ECAASU Supports the Fight for Asian American Studies at the University of Pennsylvania

February 9, 2017

To: The Office of the President, University of Pennsylvania
1 College Hall, Room 100, Philadelphia, PA 19104

Dear President Amy Gutmann, Provost Vincent Price, and Dean Steven Fluharty,

The East Coast Asian American Student Union (ECAASU), a 501(c)(3) student-run nonprofit organization, stands in firm support of the Asian American Studies Undergraduate Advisory Board of University of Pennsylvania and their fight for the preservation of Asian American Studies (ASAM).

We urge the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) to not only meet all of the Advisory Board’s demands for the benefit of today’s students, but for UPenn students in decades to come. It is the responsibility of UPenn to meet the academic needs of its 2,000+ Asian/Asian American undergraduate students by offering courses that teach the rich history of the Asian diaspora. By discontinuing ASAM, UPenn will become an active participant in the erasure of Asian American experiences and representation. We believe that as an institution, you have a commitment to your students to provide a diverse array of curriculum that expands their understanding of themselves and others. Furthermore, the ASAM curriculum must be thoroughly expanded across multiple disciplines outside of merely English, history, and sociology. It is UPenn’s responsibility to recruit and retain dedicated ASAM faculty and staff to ensure the longevity of the program.

ECAASU’s mission is to inspire, educate, and empower those interested in Asian American and Pacific Islander issues. We understand that the experiences of Asians within the context of the United States are intertwined with the experiences of Black, Latinx, and Indigenous people. Thus, we further urge UPenn to invest heavily invest time, funding, and resources into these all Ethnic Studies programs at the university.

UPenn’s ASAM department has been an incredible resource for the thousands of students it has served. However, now that the program is being threatened again, UPenn must decide what side of history it would like to be on. In this tumultuous political climate, students need safe and empowering academic spaces more than ever. We hope you will decide to stand with students by providing such as space for them.

Jillian Hammer, Asian American Affairs Specialist
Kathryn Quintin, Executive Director