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November 8, 2007 Meeting Attachments Resolution 8

R.8 Resolution for the Improvement of the Well-being of the Asian and Asian American Population at Cornell

Originally Presented On:November 1, 2007
Sponsors:Adam Gay, Andrew Wang, Rebecca Lee, Linda Yu, Naveen Dasa, Mark Law, Bhavna Devani
Subject of Resolution:Resolution for the Improvement of the Well-being of the Asian and Asian-American Population at Cornell
Status/Result:First Placed on the Agenda — November 1, 2007
Updated November 7, 2007
Placed on the agenda as Unfinished Business — November 7, 2007
Updated November 8, 2007

Whereas, in 2002, Vice President Susan Murphy and Provost Biddy Martin commissioned the Cornell Asian and Asian American Campus Climate Task Force Report;

Whereas, the report’s findings in 2004 were:

  • More than half of the 20 student suicides occurring at Cornell between 1996 and 2004 were by students of Asian descent.
  • Bias-related incidents at Cornell, including verbal, physical and sexual attacks, often involve women of Asian descent.
  • Only 6.5 percent of faculty and 2 percent of nonacademic staff at Cornell are Asian.
  • Students of Asian descent who graduated in 2000 were least satisfied with their Cornell experience on a number of variables, including accessibility of faculty members and the quality of academic advising and counseling services.
  • Students of Asian descent underutilize mental health services.
  • Asian and Asian American students are subject to the “model minority” stereotype, holding that they do not need services beyond those offered to the general student body. This illustrates a perceived lack of recognition and awareness of the reality, experience, and impact of racism and stereotyping as they relate to Asians and Asian Americans.
  • Finally, while suffering the consequences of being racially marked, Asian and Asian-American students at Cornell have been rendered “conceptually invisible.”

Whereas, the report’s highest priority recommendations were:

  • To establish a centrally located Asian and Asian-American student community/cultural center or space.
  • To establish a staff position dedicated to Asian and Asian-American student programs and support, with responsibilities to coordinate, create, and promote original programs and supplement existing programs campus-wide.

Whereas, the 2004 report concurs that “regardless of whether they [students of Asian descent] just arrived in the U.S., or if their family has been here for generations, individuals of Asian descent are likely to be subjected to a widespread assumption of foreignness”;

Whereas, the report has addressed some of the concerns of the Asian and Asian-American community including the establishment of an Assistant Dean position for Asian and Asian American student support, but there are considerable issues that still remain unaddressed. Among those issues unaddressed is the establishment of a centralized space for Asian and Asian-American student support.

Whereas, in President David J. Skorton’s inauguration, he described the need to “continue and accelerate the transformation of the undergraduate experience at Cornell” and to “further improve” diversity within the student body;

Whereas, many of our peer institutions have centers specifically devoted to promoting the unique Asian American cultural experiences in the community with the goal of enriching student life for Asian Americans, and devoted to addressing the needs and interests of Asian Americans and those interested in Asian American issues. These Asian American cultural centers provide the university with a space to gather and share the diverse and rich cultures that are a part of the Asian American experience; some examples include:

The Asian American Activities Center at Stanford which provides “various resources in hopes of creating a deeper understanding of Asian American culture and experience.” The center offers support for affiliated student organizations, organizational and personal advising, an Asian American library, computing resources, meeting rooms and a lounge. [www.stanford.edu/group/a3c]
The Asian American Cultural Center at Yale “promotes the culture of Asian Americans and explores the social and political experience of Asians in the United States. The many educational events — conferences, dinners, lectures, cultural shows, movie nights — are open to all.” [www.yale.edu/aacc]

Whereas, the Asian American Studies Program at Cornell University was founded in 1987 and was the first program on the East Coast;

Whereas, the Asian American Studies Program courses are “dedicated to illuminating the intersectional nature of Asian American identity, community formation, and politics by emphasizing the connections among race, class, ethnicity, national identity, gender, and sexuality”;

Whereas, undergraduate Cornell students can currently only receive a concentration in Asian American Studies and cannot major in the program;

Be it Therefore Resolved, the Cornell University administration take a more proactive role in providing greater academic, professional, and social resources aimed at supporting the well-being of the Asian and Asian-American student population at Cornell.

Be it Resolved, that the Student Assembly strongly urges Cornell to do the following for the Asian and Asian-American student population:

  1. Creation of a centrally located cultural center
  2. Continued support of the establishment of an Assistant Dean position devoted to the Asian and Asian-American population
  3. Further research on the climate of the Asian and Asian-American community

Be it resolved, that such a space that Cornell University would provide:

  1. A gathering place, a meeting space, a hub, support for Asian and Asian-American student organizations,
  2. Connections among Asian and Asian-American groups and with orientations to the broader community,
  3. A connection with a student support system,
  4. A range of resources that are readily accessible,
  5. Walk-in hours offered by staff providing outreach from the offices around campus, as well as by the Assistant Dean’s office proximity to other multicultural programming, peer counseling and peer support services, and
  6. Programming that captures an array of Asian cultures providing all students with an education in the Asian culture.

Be it Further Resolved, that this resolution be sent to President David J. Skorton, Vice President of Student and Academic Services Susan Murphy, Provost Biddy Martin, Vice President for University Communications Tommy Bruce, Vice President for Undergraduate Education Michelle Moody-Adams, Vice Provost for University Faculty Charles Walcott, and Dean of Students Kent Hubbell.

Respectfully submitted by,

Adam Gay ‘08
Vice President for Finance

Andrew Wang ‘08
Member-At-Large

Rebecca Lee ‘08
Concerned Student

Linda Yu ‘08
Concerned Student

Naveen Dasa ‘08
Concerned Student

Mark Law ‘08
Concerned Student

Bhavna Devani ‘05, PhD candidate
Concerned Student

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