Two University of Arizona College of Education professors had their administrative leave lifted following pushback from UA faculty, staff and students.
According to an email from College of Education Dean Robert Berry sent to students, staff, and faculty, the department head will be the instructor of record and carry out the last two weeks of the course–not the two faculty and staff.
“The College of Education community is dedicated to moving forward in a constructive way that encourages healing through the affirmation of our shared commitment to denounce language or behavior that discriminates or marginalizes any student, faculty, staff and broader community members,” the email reads.
In November, the two faculty and staff were placed on administrative leave after audio recordings of a lecture about the Israel-Palestine conflict went viral on social media. The professors held the class discussion for a course about cultural pluralism for young children.
Those recordings, which those who opposed the suspension claimed were edited together, were shared by a pro-Israel account that has more than 260,000 followers.
The professors were then put on suspension following an investigation under UHAP 7.01 Professional Conduct and UHAP 2.10 Political Activity and Lobbying and USM 5-107 University Staff Standards of Conduct Policy and HR-104 Political Activity and Lobbying.
In response, on Friday, Dec. 1 the college started a new teach-in workshop series called “Educational Dialogues” led by faculty with pedagogical expertise in “responsibly teaching potentially contentious topics while maintaining high academic standards and ensuring accuracy.” The series will focus on “teaching highly sensitive subjects in a responsible manner that utilizes appropriate scholarly sources in keeping with the high academic standards our College and University, deepening our understanding of academic freedom and providing guidance from faculty in Judaic Studies and Middle Eastern and Northern African Studies on teaching about the Arab-Israeli conflict respectfully, objectively, and with strong facilitation skills to engage in conversations with students.”
“Through this series, we will reinforce our values as a community and come out of this challenging moment stronger and better prepared to encourage learning, understanding, and community building,” Berry said.