First Arizona introduced the anti-immigrant law SB1070 then the Mexican-American studies program was banned at Tucson Unified School District and now Mexican-studies programs at the university level might be next.
InsideHigher ED is reporting John Huppenthal, a state official who spearheaded the attack on the Tucson program appears to have a new target: the department of Mexican-American studies at the university and other such college-level programs in the state.
John Huppenthal, the superintendent of public instruction in the state and a member of the Arizona Board of Regents, told FOX News Latino last month that the university produced teachers who then taught in programs such as the Tucson school district, where, he said, the curriculum teaches students to hate Anglos. “I think that’s where this toxic thing starts from, the universities,” Huppenthal told Fox News Latino. “To me, the pervasive problem was the lack of balance going on in these classes.”
Huppenthal, who did not respond to requests for an interview, is a controversial figure in Arizona, and his latest comments have set off another firestorm and added fresh fuel to a debate in the state about how ethnic studies should be taught in the classroom. Faculty members at the university see his comments as an escalation of the battle that led to the closing of the Tcson program.
Antonio Estrada, who heads the department of Mexican-American studies at the University of Arizona, declined to comment. “Mr. Huppenthal is a member of ABOR [the Arizona Board of Regents] and it would be inappropriate to discuss these issues in the press before they have had a chance to be discussed within the University of Arizona community, beginning with the president,” Estrada said in an e-mail.
Sarah Harper, a spokeswoman for the Arizona Board of Regents, told InsideHigher Ed the issue had not been formally brought before the board but Mexican-American studies faculty members at the University of Arizona are say they’re concerned.
“This is Arizona,” said one longtime faculty-member. “And I firmly believe that they want to eliminate a world view, from the schools all the way to the university level.” Another professor said that the attack had created “an ecology of fear” in the department.
Mexican-American studies at the University of Arizona began in 1968.