Statement on Racism Towards Asians, Asian Americans, and Pacific Islanders

The Maseeh College of Engineering and Computer Science abhors and condemns racism in all forms and at all times, including the significant rise in racism and xenophobia toward Asians, Asian Americans, and Pacific Islanders during the past year. We are deeply saddened and devastated by the horrific acts of violence perpetrated on March 16th in Atlanta that left eight people dead, including six women of Asian descent.

Asians, Asian Americans, and Pacific Islanders have seen the ugly face of racism in the United States far too many times throughout American history, particularly during the past 170 years. Through multiple massacres, internment, confiscation and destruction of property, verbal and online abuse, and more, Asians, Asian Americans, and Pacific Islanders have endured, contributed greatly to our nation and its fabric.

During the past year, verbal and online racist harassment and acts of physical violence against Asian, Asian Americans, and Pacific Islanders have been perpetrated against the young and elderly and have skewed heavily toward acts against women. According to the Pew Research Center, by just the fourth month of the current pandemic, one in four Asian Americans feared physical attack. The many horrific events that have occurred since show that such fear was sadly warranted.

Don’t let anybody claim that rhetoric does not matter. Racist vitriol is the fuel that ignites acts of violence. Racist vitriol is the fuel that ignites fear in minority communities. When we see it, we should call it out and seek help if a situation appears dangerous. When we do not see it, we should remember that it exists and educate against it. And we should reach out to victims of racism to offer help and comfort. The group Stop AAPI Hate maintains important information, statistics, and tips on how to help if you witness acts of hatred.  

Wellbeing during this difficult time is so very important.  The Portland State Student Health & Counseling Center (SHAC) is an important resource available to students who may benefit from group counseling.  You may also find support in PSU’s Pacific Islander, Asian & Asian American Student Center (PIAAA), or The Cultural Resource Centers.  

I also encourage all students, staff, and faculty of the Maseeh College to demonstrate compassion for others during this difficult period. Should you witness or be the victim of an act of bias or violence, I ask that you report it to the Bias Review Team.

Students, staff, and faculty who have been affected by racist acts, wish to help those who have been affected or want to learn more, may also wish to visit the websites listed below.

Additional PSU Resources & Communities

Middle East North Africa South Asia (MENASA) Initiative

Office of Global Diversity and Inclusion (OGDI)

Additional Resources

Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon (APANO) 

Asian Health & Service Center (AHSC)

Immigrant & Refugee Community Organization (IRCO)

Unite Oregon

Additional Information 

TIME Magazine article:  Donating, Volunteering, Reporting Hate Incidents: Here's How to Help Combat Anti-Asian Violence

It’s well past time that we collectively starve racism and hatred from the hearts that carry it.  We must stand united and together in doing so.

Sincerely,

Richard L. Corsi 

H. Chik M. Erzurumlu Dean
Maseeh College of Engineering and Computer Science
Portland State University