We support the petition of 136 University of Arizona faculty and academic professionals, speaking for themselves and not on behalf of the university with which they are affiliated, who:
Support the academic freedom and responsibility of faculty in a public, land grant university to engage schools with their expertise;
Support the importance of school, college, and university curriculum that explores a full range of literature and fine arts reflecting the distinctive experience and heritage of particular peoples;
Support the legitimacy and value of the Mexican American Studies (MAS) curriculum that has been developed for and taught in TUSD;
Support the widely acknowledged empirical reality in various fields of social science that there are ongoing structural patterns and individual acts of discrimination that create particular obstacles for some groups of people;
Celebrate the engagement of TUSD high school students actively taking an interest in and expressing their preferences about the curriculum they are taught, an engagement that is an important part of their education in a democracy;
Reject the premise of HB2281 that knowledge about inequality, racism, sexism, and other forms of discrimination promotes “the overthrow of the United States government,” “resentment toward a race or class of people,” is “designed primarily for pupils of a particular ethnic group,” or that it “advocate[s] ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals.”
Reject the premise of HB 2281 that such knowledge fosters a belief that some groups of students cannot succeed; on the contrary, enrollment in TUSD’s Mexican American Studies program has lowered dropout rates, increased graduation rates, and increased the proportion of students who go on to college;
Reject the claim of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction that the University of Arizona Mexican American Studies department faculty have had a toxic effect on TUSD teachers, curriculum, and students;
Decry the seizing of books and educational materials from students in the classroom, and reiterate the central value of freedom of information and free exploration of ideas, concepts, and materials in the public spaces of universities, colleges, and schools, which we see as basic principles of a democratic society;
We call on the State Superintendent of Public Instruction and the Arizona state legislature to cease and desist with their attacks on university faculty, MAS curriculum, and the freedom of students and teachers to explore the history and culture of ethnic and cultural communities of the United States, and the socio-political issues that have affected them.
We call on TUSD to reinstate the MAS curriculum.