Staff Editorial: National anti-Asian violence demands action from University
Administration is failing to support its students
It shouldn’t have taken a series of shootings that killed six women of Asian descent for anti-Asian violence to be brought to the forefront of our national and campus conversations. The Eagle needs to take responsibility for this. As a newspaper, we should have pushed harder and sooner to cover this story. The hateful rhetoric that has manifested in countless acts of violence against the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community is something that demands attention.
Each professor should have acknowledged the weight of this event in the days following. The University should have implored professors to have these discussions. It’s unnatural to jump into a lecture without addressing the fear and sadness that hung over the AU community. Professors should have offered a space for students to talk, whether or not a discussion on the shootings related to class. First-year students on the Eagle Editorial Board recounted conversations in AUx classes after the shootings, but that built-in opportunity was not available to older students. The University could have given every professor guidelines on how to hold conversations about events like the shootings in Atlanta. Instead, the University failed to provide any real support. There needs to be more compassion during times like this.
A large part of the national conversation surrounding acts of violence against people of Asian descent is the lack of education on the issue. This past year, the ignorance was present in the xenophobic labeling of the coronavius as the “China virus.” The University must go a step further and address the deeper problem, which is the need for non-AAPI members of the AU community to educate themselves. The history of anti-Asian violence in this country is more than decades old, and it is intolerable that the University accepts that its students have no deeper than a surface understanding of the situation.
Sadly, there is a clear and carefully formulated pattern the University displays after a traumatic incident occurs. An email, with the same resources each time, is sent to the community and we see little to no follow-up. Offering the Counseling Center as a catch-all solution is insufficient, especially considering restrictions on the center’s ability to be a resource during an online semester. Clarissa Cheung, co-president of the Asian American Student Union, is quoted in an Eagle article expressing the lack of support she feels from the University and specifically citing student organizing as the only way change happens at AU. This reality is unacceptable and infuriating.
The University needs to step up. It is true that online operations prevent physical gathering, but this has been the situation for a year and the University needs to find ways to overcome it. There are ways to mourn, support and educate online, as we have come to know since the pandemic began. It is on everyone, including The Eagle, to take responsibility and action. While we all work to improve in our own capacities, the University must foster an environment that supports the AAPI members of its community.