President Beilock and Vice President for Student Affairs Joseph Defraine Greenwell sent emails supporting the AAPI community following the anti-Asian shootings in Atlanta.

Editor’s Warning: This post contains the subjects of racism and murder.

Earlier today, Columbia Vice President for Student Affairs Joseph Defraine Greenwell and President Sian Beilock sent emails to Columbia and Barnard students supporting the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. These statements follow the recent racist anti-Asian shootings in Atlanta that left eight people dead—seven of whom were women and six of whom identified as Asian. Both statements are provided below.

Both affirmed that we must continue to denounce bigotry and stand up against hateful rhetoric, particularly in the wake of a dramatic increase in anti-AAPI violence during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Greenwell’s email, “Together we must uphold our shared values, particularly those of respect and the recognition of each of our fundamental worth. We will continue to denounce bias and bigotry in all forms and support each other, as a community.”

President Beilock’s email noted that in New York alone, there have been over 3,800 anti-Asian hate crimes in the past year. Greenwell added that over the course of the pandemic, there had been a steady increase in hateful rhetoric and violence against the AAPI community in the US, particularly against women. 

Greenwell reminded students that they can seek support at medical services, Columbia Psychological Services, and Religious Life and that students may reach out to the Dean of Students. He also reminded students that if they or someone they know have experienced bias, they can report it to the University through this form. Beilock referred students to seek support through the Rosemary Furman Counseling Center. She also provided additional resources from New York State to address anti-Asian discrimination and violence.

We at Bwog stand in solidarity with our AAPI staff, classmates, and Columbia affiliates. We denounce bigotry in all forms, and we encourage anyone struggling to reach out to Columbia Counseling and Psychological Services at (212) 854-2878 or the Barnard Furman Counseling Center at (212) 854-2091. We will continue to report on events as they occur, and we encourage our peers to use to suggest and provide information. We value your privacy and can offer anonymity if you decide to share your story.

Bwog has reached out to Columbia and Barnard Communications for further information regarding these statements, and we will update this article as necessary.

Update March 18, 2021 at 10:45 am EST:

A University representative alerted us to the occurrence of a virtual support space for Asian students, facilitated by Columbia doctors Sherina Persaud, PhD and Weiyen Chung, PsyD on March 19 at 5:00 pm EST. The University invites Asian International and Asian American students to “speak openly about their own experiences and reactions to this tragedy and the general increase in anti-Asian violence in a safe environment.”

Update March 18, 2021 at 1:18 pm EST:

In an email to the student body included in full below, Vice President for Student Affairs Joseph Greenwell offered information on further virtual spaces for support. He highlighted the aforementioned CPS virtual support space and also provided new resources for students at CUIMC. On Thursday, March 18 from 12 to 1 pm EST and on Monday, March 22 from 6 to 7 pm EST, Counseling Services will be offering “virtual drop-in gathering spaces” for students. Anyone interested is encouraged to email Counseling Services also offers a weekly AAPI Support Group, and more resources and spaces for support can be found by emailing

Statement from Vice President for Student Affairs Joseph D. Greenwell, sent to Columbia Students on March 17 at 1:36 pm EST:

Dear Students,

I wrote to you just weeks ago regarding the rise of violence against Asians and Asian Americans, and the need to stand together in the face of hatred. It is with a heavy heart that I write today in the wake of targeted attacks in the Atlanta area. Eight people have lost their lives, including seven women, six of whom were identified as Asian.

While the motivations of the attacker are not yet fully known, we have seen a steady increase of acts of aggression and hateful rhetoric against members of the Asian community in the United States throughout this past year, rooted in false perceptions about the COVID-19 pandemic. It builds on a history in this country of xenophobia aimed at Asians and Asian Americans. I am also mindful that violence against women remains a serious issue, and that evidence shows that Asian women have been disproportionately targeted in reported bias incidents.  

At Columbia, one of our greatest assets is our globally diverse community. Together we must uphold our shared values, particularly those of respect and the recognition of each of our fundamental worth. We will continue to denounce bias and bigotry in all forms and support each other, as a community.

I know for many of us this tragic news provokes anger and also anxiety. Please know you are not alone. There are many resources available to you, including counseling and psychological services through Columbia Health on Morningside or Student Health on Haven at CUIMC. You may also seek additional support through Religious Life or your Dean of Students.  If you, or someone you know, has experienced bias, you can also report it to the University or contact your Dean of Students.  

