ECASU in the 1970s & 1980s

1977 April 150 Asian American students gather at Yale University to develop a vehicle to increase communication and provide mutual support to Asian American student organizations across campuses. The Inter-Collegiate liaison Committee (ICLC) is borne. 


Academic Year 1977-78
1977 Fall ICLC rallies against the Bakke Decision and begins to organize for a Spring conference at Princeton University.
1978 March 31 ECASU is formed out of the "Asian Student Unity" conference at Princeton. 275 students from 35 colleges
April 15-16 Simultaneously, over 3,000 miles away, the West Coast Asian Pacific Student Union (APSU) is formed.
Summer ECASU regions blossom. Asian Friendship Day picnic draws 350 students on June 24. Dances and other activities continue throughout the summer.
Academic Year 1978-79
1978 August Initial discussion on a proposal for the national linkup of ECASU and APSU.  

October 7 The first College Day is held in New York City to provide college and financial aid information to inner city high school students. 21 college participate and over 100 High School students attend.
October 28 College Day at Tufts University for the New England area students.
October ECASU promotes the establishment of Asian American History Week.
December ECASU split into two separate regions: Mid-Atlantic and New England. The Mid-Atlantic region subsequently becomes inactive.
Academic Year 1979-80
1980 April ECASU/NE sponsors "Asian Students Organizing for the 80's" conference at Harvard. A 1980 "Asian Awareness Month" Fall campaign is proposed to take place during the entire month of November.
Academic Year 1980-81
1980 October 26 Boston College Day at UMass Boston co-sponsored with the Intercollegiate Chinese Students Social Committee. 25 colleges attend.
November New York College Day. Interested Asian students meet to discuss Informally the prospect of revitalizing ECASU/MA.
ECASU/NE schools organize "Asian Awareness Week/Month" featuring a traveling slideshow and different educational events.
1981 January ECASU/MA begins to reorganize with the first formal meeting of campus representatives.
March "Asian Women, Myth and Reality conference cosponsored by Mt. Holyoke college and ECASU/NE.
Apirl "Improving communication" conference at Brown University.Formation of Asian Admission Task force in response to admissions quotas on Asians; first joint venture of New England and Mid-Atlantic regions.
May ECASU/MA participates in the Asian/Pacific American Heritage Festival in New York City and Princeton.
June ECASU/MA holds its first meeting since the split, becoming fully functional and active.
Summer "Sandy Hook Beach Picnic", ECASU/MA's first large scale event. Both regions begin to link up again.
First ECASU journal, Asian American Spirt, is published.
Academic Year 1981-82
1981 October 18 Boston College Day at U.Mass/Boston.
November New York City College Day.
1982 April 9-10 "Rising to the Challenge" conference co-sponsored by Harvard and ECASUINIE. 128 participants from 27 schools and organizations attend.
April 24 Fordham University and ECASU(MA co-sponsor an "Asian Spring Festival" featuring music, including Fred Houn on sax, Philippine dances and cultural events.
April At the "Asian American Perspectives" conference at Cornell, an Asian American Education Campaign Is proposed for the school year '82-'83.
Asian admittance rates visibly increase at many colleges as a direct result of eflorts by the Asian Admissions Task Force and other Asian student organizations.
July 16-18 First ECASU retreat at Dartmouth's resort in the White Mountains a fun-filled weekend of planning and recreation.
Academic Year 1982-83


As ECAASU enters the 21st century, we can proudly look back at a decade of organizing for social change. Over the years, we have made many gains, suffered setbacks, but always remained committed to our vision of social justice and equality that has inspired and touched the lives of thousands of Asian American students. We have a wealth of knowledge and experience from which to build and tackle tomorrow's challenges. Together, we will shape our own future and build a more lust and democratic society for all.

Founded in the late 70's in the midst of a conservative backlash ECASU has withstood the test of time with its ups and down's and proven itself to be a viable and effective vehicle for Asian American sudent activism, networking, and empowerment. While ECASU was a product of the 70's, it was the 60's that gave its original spirit and vision.

The 60's was a period of profound social transformation of U.S. society, driven forth by the Civil Rights struggles and the anti-war movement, and fueled by the awakening to the injustice and inequality rooted deep in the contractions of U.S. society. Asian Americans began to critically reexamine our own experiences. Disillusioned and outraged at the u.s. war of aggression in Vietnam, Asian American students were among the first to organize anti-war protests, realizing that we shouldn't be fighting abroad but here at home to better our conditions.

Inspired by the Civil Rights struggles, Asian American students fought along side other Third World students at San Francisco State and across the country to demand that the University serve the people and open its doors to students of color. After exhausting all channels of communications, Third World students resorted to rallies, sit-ins, and takeovers that forced the University to open its doors. For the first time in U.S. history, we won the right to a quality education and enter universities and colleges in significant numbers. Ethnic studies and other supportive programs were established to made education relevant to us.

During the early 70's, Asian American organizations were established to deal concretely with the needs and concerns of our people. Asian American student organizations (ASO's) were formed on campuses throughout the East Coast to address the issues of identity and educational rights. Some Asian American students went back "to serve our community" and formed community organizations to address basic issues of housing and health services.

Just when we felt we had made progress, efforts were already underway to turn back the clock to the pre-60's "good old days." In 1977, the Supreme Court upheld Allen Bakke's claim that he had not been admitted to UC Davis medical school due to 11reverse discrimination." This decision symbolized an all-out attack on the gains made In the 60's. It also sparked a huge struggle led by Third World students against this decision. The decision was a statewide challenge that required a new level of organization. Rallying against the Bakke Decision, Asian American students recognized the need for a network capable qt providing a broader perspective, mutual support, and the capacity for collective action. This led to the founding of the West Coast Asian Pacific Student Union (APSU), the Midwest Asian Pacific American Student Organization network, and ECASU, with regions in the Mid-Atlantic and New England.

The 80's was a period of conservatism with the Right on the move in attacking not only Affirmative Action, but also questioning: reproductive rights, language rights, freedom of speech, social services, environment, and "back to basics" in education. It was the "me" generation bombarded with "careerism" without any sense of social responsibility. As Asian Americans, we were touted as the "successful" "model minority In Newsweek and Time so that perhaps we would turn our back on our community and other people of color. All this came in the midst of wording economy anddeclining U.S. influences globally.

And the legacy continues...