The following message was sent to students via email on April 5.
We write to share thoughts and planned actions on two topics: 1) Anti-Asian and Asian American Bias and Violence and 2) the Derek Chauvin trial for the killing of George Floyd.
Anti-Asian and Asian American Bias and Violence
The Asian and Pacific Islander Student Alliance (APISA) has written an open letter to faculty about students’ fears, their experiences of racism on campus, and their desire to be seen and heard.
We have reached out to the leaders of APISA suggesting a focused listening session in the coming weeks with administrators, faculty governance and student governance leaders, and they are amenable to such a meeting. Our purpose is to create space for these students to articulate their experiences and guide us as campus leaders in the ways we can support raising awareness more broadly among the campus community about the issues that are important to Asian and Pacific Islander students.
We envision this discussion as a prelude to a broader campus discussion including other students. This recent article from Inside Higher Ed, by University of Toronto faculty members who are immigrants from South Korea and the Philippines, provides insightful perspective on steps we all can take to avoid, mitigate, and counter anti-Asian racism as it plays out on our campus.
Campus leadership responded in a recent message to the shooting deaths in Atlanta that targeted six Asian American women along with two other people. SUNY, CUNY, and New York private college leadership responded similarly (here). Both statements explicitly condemned these violent, racist actions and identified them as such, even as we know that words are never enough. Our actions matter.
Derek Chauvin Trial
The trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for the violent death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man who died after Chauvin knelt on his neck for more than 9 minutes, is well underway. Mr. Floyd’s death, and the outcome of this trial, carry great significance for our country’s reckoning with racial violence, injustice, and white supremacy. While many Americans have our eyes on this trial, it no doubt has particular meaning to BIPOC students and other members of our campus community. Let us be aware of and attuned to these sensibilities and offer all support we can during the coming weeks of the trial and its aftermath.
Donald P. Christian, President
Tanhena Pacheco Dunn, Associate VP for Human Resources, Diversity & Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer