Press Release: Report Finds Arizona Universities Ignore Board of Regents' Intent, Grow DEI Bureaucracy

National Association of Scholars

New York, NY; May 26, 2022 – The National Association of Scholars (NAS) has released a new case study examining how universities in Arizona teach American civics and history. This first case study is part of a series of reports titled Educating for Citizenship to be released over the next month. The Arizona study finds that, despite efforts by the Arizona Board of Regents, Arizona’s universities provide very little formal training in American history and civics. Instead, students in Arizona’s universities are likely to learn American history indirectly, through efforts that fall under the broad umbrella of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). NAS recommends substantial reform to Arizona's governance of its public university system.

“Arizona’s public colleges and universities have a civic duty to follow the state’s general education policy set by elected officials,” said John Sailer, the case study’s author. “The Grand Canyon State is a perfect study of how college administrators obfuscate clear guidelines to achieve their own political goals, such as perpetuating the ideology and bureaucracy of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Instead of ensuring a robust civic education, Arizona’s universities give priority to an ever-growing number of classes rooted in critical theory.”

How is civics taught in higher education? How do our universities seek to fulfill their civic mission? With these questions in mind, the NAS is examining three states—Arizona, Texas, and Utah. In the process of seeking answers, we examine the political and legal background for civics instruction in public higher education, providing recommendations for policymakers and university administrators alike.

Sailer continued, “Public universities exist to shape citizens and leaders, but Arizona’s universities seem to equate that purpose with a call for a more ideologically-charged education. The people of Arizona deserve better, and its lawmakers should take note.”

NAS recommends reform of the Arizona Board of Regents so that it may engage in closer oversight of the public universities; state laws to increase transparency and accountability in public higher education, to strengthen civics requirements, and to prevent universities from substituting DEI ideology for civics education; and reforms by university presidents to restore transparency, accountability, and a civic mission to their institutions.

NAS is a network of scholars and citizens united by a commitment to academic freedom, disinterested scholarship, and excellence in American higher education. Membership in NAS is open to all who share a commitment to these broad principles. NAS publishes a journal and has state and regional affiliates. Visit NAS at www.nas.org.

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If you would like more information contact Chance Layton at [email protected]


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