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Reinstate EBSCO in Utah to Fight Censorship While Supporting Academic Freedom

Sign the petition: Reinstate EBSCO in Utah to Fight Censorship While Supporting Academic Freedom

Reinstate EBSCO in Utah to Fight Censorship While Supporting Academic Freedom

Sign the petition: Reinstate EBSCO in Utah to Fight Censorship While Supporting Academic Freedom

The Utah Library Association has created this petition to help you let representatives on the Utah Education and Telehealth Network (UETN) Board know that you support them in voting to carry out their mission of creating world class public education and reinstate access to the EBSCO research database for over 650,000 students across the state of Utah.

Please take action by sending them an email today using this form. EveryLibrary, in support of the Utah Library Association, has made it easy to send each of the Board Members an email through this form. Simply enter your address, edit the subject heading and text of the email (optional), and click “send my email.”

On September 21, based on one complaint and a sensationalized TV news report of a parent who said she found “yucky” pictures in four articles in the EBSCO database (i.e. pictures of same-sex kissing, partially exposed female buttocks) UETN immediately pulled the plug on access to one of the most widely used research databases -- even though they were unable to replicate the reported search results. This action was taken without notice to, or input from, thousands of teachers and school librarians who were forced to scramble in revising well-planned lesson plans and homework assignments on the fly.

On October 1, the UETN Board met with almost no public notice or opportunity for public comment and voted 6-1 to continue the ban on EBSCO databases “for the immediate future pending additional discussion and investigation of EBSCO and all other similar periodical services provided by UEN to public education students.” This wholesale blocking of access to information by a state-run government body is counter to the principles of academic freedom and local control of education, and counter to their own stated policies.

According to federal law (CIPA), schools are already required to block any material that meets the legal definition of “harmful to minors.” Clearly, the ban on 275 million articles in EBSCO -- articles that deal with history, science, civics, health, arts, literature, humanities, and current events -- does not come close to meeting the federal legal threshold of “harmful” which says that to be blocked, the material, “taken as a whole” must lack “serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value as to minors."

The UETN Board will be revisiting this decision at their October 19th board meeting at 9 am. Please take action by sending them an email today and asking them to vote to reinstate access to the EBSCO research database which is relied on my Utah students and teachers. We made it easy to send each the Board Members an email through this form. Simply enter your address, edit the subject heading and text of the email (optional), and click “send my email.”


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