Scholars Champion AZ Civil Rights Initiative

PRINCETON, NJ (July 16, 2010)—This fall, Arizona voters must choose whether to vote for the Arizona Civil Rights Initiative (AzCRI). The National Association of Scholars (NAS) wants to help them decide. The NAS submitted an official argument in favor of AzCRI. 

Sponsored by the American Civil Rights Initiative (ACRI) and its chairman Ward Connerly, the ballot initiative is a “proposal to amend the state constitution to prohibit preferential treatment or discrimination” in public education, public employment, and public contracting. If passed, it will end racial preferences in government-sponsored institutions. Initiatives like it have already been approved in California, Washington, Michigan and Nebraska

After the Arizona Civil Rights Initiative passed through the Senate last month, the state began collecting pro and con statements to give to voters. The National Association of Scholars submitted a pro-AzCRI statement, which urges Arizona citizens to vote YES and reaffirm true equal opportunity: 

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal…” So proclaims the Declaration of Independence, America’s founding statement of ideals. Although we would now say “men and women,” there is nothing in these words that could be otherwise improved upon. No principle comes closer to the heart of what America means, or has contributed more to our national success. 

A YES vote on Proposition 107 is simply a reaffirmation of this basic ideal. It gives to every Arizonan assurance that he or she will be judged solely by virtue of achievement and character, not color, ancestry, or sex. In so doing, it will spur all to do their best.  It will also prevent politicians and bureaucrats from pitting group against group, doling out favors to some and withholding them from others. Social harmony depends on all individuals believing their rights are held in common, not bestowed on the basis of the accidents of birth. 

The National Association of Scholars believes that equal treatment is especially crucial in higher education. A college degree only has value when it is perceived as having been fairly earned. Moreover, it is as students that our young men and women come to full knowledge of America’s heritage of rights and freedoms. By making higher education a color- and gender-coded experience, this comprehension is undermined. 

America’s fundamental ideals get renewed each generation through education. Vote YES on Proposition 107 to ensure that they are renewed intact. 

The Arizona Civil Rights Initiative will go to a vote on November 2, 2010. 

CONTACT:
Stephen Balch, Chairman, NAS: 609-683-7878; balch@nas.org

The National Association of Scholars advocates for higher education reform. www.nas.org

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