Publication Date

April 28, 2021

Perspectives Section


Post Type


The AHA issued a record number of statements and letters in March, from protesting the elimination of tenure and violations of academic freedom to promoting the importance of the role of historians in policymaking and ensuring archival access to researchers.

AHA Signs onto ACLS Letter Urging Iowa Legislature to Vote against Bill Eliminating Tenure

On March 4, the AHA signed onto a letter sent by the American Council of Learned Societies to members of the Iowa legislature and Governor Kim Reynolds. The letter strongly encouraged lawmakers to oppose House File 496 and Senate File 41, “which would remove the status of tenure for professors and discontinue the practice at Iowa’s three public universities.”

AHA Expresses Concern over John Carroll University Policy Permitting Elimination of Tenure

On March 9, the AHA issued a letter to leaders of John Carroll University expressing “grave concern about the recent approval by [the] Board of Directors of a ‘budgetary hardship’ amendment to the university’s Faculty Handbook,” noting that “both faculty governance and the integrity of tenure seem to be hanging by a thread.” The AHA urged the board “to reconsider the threat to tenure protections” that the amendment represents.

AHA Wins Lawsuit Challenging ICE Records Disposition

On March 12, the AHA joined co-plaintiffs Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations in sharing the success of our lawsuit against the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) and US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The lawsuit challenged NARA’s approval of ICE’s records disposition, which would have authorized ICE to destroy several categories of records documenting mistreatment of immigrants detained in ICE custody.

AHA Expresses Support for the New Orleans City Council Street Renaming Commission

In a letter to the City Council of New Orleans on March 18, the AHA expressed enthusiastic support for the work of the New Orleans City Council Street Renaming Commission and its final report, “a remarkable document of collaborative historical research.” The letter praises the process undertaken by the Renaming Commission and its consultation with historians, including many members of the AHA. See pages 5 and 6 for the letter.

AHA Protests Imprisonment of Moroccan Historian

On March 18, the AHA sent a letter to King Mohamed VI and Prime Minister Saadeddine Othmani of Morocco protesting the imprisonment of Maâti Monjib, a historian at the University of Mohammed V in Rabat. Monjib was sentenced to a year in prison for charges that appeared to be “baseless, levied more in the interest of a political agenda than honest law enforcement,” and was on a hunger strike. Monjib was granted provisional release from prison on March 23.

AHA Issues Statement on Violence against Asians and Asian Americans

On March 22, the AHA issued a statement deploring the recent incidents of violence and harassment aimed at Asians and Asian Americans. “This hostility against particular groups because of their ethnic origins—expressed via cultural stereotypes, scapegoating, physical aggression, and bloodshed—has deep roots in our nation’s past,” the AHA writes. “The murder in Atlanta of eight people on March 16, including six women of Asian descent, suggests that we have not transcended this history.” See pages 7 and 8 for the full statement.

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Dana Schaffer
Dana Schaffer

American Historical Association