Student Complaints Prompt Arizona Lawmaker To Question Regents’ Role

AZ Board of Regents‏' tuition increase workshop in March 2017.

In the wake of reports of abuse of conservative students by professors at Arizona’s public universities, Arizona lawmakers are questioning the role of the Arizona Board of Regents. On Monday, Rep. Mark Finchem called for greater accountability and oversight of the Regents and their subsequent oversight of the activities of the three state universities.

Recent reports of professorial bullying to advance ideological agendas have given several members of the House to ask if taxpayer resources are being “properly respected and funding quality higher education.”

On Monday, the ADI reported on a meeting held last week by members of the American Association of University Professors at Northern Arizona University (NAU) to discuss their concerns related to a recent article about Assistant Professor Heather Martel and a student with a bible

The group met the day after Campus Reform reported on a recording of a faculty member asking a student prior to the start of Martel’s class to put his Bible away because the sight of a Bible made Martel uncomfortable.

Related article: NAU Professors Claim Student Recordings Are Part Of An Attack

“On April 3, I learned of Northern Arizona University (NAU) student Cailin Jeffers experience of professorial bullying through grade reduction related to the use of the word ‘mankind’ in an English composition paper. Since then many more students have stepped forward telling of rampant bullying on ideological grounds by other professors, and not just at NAU. When a student is kicked out of class for reading his Bible I was stunned to learn of the action. Every one of us has a constitutionally protected civil right of free speech, which especially includes offensive speech; and universities are places reserved for free expression of thought, ideas, speech and the testing of conventional wisdom,” said Rep. Finchem.

Rep. Finchem stated, “On March 20, I learned of a 12-page instructional document published by the University of Arizona, Office of Diversity and Inclusion by a vice-provost who is paid $214,000 for essentially telling students and professors what will be tolerated, and what won’t be in the way of speech. Universities are places where we send our young adults to acquire knowledge and coping skills that they will need when they leave the cloistered life of higher learning. I will not support any further “investment” in state universities as long as these reports continue to surface and we see such policing of speech. This abuse of power ends immediately if I am to approve of any more university funding.”