I am also available, and you can reach me by emailing

Take care,

Joseph Defraine Greenwell

Vice President for Student Affairs

Office of University Life

Gender Pronouns: He/Him/His

Statement from President Sian Beilock, sent to Barnard students on March 17 at 4:35 pm EST:

Dear Members of the Barnard Community,

I write today to extend support to members of our community who identify as Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) and Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) in the wake of the shootings in Atlanta. This unspeakable tragedy comes at a time when the AAPI community, including in New York City, has experienced an estimated 3,800 incidents of hate over the last year, fueled by racist speech and blame surrounding COVID-19.

Our community has and will continue to relentlessly stand up against the hateful rhetoric and actions that have become far too commonplace in our society. I remain in awe of the collective commitment from our students, faculty and staff as we strive to build a more just, inclusive, compassionate and kind world. It is this commitment that gives us the hope for better days ahead.

As always, we offer space for support and reflection through the Rosemary Furman Counseling Center and will be communicating separately about upcoming gatherings specific to the AAPI and BIPOC communities. In response to the rise in harassment and violence directed toward members of the AAPI community, New York City has also recently committed additional resources to combat Anti-Asian hate.

It can be hard to fathom the depth of grief, rage, fear and confusion we all are feeling in light of this most recent demonstration of American xenophobia and hate. I encourage all of our students, faculty and staff to take the time to reflect and grieve in their own way, while continuing to show one another the kindness, respect and grace that defines the Barnard community.


Sian Leah Beilock


Statement from Vice President for Student Affairs Joseph Greenwell, March 18 at 11:53 am EST:

Dear Students,

For many of us, myself included, this has been an emotional week, marked by constant reminders of the ways in which our lives changed so quickly since this time last year, and also with news of the tragedy in Atlanta just two days ago. I’ve taken some time this week to rest, reflect and connect with friends. I encourage you to do the same.

There is also much to be positive about – especially with news of the increased rollout of the vaccine – and there seems to be light at the end of this tunnel.

Columbia’s COVID-19 Vaccine Centers and Survey

In the coming weeks, eligible faculty, staff and students will be able to get vaccinated at one of these Columbia-operated Manhattan locations: 630 W 168th Street, 2702 Broadway, 2920 Broadway (Lerner Hall) and 51 W 51 Street. Additional locations will be opening up later this Spring. If you’re currently eligible, you can schedule your appointment at the Armory on 168th Street. Learn more in this March 10th message or on Columbia’s vaccine info page.

Please remember to complete this 5-minute, anonymous and confidential survey about your interest in vaccination. Your responses help inform the University’s planning efforts as eligibility guidelines evolve.

Quarantine Guidelines Update

Last week, the University announced updated quarantine requirements for anyone traveling outside the State, and for those who have been exposed to a person with COVID-19. Please read through them carefully if either of these categories apply to you.

Anti-Asian Violence: Virtual Support Spaces (Thursday 3/18, Friday 3/19 and Ongoing)

For students on Morningside:

In light of the deadly violence in Atlanta, Counseling and Psychological Services is holding a virtual support space for Asian International and Asian American Columbia students to speak openly in a safe environment about their own experiences and reactions to this tragedy and the increase in anti-Asian violence. The support space will meet on Friday, March 19 at 5:00 PM ET. Students who would like more information/receive the Zoom link can email or with “Asian Support Space” in the subject line.

For students at CUIMC:

Counseling Services and Well-Being and Health Promotion are co-facilitating two virtual drop-in gathering spaces for students wishing to debrief their experiences and receive support on Thursday, March 18 from 12-1 PM ET and on Monday, March 22 from 6-7 PM ET. Students interested in attending should email to request the Zoom link. Those looking for ongoing support may be interested in Counseling Service’s weekly AAPI Support Group; they are also developing liaisons with various student groups across campus. To learn more, please email Counseling Services:

If you have any thoughts, questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact me at any time. I wish you a safe and restful weekend.

Take care,

Joseph Defraine Greenwell, Ed.D.

Vice President for Student Affairs

Office of University Life

Gender Pronouns: He/Him/His

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