Memo from Dean Alain-Philippe Durand

March 18th, 2021

Dear Colleagues, Students, and Friends—


We are shocked and saddened by Tuesday’s murders in Georgia and condemn the violence and unacceptable rise of hate against Asian American Pacific Islander communities since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic a year ago. We mourn for the victims, their families and the broader Asian American Pacific Islander community that has endured ongoing abuse and discrimination. 

Six of the victims were Asian American women and these heinous actions are not just the result of dangerous racialized stereotypes but also of harmful gendered stereotypes about Asian-American women. No form of gender-based violence or anti-Asian hate should have a place in our world, our country, our communities or our campus. 

The Stop AAPI Hate reporting center has catalogued nearly 3,800 firsthand accounts of anti-Asian hate and abuse between March 19, 2020 and Feb. 28, 2021. More than two thirds of the reported incidents targeted women. Those accounts represent only a fraction of the number of hate incidents that actually occurred. Early in the pandemic, College of Humanities faculty spoke out against the rise in xenophobic and racist rhetoric and the dangerous potential to incite harassment and violence.

We reject the sort of hateful and racist rhetoric that has put Asian American and Pacific Islander communities at risk and we stand in solidarity and grief with those who have been harmed. We also acknowledge the history of white supremacy and anti-Asian discrimination, in the United States and elsewhere, that has contributed to the systemic injustices that are still prevalent today. 

The College of Humanities is launching a new minor in Asian Pacific American Studies that will educate students about the complex history and contemporary experiences of Asian peoples in the United States. As an academic community, we are committed to the principles of diversity and inclusion and we will continue to work toward a future in which all people are treated with equal dignity. 

Various resources exist for support, education and advocacy, including Stop AAPI Hate and the Asian American Advocacy Fund. On campus, the Asian Pacific American Student Affairs staff has prepared a mental health wellness page, and the University provides an opportunity to report threatening behavior and/or bias on this page.  

With sadness, anger, and hope for the future,

Alain-Philippe Durand

Dean, College of Humanities
University of Arizona