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Asian American Studies Courses at Vassar College

This petition had 934 supporters

We, students of Vassar College, demand Asian American Studies courses, and ultimately, a substantive Asian American Studies department. Vassar’s current Asian American ‘program’ lacks an academic major; it is limited to an empty correlate sequence with no course list, no courses, and no faculty.

Vassar as an institution must acknowledge how this lack of meaningful structure is erasure and subsequently prioritize the needs of students of color. Asian American students deserve to see themselves and their varied, nuanced stories in their educational experience through comprehensive courses. What is more, it is unquestionable that the quality of courses we demand require tenured-track professors of color well-versed in this discipline.

The exclusion of Asian American Studies courses is more than just an issue of representation for the Asian-identifying members of Vassar’s student body. It points to a deeper issue - the deliberate disregard for Asian American narratives in academia, media, politics, and the American consciousness. Moreover, it impedes students of all ethnicities the opportunity to understand the important histories of Asian Americans in the United States. Ultimately, Vassar has an intellectual and social responsibility to educate its students on this interdisciplinary field that gives an invaluable critique of American history, society, and culture.

We are not alone. All across the nation, collectivized groups of discontented students and faculty are joining together within their respective institutions to demand Asian American Studies programs. In fact, many of Vassar’s peer institutions already boast comprehensive Asian American Studies departments, while Vassar has not one course currently running. As we send calls to action out to the vast Vassar alumni network and other Asian American Studies campaigns across the nation, the support for Asian American studies grows larger and larger.

In essence, we, the students of Vassar College, matter. We demand to have our voice heard. We will no longer sit idly by as Vassar erases our stories. We will no longer allow Vassar to take away our right to a substantive educational experience. We ask you to recognize that without Asian American studies, this institution fails to support and fully educate its student body. Join us in providing an education that recognizes our stories.

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