Vega Appointed to Wisconsin Human Rights Board
UW-River Falls Education Professor Jose Vega was recently appointed to serve on the board of directors of the American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin. The organization is nonprofit and nonpartisan, with more than 4,000 dues-paying individuals in Wisconsin. As the state affiliate of the national ACLU, it represents the interests and issues of WisconsinÕs residents.
Vega, who has been a member of the ACLU for more than 20 years, said he originally gravitated toward the organization because it is concerned not only with issues of free speech but also with the rights of students, immigrants and ethnic minorities.
The issues are of interest and concern to Vega personally, and they tie in with the "Foundations of Multicultural Education" course he teaches in the department of teacher education at UW-RF.
"The purpose of the course is to study and reflect upon cultural, ethnic and linguistic diversity in American society," said Vega. "It views diversity as a strength in American society,which we need to cultivate within the context of democratic ideals and principles. Many of the topics we discuss in class are also concerns of the ACLU," said Vega.
One of the major issues facing the board at this time is assaults on civil liberties made in the name of the war on terrorism. "Measures to curtail terrorism often lead to the curtailment of our civil liberties," said Vega. "Our civil liberties are very fragile. We take them too much for granted."
Vega also serves as editor for Human Relations Newsletter, the newsletter for the Wisconsin State Human Relations Association, an educational organization dedicated to the promotion of basic human rights, respect for cultural differences, and programs that enhance equality in educational opportunities for students.
He has been a member since 1981, and has served in the past as both treasurer and president. Occasionally, Vega serves as a member of the accreditation team for the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Most recently, he visited the Central Bayamon University in Puerto Rico with the team, to determine if it complied with the standards of the Commission.
He also serves as president of the UW-RF chapter of Phi Delta Kappa, an association for professional educators. "The organization was founded in 1906," he said. "It is an international organization built on chapters, usually operating on university campuses, and it publishes Phi Delta Kappan magazine, a nationally -known publication on educational topics." Vega has been president of the organization for 14 of the 15 years that he has been teaching at UW-RF. His wife, Carmen, was a professor of education in the department of teacher education at UW-RF from 1988 to 1998, after which she served as dean of the College of Education and Human Services at UW-Oshkosh for five years.
She recently accepted a position as dean of the College of Professional Studies at Metropolitan State University in St. Paul, Minn.
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