Educators Ask Federal Court to Declare Arizona's Ban on Ethnic Studies Unconstitutional

Mar 07, 2012, 20:14 ET from Vince Rabago from ,National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies



TUCSON, Ariz., March 7, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, the National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies (NACCS) and 26 education and civil rights organizations filed an Amicus Curiae "Friend of the Court" brief in U.S. District Court in Tucson, seeking to declare Arizona's ban on Mexican American Studies unconstitutional.

Devon Pena, NACCS Past Chair, said: "We support the Mexican American Studies Program in the Tucson Unified School District and are united in opposition to academic discrimination against Mexican American and Ethnic Studies. This respected field of study has been unjustly targeted and demonized by Arizona authorities, which is strangling the pursuit of a comprehensive education and silencing the perspective of Mexican Americans and their cultural background. This law has resulted in censorship of important books and eliminated a program with proven academic success for traditionally neglected students." 

"Arizona's discrimination against Mexican American and Ethnic Studies is unconstitutional," said Vince Rabago, a  lawyer representing the organizations. "The State is arguing that 'State's rights' allow them to restrict curriculum in a discriminatory manner against Mexican Americans.  This is comparable to the days after desegregation where states tried to restrict efforts to reach equality.  These organizations from across the country support the bedrock principles of Equal Protection and the First Amendment in an academic context," said Rabago.

The brief was filed in Acosta v. Huppenthal, CV-10-623-TUC- AWT, a case in which students are challenging the law. The State was opposed to NACCS filing the Amicus brief.

Established in 1972, NACCS is the nation's oldest and most prominent academic and scholarly organization dedicated to Chicana/o Studies, known as Mexican American Studies, an important subfield in the broader field of Ethnic Studies. 

The national and regional organizations supporting NACCS represent thousands of members who share a commitment to promoting rigorous social scientific and humanities research, scholarship, and teaching of Mexican American, Chicana/o, and Ethnic Studies in our nation's colleges, universities, and public schools.

For a copy of the brief and a complete listing of the other organizations that have joined in this filing, go to:

SOURCE Vince Rabago; National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies