Asian Student Alliance outlines initiative for change at Quinnipiac

Melina Khan, Copy Editor

Quinnipiac University’s Asian Student Alliance (ASA) published an initiative for institutional and cultural change at Quinnipiac following continued targeting of Asian American communities and the recent mass shooting of Asian women in Atlanta, Georgia. 

The initiative calls for changing disciplinary action for students who carry out racist actions, an increase in the support resources available to international students and an expansion in the number of Asian faculty, administrators and public safety officers. Andrew DePass, executive chair of Quinnipiac’s Multicultural Student Leadership Council (MSLC), acknowledged the initiative.

Connor Lawless

“We feel that sincere commitment is required to foster true change,” the ASA wrote in the document. “This commitment must go beyond proposed healing practices, an effort which alone falls short on the University’s claim to stand with Asian, Pacific Islander, and Desi American (APIDA) communities.”

The ASA proposed the formation of a part-student, part-faculty advisory board to handle racially-motivated incidents. As part of the disciplinary measures for students who carry out these actions, it recommended a community service component for an organization that represents the community the student discriminated against. 

The organization also proposed a 5% increase in Quinnipiac’s minority faculty population over the next 10 years and greater allocation of resources to the Department of Cultural and Global Engagement to support international students. 

 “Our entire university community shares in the sadness and horror over the repeated acts of violence against communities of color, most recently against Asian Americans,” said Daryl Richard, Quinnipiac’s vice president for marketing and communications. “We appreciate the ASA’s offer to partner with the administration as a proactive force of good to help intensify our commitments to advance racial justice both at Quinnipiac and in our broader society.”

Richard added that university leaders will be meeting with the ASA members on Thursday, April 1, to continue exploring ways to ensure inclusivity at Quinnipiac.

The ASA also requested a re-acknowledgement of the Washington Witherspoon Plan, a diversity plan created by MSLC in June 2020 to create minority equity and systemic change at Quinnipiac.

“We can’t, as an organization, just sit back and let the university not recognize or not try to help support our community in every way possible to make us feel safe,” said Rachel Reyes, a senior biology major and co-president of the ASA. 

Reyes said while the ASA appreciates Quinnipiac’s condemning of APIDA hate, it hoped the organization would have been contacted prior to the university’s statement.

“(Quinnipiac administration) released statements condemning Asian hate without reaching out directly to our community or organization to see how we (are) doing or how healing sessions are being conducted,” Reyes said. “We do appreciate how administration is releasing statements condemning APIDA hate, though we wish they reached out to us (prior) to making a statement.”

Carrie Zeng, a senior psychology major and co-president of the ASA, said the organization would also like the administration to acknowledge South Asian hate crimes in addition to East Asian hate crimes as both impact the APIDA community.

The ASA’s initiative comes after Quinnipiac’s administration faced backlash for its lack of response to incidents of alleged racism on campus. This is not the first time the ASA has tackled racism at Quinnipiac. 

In September 2020, the ASA published a survey in which 30 Asian American Quinnipiac students were asked about their experiences at Quinnipiac. Over half (56.7%) of the respondents said they had experienced racism on campus. 

Anti-Asian hate has increased since the COVID-19 pandemic originated in China in late 2019. The Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism found that Anti-Asian hate crimes surged by 149% in 2020.