UA Mexican American Studies Press Conference Thursday, May 10

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Last week, we talked with Kim Dominguez from the Social Justice Education Project in the UA Mexican American Studies department about issues brewing in the department between SJEP and the MAS department head and other department faculty.

After the story was published, we did hear back from Dean John Paul Jones of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, regarding what issue the UA Administration has with SJEP and UNIDOS, the student-led group defending Tucson Unified School District's now dismantled MAS department.

Jones wrote us back, "As you know, some members of UNIDOS are enrolled TUSD students. We have asked only that meetings held on campus not conflict with the District's daily school schedule. No other restrictions on space have been issued by the administration."

We also heard back from other knowledgable about the department and its internal struggles, that asked not to be identified, after the story was published Jones asked to meet with MAS faculty on Monday, May 7. Faculty meetings in the MAS department, from what we understand, are a rare occurrence — beyond issues with the UA administration, there is conflict between faculty that forced the department to abandon faculty meetings for many months.

Tomorrow, Thursday, May 10, SJEP and UNIDOS are holding a press conference on the two-year anniversary of HB2281 at the UA Cesar E. Chavez Building, 3:30 p.m.

The press release, below the cut:

May 10th 2012 marks the two-year anniversary of when Governor Jan Brewer signed HB 2281 into law. This besieged community has since resiliently continued to pursue education, teach, organize and mobilize with and for students of color. In effort to comply with HB2281, Tucson Unified School District has banned the highly effective program, boxed and stored its books as well as curriculum materials, and fired teachers along with the director. State Superintendent John Huppenthal has publicly stated the University of Arizona’s Mexican American Studies is next. Here is where we, Social Justice Education Project (SJEP) and UNIDOS, again, find ourselves in the cross-hairs of Arizona’s anti-Latino politics, TUSD Superintendent John Pedicone and AZ John Huppenthal once again. TUSD hate has infiltrated our entire community, including the university, with communications to UA MAS Department Head demanding UA MAS discontinue any public displays of solidarity. Chican@s have been silenced in Tucson.

Mexican American and Raza studies, unlike other departments and academic areas of focus, were and continue to be in high demand from the Chican@ community. We are here today to ensure our university faculty and administration is aware of the historical background of this department and its community ties.

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