Supporting Historians’ Rights and Students’ Interests
The AHA’s advocacy in December 2021 included the ongoing battle over “divisive concepts” legislation and the continued urging of elected officials to fund Title VI education programs. The AHA also issued letters concerning the rights of historians in Poland and the staffing of the history department at Youngstown State University.
AHA Calls On Polish State to Uphold the Rights of Historians
On December 8, the AHA sent a letter to Polish president Andrzej Duda expressing “dismay and continued concern about events taking place in Poland related to the study of history and especially regarding historical research on World War II and the Holocaust.” The AHA originally wrote to President Duda in 2016 regarding the treatment of Polish historians, issued a statement in 2018, and wrote again in February 2021; this most recent letter comes as “scholars continue to be harassed, threatened with dismissal, or forced to resign.” The AHA called on Polish leaders “to protect the rights of historians and other scholars to conduct impartial research into history and to advance the search for historical accuracy in a still controversial, and often painful, past.”
AHA Signs On to Letter Urging US House Leadership to Reauthorize Title VI International Education Programs
On December 14, the AHA signed on to a letter by the Coalition for International Education “express[ing] our strong support” for the reauthorization of Title VI international education programs. “Whether it’s global health, environment, food production, cyber security, law enforcement, immigration and more, meeting our challenges increasingly relies on foreign language abilities, regional knowledge, cultural understanding, and experience abroad,” the letter stated. “As the most comprehensive and multifaceted federal program in international education, we believe HEA-Title VI is the federal government’s foundational vehicle to address this 21st-century human resource issue.”
AHA Sends Letter Opposing Oklahoma Bill That Would Limit Teaching of Race and Slavery in America
On December 23, the AHA sent a letter to members of the Oklahoma state legislature strongly opposing House Bill 2988, which would restrict the teaching of “certain concepts pertaining to America and slavery.” This “irresponsible legislation,” the AHA writes, would be “harmful to the youth of Oklahoma, leaving students ignorant of basic facts of American history and poorly prepared for the critical thinking and interpretive skills required for career and civic accomplishment.”
AHA Sends Letter Opposing Nonrenewal of History Department Faculty at Youngstown State University
On December 23, the AHA sent a letter to administrators at Youngstown State University strongly discouraging the university from “proceeding with the reported nonrenewal of two faculty members in the history program.” These nonrenewals, in addition to planned retirements, “would severely diminish the department’s ability to maintain appropriate pedagogical and research standards, and counteracts the university’s own recent assessment of the department’s health.”
Rebecca L. West is operations and communications assistant at the AHA. She tweets @rebeckawest.
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