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Statement Regarding Campus Climate and Covid-19 (Coronavirus)

March 4, 2020

ASIAN AMERICAN STUDIES PROGRAM 

STATEMENT REGARDING CAMPUS CLIMATE AND COVID-19 (CORONAVIRUS)

March 4, 2020

With the rise of concerns about the COVID-19 virus, there have been increasing incidents of xenophobia and racism targeting Chinese and other Asian people worldwide, including at the University of Minnesota. Acts of exclusion, harassment, and hate speech do nothing to prevent viruses and other illnesses from spreading; instead, such actions simply impair our abilities to work together as a community at a crucial time. 

Asian American history has shown us how the stereotyping of early Chinese immigrants as carriers of disease was part of a larger pattern of racial violence and legal exclusion. More recently outbreaks of diseases such as HIV/AIDS, SARS, and the Ebola virus were accompanied by a resurgence of suspicion and hostility towards particular countries, cultures, and people. As emerging infectious diseases become a global phenomenon, they can only be fought through solidarity and cooperation, rather than anxiety, stigmatization, and hostility. 

Asian and Asian American students in our classes and in our AAS program have expressed that recent incidents on campus and in the wider society related to COVID-19 have left them feeling targeted and vulnerable. We feel it is imperative that the University of Minnesota, and all of us, work toward building a safe, supportive climate, free from racial hostility for all of our students, particularly in these anxious times.

We urge our students, colleagues, and community members at the University of Minnesota to act with compassion and concern for those who have been affected by the COVID-19 virus and other infectious diseases worldwide. We stand in solidarity with those who have been targeted, both directly and indirectly, by racist and xenophobic words and actions associated with these outbreaks. We extend our support to those who are working to find effective medical treatments, to educate the public about effective and humane ways of stopping the spread of disease, and to support diverse and thriving communities.

Find on-campus resources and information about the COVID-19 virus, current University recommendations, and health and counseling services on Safe Campus. For more information about teaching and learning about coronavirus racism go to this resource developed by Professor Oliver Chang. For more information about preventing and challenging stigma and bias related to COVID-19 go to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If you believe you are experiencing bias related to race, national origin, or other protected identity on campus, please contact the Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action or the Bias Response and Referral Network. The Asian Pacific American Resource Center (APARC), located at 311 Appleby Hall, is a valuable resource for students. APARC staff can be reached at aparc@umn.edu to discuss concerns about COVID-19 bias. 

Signed,

Asian American Studies Program, University of Minnesota

 

In support:

  • Institute for Advanced Studies, University of Minnesota
  • Asian & Middle Eastern Studies, University of Minnesota
  • Program in the History of Medicine, University of Minnesota
  • American Studies Department, University of Minnesota
  • Sociology Department, University of Minnesota
  • Race, Indigeneity, Gender & Sexuality Studies (RIGS), University of Minnesota
  • Medical School Student Council, University of Minnesota
  • Law School Career Center, University of Minnesota
  • Department of Political Science, University of Minnesota
  • Center for Writing, University of Minnesota
  • American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) 3800, University of Minnesota Clerical Workers
  • International Student & Scholar Services, University of Minnesota
  • English Department, University of Minnesota
  • Program in Health Disparities, University of Minnesota
  • School Psychology Program, University of Minnesota
  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee for the Medical School, University of Minnesota
If your unit is interested in supporting this statement, please email us at aast@umn.edu or tswartz@umn.edu. We are not accepting signatures from individuals at this time.

Resources compiled and adapted from: