Arizona Tech Students Protest Scholarship Named After Former Professor
The naming of a scholarship honoring a former history professor at Arkansas Tech University has become a point of contention among campus community members.
Dozens of students and community members turned out on Tuesday to protest the Michael Arthur Link and May Reid Kewen History Scholarship, named after Dr. Michael Link and his mother, who taught at the university for over 50 years, according to Arkansas Democrat. Link died at the age of 79 in 2016.
The scholarship was created in December 2018 after Link’s estate donated $190,900 to the university.
Protestors alleged Link of teaching anti-Semitism and denying that the Holocaust happened. A white supremacist group, led by a former Arkansas Tech student, urged followers to counter protest in support of scholarship, the Arkansas Times reported.
“We have direct quotes from his books,” Kalina Smith, a senior English major, said. “From his thesis and from the books that he taught, they prove that he was antisemitic.”
The Anti-Defamation League, leaders of the Jewish Federation of Arkansas, and more than 40 national and international scholars in the field of Jewish studies earlier condemned the naming of a scholarship and sought for it to be changed.
“We condemn the inaction of Arkansas Tech University in the strongest possible terms. By simultaneously honoring and seeking to conceal the anti-Semitism of Dr. Link, the university has become complicit in his hate,” the coalition letter reads.
“We call upon Arkansas Tech University to immediately remedy this situation.”
School officials later responded by denying the request, claiming that they couldn’t find evidence for the anti-Semitic allegations against Link.
“Assessing the entirety of someone’s life once it’s complete is a difficult, if not an impossible task,” Sam Strasner, director of university relations, told THV11 News.
“Through that process, Arkansas Tech University has yet to find any evidence that suggests that he taught antisemitism or that he taught holocaust denial in his classes.”