Asian American Studies

2 petitions

Update posted 6 months ago

Petition to Mark S. Schlissel, Martin A. Philbert, Andrew Martin, Rosario Ceballo, Alexandra Stern, Michael J. Behm, Mark J. Bernstein, Shauna Ryder Diggs, Denise Ilitch, Andrea Fischer Newman, Andrew C. Richner, Ron Weiser, Katherine E. White

Fully restore University of Michigan's Asian/Pacific Islander American Studies

At the height of Asian/Pacific Islander American (A/PIA) Studies at the University of Michigan, we were part of a nationally renowned program offering a wide range of courses addressing race and justice. We had engaged faculty whose activities extended far beyond the classroom and whose mentoring served our organizations and programs on nights and weekends.  For the past 18 years, Emily Lawsin has been one of those cherished mentors. Professor Lawsin is an influential Asian American scholar and teacher as a full-time faculty member in the Department of Women’s Studies and Department of American Culture at the University of Michigan. With her classes in high demand and regularly oversubscribed, she has received multiple awards and recognitions for her teaching and public service. Since 2013 though, A/PIA Studies has been reduced to a shadow of its former self due to decisions by administrators who have failed to appreciate the program’s value and potential. The most dedicated faculty have been fired or pushed away -- in disturbingly similar ways as others at campuses across the country. The classes and programs we built up have disappeared. Because of this, the climate for A/PIA students and everyone at the University of Michigan has become less inclusive and more hostile. The College of Literature, Science, and the Arts and the University of Michigan must recognize the incredible accomplishments of A/PIA Studies and make it a cornerstone of the campaign for diversity, equity, and inclusion. The University of Michigan has the power within its grasp to restore its national leadership in the field of A/PIA Studies. We call for the full restoration of the tenured faculty that have been lost in Asian American and Pacific Islander Studies, including the restoration of the courses, scholarly expertise, student mentoring, and connections to community activism that have been lost. We call for the university to end the harassment of Professor Emily Lawsin and respect her ongoing right to a “presumption of renewal” as a Lecturer IV by immediately granting her 5-year contract extension, which was due December 31, 2017. We call for the university to reinstate Professor Scott Kurashige to his position as a Full Professor and Director of the Asian/Pacific Islander American Studies Program. We call for the university to meet the demand for staff, funding, and physical space that students, faculty, and staff deem necessary to fulfill the curricular and co-curricular needs of A/PIA Studies and related A/PIA cultural programming and activities. We call for institutional structures that ensure the A/PIA Studies Program has the autonomy to be led by its own stakeholders who are central to the work of the program and possess the expertise needed to promote its success. We can never again allow A/PIA Studies to be undermined by short-sighted administrators or department chairs that lack the best interests of the program. We call for the formation of a commission of external Asian American and Pacific Islander Studies experts to identify additional steps UM must take to become “the leaders and the best” in Asian American and Pacific Islander Studies. This commission must outline a pathway for A/PIA Studies to achieve departmental status. We call for the university to elevate its efforts and resources to combat the hate crimes and hostile climate on campus by increasing funding for student organizations dedicated to anti-racist awareness and education; hiring more ethnic studies staff and faculty; removing racist names from campus buildings; and ending the exclusion and marginalization of underrepresented minority students in admissions.

UM APIA Students + Alumni
2,560 supporters
Started 2 years ago

Petition to Williams College Curricular Planning Committee, Williams College Committee on Appointments & Promotions, Preident Adam Falk, Dean Marlene Sandstrom, Dean Denise Buell, Provost William Dudley

Establish Asian American Studies at Williams College

  The petition is open again—the fight lives: Recently, we presented a list of demands to the administration. These demands include the hiring of four Asian American(ist) professors over the next five years, and the establishment of an Asian American Studies program at the end of this five-year period. Currently there is only ONE tenured Asian Americanist on campus (with the recent additions of one visiting professor, and one untenured professor on the tenure-track).  The administration refused to agree to any of our demands; in response, we are protesting their decision to ignore the safety, health and education of their Asian American students, as well as the wider student body. Two years ago, we started this petition in hopes of pushing our university representatives to establish a space for us. Today, we continue the long tradition of students of color demanding the intellectual and political rights they have been denied. Until Williams establishes the institutional resources for which Asian American students are asking, we are NOT all Williams—we can’t afford to be, trapped as we are as mere faces on the College’s diversity pamphlets, serving cultural commodities to the community at large, with no institutionalized academic, political, cultural space of our own.  From the 2015-16 campaign: We, as Asian American students on this campus, have asked -- for 27 years -- nicely, urgently, passionately, and above all, reasonably, to see ourselves represented in our curriculum. We have faced the burdens of erasure, dehumanization, and tokenization: at the forefront in perpetuating these injustices is what we see as a crucial element of institutional racism. Our voices and our bodies continue to be anthologized and pathologized for us, in every part of our daily lives: the media, popular culture, and, most importantly, the academic and intellectual spaces in which we attempt our identity development. The Model Minority myth, Orientalism, and Yellow Peril have no place at Williams College, but the reality of the matter is that they will continue to exist unless all students are offered the opportunity to study the rich, varied, and often painful histories of Asian America. Next academic year, we will only have ONE tenured Asian Americanist, Prof. Dorothy Wang, and ONE Asian American course in the spring (none in the fall). We ask that you stand with us in support of our fight to end a 27-year battle for an Asian American Studies program at Williams College. Our goal is to create a FULL TIME tenure-track line for an Asian Americanist to be filled by the end of the 2016-17 year. With luck, we will not have to wait another 27 years to see an Asian American Studies concentration established. As members of the College, we deserve an intellectual space to call our own. We deserve to matter, and we hope you agree.

Williams College Asian American Students in Action (AASiA)
1,040 supporters