Due to the recent rise in anti-Asian violent acts, Michigan State student leaders of the Asian, Pacific Islander, Desi American/Asian Faculty and Staff Association (APIDA/AFSA) shared their concerns and demanded change in the MSU faculty and staff at a virtual table talk last Friday.
Organized by Office of Cultural and Academic Transitions, or OCAT, Green Table is a space where Michigan State students can engage in topics that matter to them.
Former vice president of the Vietnamese Student Association and member of the Asian Pacific American Student Organization (APASO), David Tran feels that APIDA students at MSU have not been represented by the MSU administration.
He said that faculty and staff have not taken any action to help speak out for Asian American violence. Tran believes that now is the time that MSU faculty needs to listen to the voices and reflect on the things that have been going on not just in the society, but at MSU specifically regarding the APIDA community.
“Something that was really big, that I really advocated is for the endorsement of funding towards the APIDA programs such as organizations that are highlighted with cultural organizations and just donating to the CORES and COPS,” Tran said.
In addition, Tran said he would like to see MSU faculty provide an atmosphere to show that they really do care about APIDA organizations on campus.
“MSU professors and faculty can just check in with those that identify as Asian American or Desi Americans, because you may not know what’s been going on with (their) mental health,” Tran said.
He said that the small gestures that MSU professors and faculty make means a lot more than many would think.
“It’s a very hard time in our life,” Tran said. “Just check in when you’re hosting your zoom class, announce that these issues are going on and that 'We recognize and stand with them' is something that would just make us and the APIDA community feel more comfortable and safe.”
APASO President Chloe Majzel voiced her feelings towards being uncomfortable in spaces at MSU because she doesn’t feel the support from faculty and administration. Majzel identifies as a Chinese American adoptee and said that it has been hard for her to find a sense of belonging at MSU due to her background and where she is from.
“One of my challenges I personally faced as an APIDA student is connecting with the APIDA community,” Majzel said. “That’s one of the reasons why I ran for president for APASO, is to feel more connected because as an adoptee it’s really hard to feel a sense of belonging.”
Majzel said that MSU needs to educate students about APIDA history because it is often forgotten.
“I was going to take a James Madison class called Comparative Race and Ethnic Relations," Majzel said. "I didn’t end up taking it but on the syllabus, there was nothing about APIDA racism or anything. It was all Black and white and it just irks me.”
Majzel said showing support towards not only APIDA students is important, but also towards the Asian faculty at MSU.
"Two of my professors this semester are Chinese and ... they did not mention anything that's going on," Majzel said. "I think it might be hard for them to talk about it, and we need to address that and support our faculty too because they are trying to teach when they might be scared to go outside."
Majzel said that she has gotten several emails about steps to take next and is looking forward to working with administrators to implement these changes.
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