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Report of Regents Cultural Education Committee to The Board of Regents

Cultural Education Committee Members 
Regent Tilles, Co-Chair, Regent Ferrer, Co-Chair, Regent Cea, Regent Cottrell, Regent Collins, Regent Reyes, Regent Mittler, Regent Wills, Regent Tanikawa, Regent Catania, and Regent Hale. 

The Cultural Education Committee held its scheduled meeting on March 11, 2024. All committee members were present except Regent Roger Tilles and Regent Susan W. Mittler, who were excused.  Chancellor Lester W. Young, Vice Chancellor Josephine Victoria Finn, Regent Wade S. Norwood, Regent Judith Chin, Regent Hasoni L. Pratts, and Regent Patrick A. Mannion also attended the meeting.


Epistemic Injustice in Libraries - Dr. Beth Patin, an Assistant Professor at Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies and member of the Regents Advisory Council on Libraries, presented on epistemic injustice and the impact on knowledge.  To introduce the topic of epistemicide (defined as the devaluing, silencing, killing, or annihilation of knowledge) and the enduring harms that occur because of these injustices, Dr. Patin shared her family’s civil rights activism and the lack of resources recording this history in the state of Alabama.  She presented her research around ensuring equity in information and provided a framework to help teachers, librarians, and other information professionals ensure that diverse knowledge systems are preserved, shared, and honored.    

Dr. Patin’s family history of activism includes her grandfather’s efforts to obtain an education and educational materials in Alabama. Utilizing her family’s archives, Dr. Patin shared examples of various forms of protests that led to the integration of shops, restaurants and other establishments in Huntsville, Alabama.  Pivotal to the Civil Rights Movement, her grandfather won the lawsuit which allowed her father to attend school and become the first black student to integrate Huntsville schools. 

Dr. Patin then shared Alabama’s educational standards for fourth grade history which require the identification of the purpose and vocabulary of the Civil Rights Movement.  Dr. Patin also discussed the use of primary source documents in keeping history.  Even given her family’s profound impact on civil rights and integration of Alabama schools, Dr. Patin discovered that the Alabama Archives had very little information regarding her father and grandfather.  Alabama admitted to a concerted effort to keep confederate history and while disregarding black history (a form of epistemicide) even though this information was necessary to meet the educational standards. 

Dr. Patin discussed the various forms of epistemicide and the alternative framework required to nurture knowledge and diverse knowledge systems:

Testimonial epistimicide occurs when a hearer deflates the level of believability or credibility of the speaker.  Testimonial epistemicide is combatted by believing those who are speaking and understanding when expertise is relevant and necessary.

Hermeneutical epistemicide occurs when collective language or resources do not exist to describe a person’s experience or that of others.  Hermeneutical epistemicide is corrected when language is developed and used to organize information.

Participatory injustice involves determining who is invited to participate and keeps one from engaging in their own knowledge development.  Participatory injustices are stymied when the most people are allowed to participate at the highest levels. 

Curricular injustice occurs when physical resources are not available for epistemic growth.  Curricular injustice is combatted when diverse voices are assigned to knowledge development and sharing. 

Following Dr. Patin’s presentation, the Regents discussed how to share the presentation with other Regents committees and how to utilize this information to shape the work of the Department.  The Regents discussed utilizing the Regents Advisory Council on Libraries to disperse information to partners as well as encouraging oral histories to record the experiences of diverse populations. 

Associated Agenda Item

Meeting Date: 
Monday, March 11, 2024 - 2:30pm