Hateful attacks on our Asian and Asian American communities
The following message is being emailed to all students.
We write today in the wake of continued, hate-fueled attacks directed at our Asian and Asian American communities on campus. We are deeply concerned and outraged by these racist acts. We condemn the ideology of white supremacy and nativism that drives such acts, and offer our support to all those impacted. Such behavior offends and violates our university values and shared humanity. To that end, we must do all the more to connect with our students and communicate with the wider community the tenets that we hold dear.
Information on recent incidents and action taken to address these incidents
On November 8, a student was pushed off her bike by a woman between 30 and 40 years of age and of average build, with short, light-brown hair and wearing a black rain coat. The woman then yelled racist remarks at the student, who is of Asian descent. This occurred at Jane Stanford Way near Arguello Way. The student reported no physical injuries. But we understand that the emotional trauma of such an abhorrent racial attack can reverberate throughout our Asian and Asian American communities and our campus community as a whole.
The incident is being classified and investigated as an assault/battery and a hate crime. The Stanford University Department of Public Safety (DPS) believes it has identified the likely suspect and the investigation is ongoing.
This is all the more distressing as this act of physical violence follows at least eight months of frequent reports of verbal attacks directed at our Asian and Asian American communities. Earlier verbal assaults were perpetrated by three men acting separately, riding bicycles through campus and yelling racial epithets at Asians and Asian Americans. One of the individuals also used language disparaging to women. The university responded by banning these individuals from campus, and we do not believe they have returned since these measures were put in place. However, on Tuesday, students of Asian descent reported two more racist verbal assaults carried out by women.
DPS has been and continues to investigate these incidents and take appropriate actions. We urge community members to report such incidents to law enforcement as soon as possible by calling 911, or 9-911 from a campus phone.
A proactive strategy for institutional change
The university takes these attacks seriously and as an assault on our most deeply held values. Members of our university community continue to be targets of hate. We have to be alert to the polarizing political landscape, one that is too often informed by historical and institutionalized forms of racism and discrimination. We stand firmly behind our commitment and responsibility to create a safe and inclusive environment for all.
We know the university must do more than simply respond to attacks after they happen. We must create a proactive strategy of institutional change that advocates for and is supportive of those under attack. This means crafting concrete structures to nurture communities of belonging and empowerment, including continuing to advance the excellence of our community centers. This means relentlessly pursuing the goals of IDEAL to increase faculty diversity; to develop, promote and hire staff of color into positions of leadership all across the university; and to invest in the programs, both academic and co-curricular, that support and advance marginalized communities. This means thinking critically about who we are and who we want to become, not in words alone, but in action. We are committed as university leaders to advancing these actions for change.
As the university seeks to find and take action against the perpetrators of these acts, we are called to stand together, working side by side to create change and build a community of equity, justice, and belonging.
Vice Provost for Student Affairs
Senior Vice Provost for Education
Dean for Religious Life