by David Safier
I'm out of town, so until now I haven't had the opportunity to follow the charges of assault, trespassing and vandalism filed against Sean Arce carefully. Now I've had time to read the police report, and Mari Herreras has written what we know about the events on The Range, and what she's written confirms earlier accounts. I haven't seen any comments from Arce or someone speaking on his behalf, which is a bad sign. Usually, if there's another credible side of the story, the accused is likely to step forward.
The charges are damning -- Arce grabbing his ex-wife while she was at La Cocina until others separated them, then going to her house, breaking a window and entering. If they're at all accurate, Arce needs to do whatever he can to explain the incidents publicly, apologize for them, get help to address his anger issues and face the legal consequences. He should also be removed from the equation in the continuing discussion of Mexican American Studies. TUSD didn't renew Arce's contract, so he's not connected with the District in any way, but supporters have talked about bringing him back to lead the program if it's reinstated. Once all the facts are clear, supporters of the program should make a statement about whether they think he should continue to be in the picture. I hope they say they no longer think he should return, unless what we've heard is grossly inaccurate, which I doubt.
That being said, Arce's actions are a personal issue. So far as I can tell from the available information, they didn't involve TUSD directly or indirectly. Previously, Sean Arce was the administrator in charge of the Mexican American Studies program, but he was not the program. His possibly/probably reprehensible behavior as a private citizen have no bearing on the quality of the MAS program. Unfortunately, since the rhetoric is heated on both sides of the issue, there's no way his name or his actions can be removed from the discussion.
Arce is enough of a public figure that people are curious about this event and have a right to know the details and follow future developments. I imagine we'll keep hearing about this story for quite awhile.
UPDATE: Sean Arce posted an open letter on Three Sonorans where he takes responsibility for his actions. It would be unfair to Arce to excerpt the letter here. Follow the link to read what he wrote.