The Arkansas Department of Higher Education (ADHE) has requested UCA to turn over curriculums that cover either The 1619 Project or Critical Race Theory.
During a budget hearing on Oct. 27, the ADHE was asked to request these documents from universities.
Sen. Gary Stubblefield directed the ADHE to request these documents.
When asked for a reason behind the inquiry, Sen. Stubblefield replied, “I would asked you to research these two issues and let me know if you find anything divisive within their teachings. Thanks.”
Sen. Stubblefield didn’t respond to the Echo’s follow-up email asking for further explanation and clarity of his response.
Provost Patricia Poulter in an email to the faculty explained how UCA would handle this request, “We all recognize that although requesting information about what is taught is not in itself a violation of academic freedom, many individuals are concerned about motive and what such a request may bode for the future. To these concerns, I can only say that UCA is committed to the principles of Academic Freedom as articulated by the AAUP, reiterated in our UCA Faculty Handbook (3.§!.C: Academic Freedom,) and Board Policy 406…,” Poulter said.
In response to the inquiry, the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) chapter at UCA met to discuss this inquiry.
At the meeting, Lynn Burley, president of the chapter and interim chair and professor of linguistics, shared her concern that the request could possibly hurt funding. Associate Professor of Psychology Mike Scoles shared he was bothered when the psychology department was asked for access to their syllabi. Elson Bihm, psychology professor, shared that he sees the inquiry as a possible academic freedom issue.
Questions from the email the ADHE sent to universities:
1. Does your campus cover the topics of either The 1619 Project or Critical Race Theory?
-- both? Or one only? If one, then which______________
--Approximately how many class hours are devoted to the topic?
Again, for perspective,
2. Approximately how many class hours are taught during a normal semester on your campus?