Racism Against Asian Americans

February 11, 2021

Dear all,

Many of you have likely heard about the surge in attacks on Asian Americans being reported in the news and on social media. These attacks demonstrate an ugly xenophobia and racial prejudice that persists in our country today.  These events are deeply saddening and we at the College condemn such hatred and bigotry. From the start of the pandemic, anti-Asian violence has increased; we denounce such violence at every turn. As one student pointed out to me today, she and too many others of Asian American and Pacific Islander descent can personally attest to the kind of racism that, when left unchecked, has manifested in acts of aggression like those recently reported.  One step in the right direction is the executive action President Joseph R. Biden signed that condemned anti-Asian racism, as part of a series of executive actions regarding racial equity and civil rights. But we must all do more.

Education is critical to the work Vassar must do in combatting anti-Asian prejudice. The College is committed to the continued investment in and strengthening of our Asian American Studies courses, including creating a tenure-track position in Asian American Studies. As our students have underscored, it is crucial that the College offers the space for all students to continue to learn about Asian and Asian American history and to consider the contexts in which these heinous acts are taking place.

As we approach the Lunar New Year, commencing this Friday, we look to this celebration of new beginnings as an opportunity to renew our pledge to embrace unity, compassion, and inclusiveness in our own community.

Take care,

Elizabeth H. Bradley, President
Vassar College
Poughkeepsie, NY 12604