March 18, 2021
Dear SF State Community,
In recent days and months, we have seen multiple examples of anti-Asian bias and hate crimes in the news. The shooting deaths of eight people, including six women of Asian descent, in Atlanta this week are a horrendous tragedy. The Atlanta shooting is in addition to the increase in anti-Asian hate incidents making news in the Bay Area and in Southern California which President Mahoney addressed in a message last month. Our thoughts are with the families and friends of those impacted directly and indirectly.
As the investigations into the Atlanta murders and incidents in our own communities continue, it is clear that we are experiencing an appalling rise in anti-Asian violence in the past year.
The Stop AAPI Hate organization, which includes Dr. Russell Jeung, Professor, Asian American Studies at SF State, among its leadership, issued a national report on Tuesday this week, which officially documents what many of us have heard anecdotally. The report identifies 3,975 anti-Asian incidents reported to the organization from March 2020 to February 2021, a dramatic increase from the same timeframe a year before.
Currently, the majority of us study and work from home. Not feeling safe in our remote/home communities is a real emotion and threat that many of our Asian American & Pacific Islander (AAPI) campus community members are grappling with.
Concurrently, in light of the increase in anti-Asian hate incidents, the following question has been raised, which we, as campus leaders, work to answer daily: How do we ensure SF State will be a safe place for our AAPI community, as well as other minoritized and marginalized communities, when we eventually return to campus?
- The recently-launched Bias Incident Education Team is a space to report bias-related incidents on campus.
- AAPI Student Services, under the leadership of Dr. Arlene Daus-Magbual, provides a space where students, staff, and faculty can connect, discuss, and explore complex issues. In early March 2021, this area, in collaboration with Associated Students, hosted two student-led forums to address anti-Asian violence and highlight historical and current coalitions and solidarity between AAPI and other minoritized communities.
- Asian American Studies is an academic space where students can learn about the history, challenges, and triumphs of the AAPI community.
- Counseling & Psychological Services can provide support to students who need it.
- The Employee Assistance Program offers counseling and other resources.
- Finally, the Division of Campus Safety will respond to urgent incidents on campus.
Social justice is part of the story of SF State. While we are not perfect, we continuously work to be better daily. As a campus, we stand with the AAPI community, condemn anti-AAPI violence, and promote an environment where everyone can feel included and safe to study, work, and learn.
Beth Hellwig, Ph.D., Interim Vice President
Student Affairs & Enrollment Management
Frederick Smith, Ed.D., Assistant Vice President
Equity & Community Inclusion