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Asian Student Groups Demand Better Anti-Racism Response From Duke


Asian student groups at Duke University came together to pressure the administration to come up with better responses and measures in the wake of racist attacks targeting Asian communities in the US.  

With the support of other organizations, the Asian American Studies Working Group (AASWG) wrote a letter to President Vincent Price, the Board of Trustees, and other university administrators expressing their disappointment with the administration’s lack of initiative in ending anti-Asian racism.

In the letter, the groups claim that Price has been silent regarding the issue. The email that he sent to the Duke community was also characterized as insufficient and lacking in any real substance since no changes have been made on campus to address racism. 

“The email was not only disingenuous and perfunctory but despite initial condemnation, Price has moved little to none with tangible actions in addressing xenophobic, racial biases and hate crimes against the Asian and Asian American community, especially at Duke,” the letter read.

The muted response from the university president further fueled the group’s frustration over alleged racist actions committed by university leaders, faculty, and other students. This included a Kappa Sigma fraternity party where attendees dressed up in racially insensitive outfits and an incident where Megan Neely, the graduate studies director of the biostatistics program, wrote an email prohibiting students from speaking Chinese in the department.

The group noted that the lack of effort from school officials shows the “dismissiveness and lack of acknowledgment of Duke’s Asian communities and students by higher administration.” 

Student groups feel that the burden of supporting their own communities rests solely upon their own shoulders. To lighten the load, they listed demands for Duke administrators to review and hopefully implement.

It includes maintaining the university’s agreement to establish the Asian/American and Diaspora Studies as well as a larger Ethnic Studies department. The students also want a cultural center that provides mental health resources for students of color and the creation of a hate and bias policy.

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