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American Indian Studies Department Cuts Ties with RED INK

The University of Arizona American Indian Studies Department has chosen to cut ties with RED INK, a Native American student-run magazine.
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RED INK, a student-run Native American publication at the University of Arizona is reeling after the school’s American Indian Studies Department said it would no longer associate itself with the magazine.

The editorial board received the letter August 2 asking them to vacate their offices; they were shocked.

“We were not included in any discussion as to the fate of RED INK nor were we given any opportunity to prepare,” Editor in Chief Joe Quintana Ramirez, Santo Domingo, said in a press release. He also said the magazine would “stand its ground” and is reaching out to Indian country across the country for support.

This was reflected on RED INK’s Twitter page on August 2, which read: “Were you a member of RED INK at one time? Have you volunteered for one of the only Native American student publications in the country and want to see RED INK continue with the support of AIS (UofA)? Then voice your opinion. Let the department and the chair hear your successes. It’s believed that RED INK is not producing adequate leaders and the publication hindered your education.”

The press release sent out by the magazine listed three reasons for the separation:

  • Lack of academic progress by participating students;
  • RED INK’s failure to cite an author who did not submit a bio for the most recent edition;
  • AIS departmental support of $2,500, which was provided for publishing costs for their 20th Anniversary issue.
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The magazine had an answer for each reason, first of all stating that no drop out of proof of low GPAs was provided. “In fact, RED INK has several staff members who maintain 4.0 averages,” the release states.

The magazine said the failure to site an author was corrected and “remains a priority issue that the RED INK staff does not take lightly.”

The release also stated that the $2,500 provided by the department was used toward maintenance of the publication and was supplemented by the student editorial board, who raised enough to cover printing costs.

“This decided disassociation by the American Indian Studies Department at the University of Arizona was done without the input of anyone from RED INK or the editorial staff. Although the AIS Department Head stated that AIS promotes direct student involvement, the department failed to consult any students prior to their decision,” the release from the magazine states. “The new American Indian Studies director, Dr. Ron Trosper stated that he will encourage faculty not to advise RED INK. This becomes a most disheartening move on the part of AIS leadership, which has been under scrutiny in recent months for questionable hiring practices.

This disassociation is not mentioned on the department’s website, but a link is still provided under the “American Indian Organizations/Programs” section of the department’s page.

The magazine said it would “continue to move forward in a way that best honors the goals and integrity of a Native American legacy of literary scholarship and creativity.”