In a continuing stream of released statements today, we get one from student group AAA (Asian American Alliance, not the place you call when your car breaks down), with support from a huge number of student groups.
Below is their statement:
According to several news sources, an alleged hate crime occurred on Columbia University’s campus involving a number of Columbia students on Sunday, May 5, in which one student, a Black male athlete, allegedly called another, an Asian male, racial slurs and pushed him against a wall. As a consequence of the incident, the suspect faces criminal charges.
Columbia’s Asian American Alliance (AAA), along with a number of student leaders from across campus, have submitted statements to the Columbia University administration regarding our concerns and urging the university to take action. Furthermore, a number of us have met with members of the administration to discuss these concerns and urge the administration to act accordingly. We are thankful that the administration has been very responsive to our needs and are hopeful that they will continue to address the situation in a timely and thoughtful manner.
We are deeply concerned about the environment maintained on our campus. This is not an isolated event, nor should the perpetrator of this incident be treated as an anomaly. The fact that this incident occurred points to a systemic culture of hateful speech and action on Columbia’s campus, of which this incident is merely the latest manifestation.
We are also concerned about the racial dynamics of this incident. Anti-Asian racism is often socially dismissed through rhetoric such as the Model Minority Myth, “honorary whiteness,” and claims of post-racialism – all false ideas that serve to undercut and diminish the continued challenges that Asians face. We must also acknowledge that much of this rhetoric has hinged on particularly violent and pervasive ideas of anti-Blackness. Any form of minority-on-minority racism or discrimination represents a missed opportunity for solidarity across communities of color. In order to fight shared systems of oppression, it is important for the Asian community and the Black community to be in solidarity.
We must see this incident as a result of broader systemic issues of racism on our campus and in our society, and not vilify individuals involved in this specific case, or the communities those individuals represent.
Furthermore, there have been reports that this incident began with harassment against women. We cannot verify the validity of these reports at this time. However, even if this incident did not begin with instances of misogyny, we cannot diminish actions of sexism and misogyny by juxtaposing them against a race based hate crime. Racism, sexism, homophobia, and other kinds of hatred and violence based on identity or social position reinforce one another. When we ignore or pardon sexual harassment in the face of “more gregious” incidents, it can serve as a catalyst to other hate crimes, like anti-Asian racism. Similarly, ignoring racist slurs and hateful speech can be a catalyst for sexual violence. If we gloss over any incident of hate, we risk perpetuating all practices of hate. We cannot tolerate any instance or any culture of racism, misogyny, homophobia, ableism, classism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and other kinds of hate and violence on and off our campus.
We must take concrete steps to fight this pervasive and harmful culture. Appreciating diversity is not enough; diversity for diversity’s sake is not a strength but merely a statistic. We need to honestly examine the way that real patterns of oppression continue to exist and thrive in the structures of our campus community, and confront them with both dialogue and action. The presence of multiple colors, identities, and creeds in our community is meaningless until all students stand in solidarity against racism, sexism, homophobia, and other forms of identity based discrimination and violence.
The Columbia administration and its programs, as well as the student body, must be held accountable to create radical anti-oppression, anti-hate and anti-violence programs throughout the university to combat a culture which can lead to these types of incidents. Some of the most tangible ways in which we can do this are through anti-oppression and anti-hate education.
We hope that in the coming months and semesters, the University will work with us to discuss and implement stronger programs and policies to combat this culture of hate and violence.
We also encourage our fellow students to have open, honest, and respectful dialogue about this incident. We will be working with the administration to open up spaces in which this dialogue can take place safely and positively, as well as creating forums to discuss the broader culture of racism, sexism, hate, and violence on our campus.
During this time, and through the coming weeks, we hope that the Columbia community and anyone experiencing any kind of hate and violence knows that they are not alone. We stand in solidarity with the victim of this attack, just as we stand in solidarity with the survivors of other forms of abuse that happen daily on this campus and in our society.
To all of those that have reached out to us in the past few days, we deeply appreciate all of the support and encouragement.
Columbia Asian American Alliance (AAA)
Activities Board at Columbia (ABC)
Barnard Student Governing Association Incoming Executive Board 2013-14 (SGA)
Barnard Student Governing Association Outgoing Executive Board 2012-13 (SGA)
Black Students Organization (BSO)
Chicano Caucus of Columbia University
Chinese Students Club (CSC)
Columbia Asian Pacific American Heritage Month (APAHM)
Columbia Baha’i Club
Columbia College Student Council Incoming Executive Board 2012-13 (CCSC)
Columbia College Student Council Outgoing Executive Board 2012-2013 (CCSC)
Columbia International Relations Council and Association (CIRCA)
Columbia Japan Society (CJS)
Columbia Kappa Phi Lambda (KPL)
Columbia Lambda Phi Epsilon (LFE)
Columbia Liberty in North Korea (CU LiNK)
Columbia Political Union (CPU)
Columbia Por Colombia
Columbia Queer Alliance (CQA)
Columbia Sewa (Sikh Students Association)
Columbia Student Global AIDS Campaign
Columbia Student Wellness Project
Columbia University Democrats
Columbia University Scholar Chapter of Hispanic Scholarship Fund (HSF)
Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Rho Chapter
East Coast Asian American Student Union Board (ECAASU)
Engineering Student Council Incoming Exec Board 2013-14 (ESC)
Engineering Student Council Outgoing Exec Board 2012-13 (ESC)
Everyone Allied Against Homophobia (EAAH)
General Studies Student Council Outgoing Executive Board 2012-13 (GSSC)
General Studies Student Council Incoming Executive Board 2013-14 (GSSC)
Hindu Students Organization (HSO)
Hong Kong Students and Scholars Society (HKSSS)
InterPublications Alliance (IPA)
Korean Students Association (KSA)
Mu Chapter of Phi Iota Alpha
Multicultural Business Association (MBA)
Muslim Student Association (MSA)
Native American Council (NAC)
New York City Asian American Student Conference (NYCAASC)
Sigma Lambda Beta International Fraternity, Inc., Epsilon Delta Chapter
Society of Asian Soul Sisters (SASS)
Southeast Asian Development & Service (SEADS)
Southeast Asian League (SEAL)
Student Governing Board Outgoing Executive Board 2012-2013 (SGB)
Student Governing Board Incoming Executive Board 2013-2014 (SGB)
Student Organization of Latinos
Taiwanese American Student Associations (TASA)
The Residents of the Intercultural Resource Center (IRC)