Prescott, AZ (Vocus) October 1, 2010
Prescott College President Kristin Woolever took the helm as the College’s 14th president on July 1, in the midst of heated debate on Arizona State Senate Bill 1070 and HB 2281. Since then she has worked with the College’s leadership team in a transparent and inclusive process, including open forums and an online survey, to take the pulse of the campus and develop a response (see full statement below).
“The College is eager to engage these issues, and is uniquely prepared to address underlying forces that give rise to immigration woes,” she said. “As an institution whose motto is ‘For the Liberal Arts, the Environment, and Social Justice,’ Prescott College has a responsibility to engage these larger questions and address the economic and social justice complexities. It was clear from our internal survey that the majority of the Prescott College community feel that that SB 1070 is not the best solution.”
The statement notes the cultural and economic impact of immigration in the Southwest and legitimacy of and need for the security of our nation. While there is clearly injustice in the current immigration system and need for reform, “SB 1070 … fails that test and is the wrong strategy for regulating immigration in Arizona. Under the law, naturalized citizens, legal immigrants and citizens born in the US for whom there is reasonable suspicion that the person is unlawfully present in the United States would likely be subject to unequal treatment by law enforcement.” Considering Arizona’s population is more than 30 percent Latino, this legislation has the potential to stigmatize and violate the civil rights of millions of law-abiding citizens and residents, fueling bigotry and adverse psychological, economic and cultural impacts.
In addition, the statement calls HB 2281 “an inappropriate effort to regulate ethnic studies that may drive elimination of highly effective, culturally relevant and nationally recognized approaches to the teaching of U.S. history, politics and culture from Arizona public school curricula” and notes the necessity of multicultural education as preparation for living ethically in a globalizing world. Prescott College formally endorses the upcoming Ethnic Studies Week October 4 through 8 which is being celebrated by a coalition of Arizona educators.
Prescott College already addresses root issues of immigration in curriculum of both undergraduate and graduate programs as part of its social justice mission. While the College offers many opportunities annually for the public to engage in discussion and attend lectures and teach-ins on these issues, the College has stepped up opportunities for public education and dialogue with a series of Public Events beginning with Ethnic Studies Week.
Immigration and Ethnic Studies Events at Prescott College
Prescott College offers a resident undergraduate program at its main campus in Prescott, Ariz., as well as low-residency bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in which students complete their studies in their home communities with the help of faculty mentors. All programs emphasize student-directed, experience-based learning-by-doing, environmental and cultural awareness, and social justice. For more information please contact Mary Lin, M.Ed., Director of Marketing and Public Relations at 928-350-4503 or pr(at)prescott(dot)edu. More information is on the web at http://www.prescott.edu.
Dr. Woolever and other members of the College’s senior administration are available for interview and/or to contribute Op Ed pieces on immigration policy and the role of education in immigration reform.