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Save Asian and Asian American Programs and Re-instate Dr. Sunita Mukhi

This petition had 1,517 supporters


February 26, 2013

Dear Dr. Samuel L. Stanley,

We are scholars, artists, writers, activists and students who have fought for diversity and equality in our campuses. We have rallied for the recruitment and retention of faculty and staff of color. We have advocated for inclusive courses and curricula that explore and pursue knowledge that is not limited to Western culture. We have done so because we believe that a legitimate American university, especially one that aspires to be a world-class research institution, must have a curriculum that studies the important endeavors of all humanity in race, class, sexuality, gender, nationality and religion—areas where advances in knowledge have produced real enlightenment and change, and where even more progress is needed.

This is why we are troubled by recent developments related to Stony Brook University’s Charles B. Wang Center for Asian and Asian American Culture.

• We are disturbed by the news that your University is planning to defund the office of Asian and Asian American Programs, reduce the number of Asian and Asian American programs, and downgrade the Wang Center to an ordinary convention center.

• We are equally disturbed that your office has dissolved the directorship of the internationally respected cultural organizer-artist Dr. Sunita S. Mukhi after 10 years of service.

• We view Dr. Mukhi’s non-renewal of contract as a case of racial and age discrimination. Dr. Mukhi is the only administrator at the Wang Center who is of Asian descent (born and raised in the Philippines) and is over fifty years of age.

These actions come at a delicate time, on the tenth anniversary of the Charles B. Wang Center.
Your plan raises several questions:

1. Is Stony Brook University against Asian and Asian American cultural programs?

2. Is the study of race, immigration, diversity, and Asian and Asian American history and culture not important to Stony Brook University?

3. Given that Asians and Asian Americans make up more than a quarter (27%) of Stony Brook’s student population, do they not matter to the University?

4. And given that the Wang Center is a unique and proven resource for Asian and Asian American culture, does its ten years of distinguished success matter less to the university than the commercial interests of a new hotel on its campus?

We urge you to reconsider your plans to defund and dissolve Asian and Asian American cultural programming at the Wang Center. Let the Wang Center remain a cultural resource and learning laboratory for Stony Brook University students and the communities of Long Island. In this critical global moment, when an emergent Asia is encountering a rise in anti-immigrant and anti-Asian sentiment in the U.S., the Wang Center still has so much more work to do. And with your support, it can be a space for learning about important issues regarding race, class, immigration and the arts.

Let your legacy during your term as university president be as an ally of the arts and a champion of diversity and Asian and Asian American culture.

Save the Wang Center for all students, all art lovers and all the communities of Long Island and reinstate Dr. Sunita Mukhi. We look forward to having a dialogue or hearing from you about these matters.

With respect,


1. Jessica Hagedorn
Writer & University Professor of Creative Writing
MFA Program
Long Island University, Brooklyn

2. Ralph B. Peña
Artistic Director
Ma-Yi Theater Company
New York City

3. R. Zamora Linmark, author
Manila and Hawa’i

4. Lisa Diedrich, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Women's and Gender Studies
Department of Cultural Analysis and Theory
Stony Brook University

5. Shirley Jennifer Lim, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Department of History
Stony Brook University

6. Allan Punzalan Isaac, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of American Studies and English
Chair, American Studies
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

7. Theodore S. Gonzalves, Ph.D.
Associate Professor and Chair
Department of American Studies
University of Maryland, Baltimore County

8. Elaine Kim, Ph.D.
Professor, Asian American and Asian Diaspora Studies, Comparative Ethnic Studies
University of California, Berkeley

9. Ricco Villanueva Siasoco
Director of Undergraduate Affairs
Prep for Prep, New York

10. Mauro F. Tumbocon
Film Festival Director
FACINE/ Filipino Arts and Cinema International Film Festival
San Francisco, CA

11. John D. Blanco, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Department of Literature, 0410
University of California, San Diego

12. Kathleen S. Yep, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Pitzer College, CA

13. Robert Diaz, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Women and Gender Studies Program
Wilfrid Laurier University

14. Fidelito C. Cortes, writer
Long Island, New York

15. Gina Apostol, novelist
New York City

16. Lara Stapleton
Lecturer and writer
English Department
Borough of Manhattan Community College of City University of New York

