proposal to make some ethnic studies courses electives, capping a tumultuous four-hour meeting that included numerous interruptions, the removal of at least seven audience members and an armed police presence.

After the forum is held, Stegeman said he plans to bring the proposal back to the board. Details on when and where the forum will be were not announced.
Wonder why they're not saying when the forum will be...

(video via the Real News).

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