by David Safier
This Sunday, a group of people interested in recalling TUSD Board member Michael Hicks will be meeting with Randy Parraz. If anyone knows anything about running a recall, it's Parraz who spearheaded the successful effort to take down Russell Pearce.
The question is, why recall Hicks? [You don't need a reason, by the way, only the required number of signatures.] By me, it shouldn't be for his votes alone. Hicks was elected to vote as he sees fit. The real question should be, is Hicks unfit to be on a board whose purpose is to oversee the education of Tucson's children? My tentative answer is yes, he is unfit. I say "tentative" because I'm basically a cautious guy who tries not to rush to judgement. I need to give it more thought. But here is my reason for saying Hicks is unfit to serve on the board.
In a radio interview Hicks gave and in a phone conversation with me, Hicks showed he was willing to hurl unwarranted accusations with racist overtones at people connected with the Mexican-American Studies program. On the radio show, he implied TUSD middle school students could have been subject to sexual abuse, similar to what allegedly occurred at Penn State, when they went into a UA Mexican-American Studies classroom. Hicks' implication was, not only are these MAS people animals, but they are so vile, it's possible a group of them -- a prof and his students -- could physically abuse the TUSD students with everyone in the classroom participating or watching, then keep silent about what happened.
(You can read the rest of the post below the fold.)
1. "I apologize for choosing to use Penn State in my comments about this concern. I understand how that can be interpreted as insensitive and inappropriate."
2. "I never intended for my comment to suggest that anything that happened at Penn State is happening at the University of Arizona."
As for the first passage, there is no "interpretation" involved. Hicks' statement was "insensitive and inappropriate," period. Actually, it was far worse than that.
His second statement about not intending to suggest what happened at Penn State happened in the UA classroom is simply a lie. That is exactly what he intended.
Hicks revealed his intentions when we talked over the phone. Early in the conversation, he denied his statement implied harm might have come to the TUSD students in the UA classroom. But a few minutes later, he said exactly that. He came up with what he thought was a "gotcha" point. People didn't hear about the abuse at Penn State for years, he said to me. Right? he asked loudly. Am I right? This was the one time he went on the offensive in our conversation. He was assertive almost to the point of bullying.
Right? Am I right?
Hicks' obvious point was, If we didn't hear about the sexual abuse at Penn State until years later, maybe something went on in that UA classroom and nobody said anything. At that moment, Hicks all but said it was possible the TUSD students were physically harmed, in direct contradiction to what he maintained in his letter of "apology."
It is Hicks' willingness to make a racist-tinged allegation against a UA MAS prof and his students followed by a half-hearted apology and a full-blown lie that makes me question Hicks' fitness to make decisions regarding the education and welfare of TUSD students.