17. Joseph Legaspi, writer
New York City

18. Hossannah Asuncion
Kundiman Fellow
Education Coordinator, Institute of Culinary Education

19. Vernadette Vicuna Gonzalez, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
American Studies
University of Hawaii at Manoa

20. Cathy J. Schlund-Vials, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, English and Asian American Studies
Director, Asian American Studies Institute
Faculty Director, Humanities House
Department of English
University of Connecticut

21. Sarah Gambito
Assistant Professor/Director of Creative Writing
Fordham University, New York

22. Isagani Cruz, Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus
Department of Literature
De La Salle University, Philippines

23. Richard T. Chu, Ph.D.
Five College Associate Professor of History
UMass Amherst

24. Katherine Sugg, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Central Connecticut State University
Stony Brook University Humanities Institute affiliate

25. Joey Tabaco
Filipino American National Historical Society Metro NY Chapter Board Member
Filipino American Human Services Inc Board Member
Ronkonkoma, NY

26. Paula Chakravartty, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Department of Communication
University of Massachusetts, Amherst

27. Maria Josephine Barrios-Leblanc, Ph.D.
Lecturer, Department of South and Southeast Asia; Department of
Asian American and Asian Diaspora Studies
University of California, Berkeley

28. Theresa Runstedtler, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
American Studies
University at Buffalo (SUNY)

29. L.M.S.P. Burns, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Asian American Studies Department
University of California Los Angeles

30. Martin F. Manalansan IV, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Anthropology and Asian American Studies
Department of Anthropology
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

31. Sarita Echavez See, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Department of Asian American Studies
University of California, Davis

32. Gianpaolo Baiocchi, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Department of Sociology
Brown University

33. Joanne L. Rondilla, Ph.D.
Lecturer, Asian Pacific American Studies
Arizona State University

34. Christine Bacareza Balance, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Asian American Studies
Affiliated Faculty, Women's Studies
Core Faculty, Culture & Theory Program
University of California, Irvine

35. Nita Noveno
Adjunct Lecturer, English Department
LaGuardia Community College
Long Island City, NY

36. Gladys Nubla, Ph.D. candidate
Department of English
University of California, Berkeley

37. Dean Saranillio, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Social and Cultural Analysis
New York University

38. Anita Mannur, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
English and Asian/ Asian American Studies
Miami University of Ohio

39. Amy E. Martin, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, English Department
Mount Holyoke College
South Hadley, MA

40. Clod Marlan Krister V. Yambao
Assistant Professor, Department of Art Studies
University of the Philippines
Diliman, Quezon City Philippines

41. Dean Rolando B. Tolentino, Ph.D.
College of Mass Communication
University of the Philippines

42. Isabelle Thuy Pelaud, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Asian American Studies
San Francisco State University

43. Dawn Bohulano Mabalon
Associate Professor, History Department
San Francisco State University

44. Martin Joseph Ponce, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, English, Ohio State University

45. Allyson Tintiangco-Cubales, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Asian American Studies
San Francisco State University

46. Keith L. Camacho, Ph.D.
Professor, Asian American Studies Department

47. Angel Velasco Shaw
Media Artist, Cultural Organizer and Adjunct Lecturer; Asian American
Program Hunter College

48. Eugene Gloria
Associate Professor of English
DePauw University
Arts & Sciences Distinguished Visiting Writer
Bowling Green State University

49. Kevin Nadal, Ph.D.
Associate Professor,
John Jay College of Criminal Justice-
City University of New York

50. Filipino American National Historical Society- Metro New York Chapter

51. Rick Bonus, Ph.D.                                                                                       Associate Professor, Dept. of American Ethnic Studies                                   University of Washington                                                                                     Former president of the Association for Asian American Studies (2008-2010)


52. Luis H. Francia
Writer/Professor, Asian/Pacific/ American Studies Program Dept. of Social and Cultural Analysis
New York University

53. James Heintz, Ph.D.
Research Professor, Political Economy Research Institute University of Massachusetts

54. Laura Chen-Schultz
Deputy Director
Asian/Pacific/American Institute, New York University 8 Washington Mews
New York, NY

55. Robyn Rodriguez, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Department of Asian American Studies UC Davis

56. E.K. Tan, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Cultural Analysis and Theory Stony Brook University

57. Rick H. Lee, Ph.D.
Instructor and Coordinator of Asian American Studies Programming Departments of English and American Studies
Rutgers University



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