REFORMA's Resolution regarding TUSD

February 28, 2012


REFORMA, the National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish-speaking, an affiliate of the American Library Association, with nineteen local and regional chapters and at-large members from all parts of the United States, views the dismantling of the Tucson Unified School District (TUSD) Mexican American Studies (MAS) program as a violation of the core principles of intellectual freedom and equity of access.

REFORMA advocates for and affirms students’ right to have access to accurate and meaningful information that will enhance their critical inquiry skills and understanding of an inclusionary society that honors and respects all of its component members. We support student access to diverse literature that lends to inquiry, conversation, and critical thinking – all strengths that we value in the continued building of our democracy.

WHEREAS the 2010 Census found that Arizona’s Hispanic/Latino population accounted for 29.6% of the state’s total population,1 and Tucson’s Hispanic/Latino population accounted for 41.6% of the city’s total population2, with both the state and the city having larger Hispanic/Latino populations than the national average; and

WHEREAS Dr. Arnulfo Trejo, educated in TUSD schools and the University of Arizona and later serving on the faculty of the University of Arizona’s Graduate Library School, in 1971 founded REFORMA and provided its driving force; and  

WHEREAS reading list titles associated with the MAS program consist of works written by nationally and internationally renowned, award-winning authors, including but not limited to Sherman Alexie, James Baldwin, Ana Castillo, Sandra Cisneros, Francisco Jimenez, Matt de la Peña, Carmen Tafolla, and Luis Alberto Urrea, whose stories reflect this country’s rich and diverse heritage; and

WHEREAS these books have been removed from classrooms related to the MAS program, and the TUSD school libraries do not contain all of the removed titles, making this literature inaccessible to all TUSD students;3 and

WHEREAS REFORMA views teachers as brothers and sisters in the same mission of fostering the love of reading and education by promoting books, literacy, and critical thinking; and

WHEREAS REFORMA is outraged by the confiscation and removal of these materials from classrooms and asserts that their lack of availability in all school libraries creates de facto censorship;

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that REFORMA, the National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish-speaking:

  1. Condemns the dismantling of the MAS program at TUSD and the removal of textbooks from the classrooms;
  2. Affirms that exclusion of and/or restriction of access to the multiple viewpoints, experiences, and histories expressed in books fosters antagonism, isolation, and withdrawal from a pluralistic and inclusive society,
  3. Encourages all REFORMA members and member libraries to take local action by creating book displays of the confiscated materials, creating educational programs about the value and meaning of intellectual freedom and censorship, and creating resources in support of the students of the MAS program to further their pursuit of learning; and
  4. Commits to developing resource tools and action kits in support of the MAS students’ right to pursue their intellectual, informational, and recreational needs; and be it further

RESOLVED that REFORMA (The National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish-speaking):

  1. Unanimously supports the excellent service delivery and specific actions taken by our REFORMA-Tucson Chapter, such as the planning of a 2012 Latino Literacy Roundtable, and their compilation and dissemination of the Outlawed and Threatened Book List entitled “THE CHILLING EFFECTS: A Mexican-American Studies Challenged and Outlawed Reading List;”
  2. Unanimously affirms the January 2012 American Library Association, Office of Intellectual Freedom Resolution OPPOSING RESTRICTION OF ACCESS TO MATERIALS AND OPEN INQUIRY IN ARIZONA ETHNIC AND CULTURAL STUDIES PROGRAM, 4 the January 2012 American Indian Library Association STATEMENT ON ETHNIC STUDIES PROGRAMS IN ARIZONA,5 and the January 2012 Progressive Librarians Guild STATEMENT ON CENSORSHIP AND THE TUCSON UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT; 6  and
  3. Unanimously applauds the TUSD students who protested the dismantling of the MAS program and affirmed the changes the MAS program made in their lives, and the teachers and parents who spoke out against the program’s dissolution: MAS Students Speak Out About Their Classes and Books Being Banned in Tucson and TUSD-MAS Historical Trauma and Sadness

1 United States Census Bureau, 2010 Census Interactive Population Search: Arizona. Accessed from on February 11, 2012.
2 United States Census Bureau, State and County Quick Facts: Arizona, January 17, 2012. Accessed from on February 11, 2012.
3 Alexis Huicochea, “TUSD Rejects Reports of Book Ban,” Arizona Daily Star, January 18, 2012. Accessed from on February 12, 2012.
4 OIF Blog, “Resolution Opposing Restriction of Access to Materials and Open Inquiry in Ethnic and Cultural Studies Programs in Arizona,” January 24, 2012. Accessed from on February 12, 2012.
5 American Indian Library Association, Statement on Ethnic Studies Programs in Arizona, February 2, 2012. Accessed from on February 12, 2012.
6 Progressive Librarians Guild, PLG Statement on Censorship and the Tucson Unified School District, January 21, 2012. Accessed from on February 12, 2012.