Message to the SJSU community regarding anti-Asian American racism

Dear campus community,

I know that the recent killings in Atlanta have deeply affected members of our Spartan community, particularly women of Asian descent. I am aware that members of our Asian and Asian Pacific Islander and Desi/American (APID/A) community are fearful for their elderly relatives and friends who have been disproportionately victimized in violent attacks all over the Bay Area in recent months. They also are fearful for themselves, families, and friends.

The safety, well-being, and sense of belonging of all our campus community—in particular our APID/A community—during this period of fear and anxiety is deeply important. And my heart goes out to all those being impacted by hate-filled, racist actions that can occur anywhere. 

We invite all members of our Asian and APID/A communities to a “processing space” hosted by SJSU professionals this evening at 7 p.m. My sincere hope is that as many people who would like to do so will come together to share their thoughts, fears and feelings, and to show support for one another. 

What we have seen in recent days, weeks and months is, sadly, no “blip” on the radar screen. Such incidents, tragically, are a continuation of racist behaviors and attitudes toward Asian and APID/A communities that have been in existence for generations. The current increase in these violent acts are alarming and horrifying, and part of a broader set of systemically racist, exclusionary attitudes and actions that long have been part of our society. 

Racist hate in all its forms goes against every SJSU value. We denounce the ideologies and actions of all hate groups and all who perpetrate the kinds of attacks we have been witnessing across our nation and in our communities. 

We at SJSU can play a role in addressing racist actions against our community. After listening to the concerns of students, faculty and staff, I have tasked our Vice President for Student Affairs and Chief Diversity Officer to expedite the ongoing plans to build an APID/A (Asian Pacific Islander Desi/American) Student Success Center, building on the work of the APID/A Task Force. The center will be consistent with SJSU’s other cultural centers while being mindful of the size, diversity and specific needs of APID/A students.

Additionally, my leadership team and I will be visiting personally with Asian American faculty, students and staff in the coming days and weeks to express our support and listen to their concerns and offer our support.

Please join me in supporting our APID/A friends, colleagues, peers and others in a spirit of unity and solidarity.


Dr. Mary A. Papazian