PHOTO: Fernanda Echavarri
Kim Dominguez stands with other supporters of the University of Arizona's Social Justice Education Program.

Social Justice Education Project, a University of Arizona student organization, has been prohibited from using meeting space in the Mexican American studies department, group members say.

Supporters spoke against the restriction Thursday outside the Cesar E. Chavez building on the Tucson campus.

The student organization is part of UA’s Mexican American Studies Department, but because of its involvement with UNIDOS, a group of supporters of the discontinued Mexican American studies classes at Tucson Unified School District, group members say it has been banned from meeting in the department.

UNIDOS is a group of mostly TUSD graduates who want to bring back Mexican American Studies classes. The group had been using space at the UA to meet with members of the Social Justice Education Project until the recent change.

About a dozen members from the UA Department of Gender and Women’s Studies and Pima County Supervisor Richard Elias were at the gathering Thursday.

“I think it’s indicative of the efforts to disrupt student organizing by TUSD officials and ultimately the UA bureaucracy going along with it.” Elias said. “All of that seems somewhat out of place and out of time and thoroughly inappropriate in an autonomous university.”

Antonio Estrada, the head of the UA’s Mexican American Studies Department, did not return an e-mail asking for comment. University officials declined comment.