Exclusion Groups

This is America! Equality! Liberty! Democracy!

Arizona has a bill S.B. 1108 to legislate the forbidding of student groups who are against the principles of America. Specifically democracy, capitalism, pluralism, and religious tolerance must be upheld by all.

A founding principle of the United States was dissent. Disagreeing with King George III, British Parliament, and mercantile oppression led to the colonies banding together and seceding. In Georgia, “The South will rise again” refers to states disagreeing with moves in Washington DC and electing to form their own country rather than continue to be oppressed.

The First Amendment to the US Constitution establishes the right to free speech. Student groups in K-12 and higher education allow students to talk in private, refine the message into a few coherent ideas, and then present that message in public. Restricting such groups to topics government deems acceptable sounds contrary to American values to me.

This bill came to my attention because of an amendment to the bill which would prohibit student groups based around race. The member of the committee wants schools to return to “melting pot” approaches for the student experience. Every student group I’ve seen based on race has a focus of helping minority students better adapt to operate within the culture of America. So banning the groups bans people doing the “melting pot” approach work.

“This bill basically says, ‘You’re here. Adopt American values,’ ” said Kavanagh, a Fountain Hills Republican. “If you want a different culture, then fine, go back to that culture.” Plan targets anti-Western lessons

Is the culture reflecting the values of the Founding Fathers? If so, then it may get a significant boom in population….

1 comment

  1. Help fight Ariz. bill to ban ethnic student groups like MEChA, Black Business Students Assoc.

    Multiculturalism is a basic American concept. We value the beliefs, traditions, customs, arts, history and folklore of the diverse cultures reflected throughout our nation. All this is being put at risk in Arizona, where last week the Appropriations Committee passed an amendment to a routine homeland security bill, SB 1108 that would prohibit students at the state’s public universities and community colleges from organizing groups based on race (ie: groups such as MEChA, the Black Business Students Association, Native Americans United, etc.)

    Please take action today. This bill could reach the Arizona House floor as early as this week. Go to: http://www.ufwaction.org/campaign/sb1108

    According to newspaper reports, Rep. John Kavanagh, (R-Scottsdale), a supporter of the measure called these campus organizations, “‘self-defeating’ and ‘self-destructive’ for students.”

    Self-defeating? Multiculturalism doesn’t limit students. It gives them pride in who they are and enhances their being fuller people by fostering the concept of America being the land of opportunity. As Cesar Chavez said, “Preservation of one’s culture doesn’t mean contempt for others’.”

    These student groups are like any other school club or fraternity. They bring students together so they can achieve academic success. They offer a place to meet, make friends and support one another. Their goal is to help students succeed. For example, the members of the University of Arizona’s MEChA chapter visit high schools to encourage students to attend college. They hold events and fundraisers to spread the message that education is the key to success.

    The bill goes one step further. It also would ban public schools or colleges from including race-based classes or school sponsored activities. Officially the language says it would ban any activity “deemed contradictory to the values of American democracy or Western civilization.” However, the language is so broad, who knows what could be prohibited? Certainly Chicano studies, African-American studies & other ethnic studies programs would be put at risk.

    Studies show that students who learn about their race and culture have a lower drop-out rate. In truth, if this bill passes it could cause a huge set back in our educational system.

    Please take immediate action. If you live in Arizona, e-mail your representatives immediately as well as the Speaker of the House. If you live outside Arizona, please e-mail the Arizona Speaker of the House today and let him know the eyes of the nation are on Arizona.

    Take Action at: http://www.ufwaction.org/campaign/sb1108

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