Dear President Robbins:
We are writing to you as members of the organization Professors of Color, University of Arizona--along with our colleagues--to express our solidarity with, and concern for, our students. We are extremely troubled by the University of Arizona’s draconian response to the peaceful protest on the UA campus on Tuesday, March 19, 2019. In particular, we are writing in support of the two undergraduate students who have been singled out and charged by the UAPD with interference of the peaceful conduct of an educational institution, trespassing, and intimidation. As you know, these students were exercising their First Amendment right to free speech upon seeing the presence of armed and uniformed Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents in The Modern Languages building.
We are sure that you will agree that the first priority of our academic institution is the safety of our students. This means that we should must ensure that our learning environment does not further traumatize or disrupt the emotional, physical, psychological and holistic well-being of our students. We want to ensure the safety of all students and promote an academic environment where each and every student can be fully engaged and feel supported by all faculty members. President Robbins, in your letter to the University Community dated March 29, 2019, you wrote that the student protest was “a dramatic departure from our expectations of respectful behavior and support of free speech on this campus.” You made no mention of the Criminal Justice Association putting the safety of undocumented students, staff, and faculty at risk by inviting armed and uniformed CBP agents on campus. There was no mention of the death threats the students are now receiving.
We ask that you, in your role as President, end the investigations and harassment of the students by demanding that UAPD Chief, Brian Seastone, drop the charges against them. We also implore you to ask the the Dean of Students to support rather than investigate the two students. Rather than looking into potential violations of the University’s Student Code of Conduct, the Dean of Students should be protecting these two students by investigating the death threats against them and by taking steps to prioritize their safety and ability to continue their studies.
The last thing we need on campus is for students, staff, faculty, employees, parents, or visitors to feel unsafe on their own campus, and now their safety is in further jeopardy, with the Chávez Building being evacuated due to death threats. These threats are targeting Mexican American Studies faculty in the context of biased coverage of this incident across far-right extremist media.
We call for an investigation into the multiple death threats directed at one of the students being investigated, as well as faculty, staff, and students affiliated with Mexican American Studies.
This same community has been subjected to similar death threats in the recent past. Investigation into these death threats should be the number one priority of this Administration, rather than the investigation of the exercise of nonviolent free speech. We believe that an immediate UA investigation into the death threats is in order and further actions provoking such behavior, including the return of Border Patrol to campus, should be immediately halted in the interests of safety.
We call for immediate creation of policy that will regulate the presence of CBP on campus.
At the heart of this matter is not a struggle over free speech; instead we have an administrative and policy failure on the part of your leadership team to properly regulate the presence of uniformed and armed CBP on campus. You have the opportunity to fast-track sensible policies that will allow instructors and student groups to freely and robustly interact with CBP while at the same time protecting students who are vulnerable to CBP detention. For example, instructors and student groups that want to invite CBP on campus can avail themselves of the various remote conferencing technologies that the University of Arizona provides. Remote conferencing technologies create ample opportunity for all community member to share their views with our students.
Rather than its current emphasis on investigating and criminalizing free speech, the UAPD and administration's highest priority should be an immediate UA response to the death threats and the impact that the Border Patrol on campus has on many of our students, staff, and employees.
Nolan L. CabreraAda Wilkinson-LeeDesiree VegaRoberto RodriguezPaloma BeamerNegar KatiraiMichelle TellezZ NicolazzoLillian GormanMaurice R. MagañaRussell ToomeyJennifer A. EliRegina Deil-AmenJill KoyamaJulian KunnieJavier DuranRyan ShinAditya AdiredjaDev K. Bos Stephanie TroutmanTanisha Price-JohnsonSandra SotoCarol BrochinJulio CammarotaKristine A HuskeyBryan CarterRaul C. Gonzalez Alberto ArenasMary Carol CombsGary Rhoades Gurtina BeslaJameson D. LopezDaniel E. MartinezErika PérezSergio PuigFrancesca López Jina YoonMax StrassfeldKevin Lawrence Henry, Jr. Abraham AcostaKacey C. ErnstYuri MakinSusan StrykerJenny LeeTamara CarterEva HaywardMichael L. Sulkowski Karina SalazarDenis M. ProvencherFarid MatukValerie ShirleyMaha NassarMelissa DelgadoGabriella Cazares-KellyKatharine ZeidersMatti MorzfeldAdela C. LiconaJeremy GarciaIliana ReyesMaritza Cardenas Leah DuránSonia ColinaAnn Shivers-McNairChelsea FarrarJamie A. LeeCristina D. RamirezMarcy WoodJennifer PetersEric PlemonsShirin Antia Monica J. CasperAnna CooperEithne LuibheidDavid GramlingTC TolbertAndy SilvermanBeverly SeckingerElaine RomeroDev K. BoseJoela JacobsAlejandra Zapien-HidalgoJennifer NicholsLarissa NezEithne LuibheidSheri BaumanErin TurnerClaudia González MercadoLilliana Patricia SaldañaAlex LynchDanitza Y GaunaTammy YiDeMarcus A. JenkinsStephanie Carroll RainieAdrianna GonzalezRagini Tharoor SrinivasanAlicia Schmidt CamachoJessica RodriguezDjango ParisSonia GonzálezBelin TsinnajinnieLaurie WalkerCriss SalinasMegan CarneySusana MuñozKevin BrownPedro NavaPeter BehrooziNoel HennesseyS.E. BlochEric MurilloLinda GreenAnna Ochoa O'LearyThomas KlemmEric SwedlundJosefina CarmonaHugo RiveraL. Penny RosenblumDan MarroneSara P. ChavarriaMarcela Vasquez-LeonDavid GarciaChristy BustillosCorey KnoxRene DenizJennifer Roth-GordonRaquel Rubio-GoldsmithAlonso MinjarezHeidi Legg BurrossJennifer L. CroissantElizabeth JaegerJavier OsorioEmilio R. 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