The horrific shootings in Atlanta last month heightened deep concerns about ongoing violence against Asian and Asian American communities. In response, the university will host a staff listening session on Thursday, April 15, at 12:30 p.m. CT.
The session will show support for and engage on issues of concern to Vanderbilt University’s Asian, Asian American and Pacific Islander community, including safety, policing, discrimination and mental health.
“During the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic last year, we saw devastating expressions of hate and anti-Asian sentiment that put many at risk and reflected values inconsistent with those we hold true as a university family,” said Dr. André L. Churchwell, vice chancellor for equity, diversity and inclusion. “As the violence has continued, we recognize the pain, anxiety and fear disproportionately felt by members of our AAAPI community and want to offer a safe space to share those feelings.”
Vanderbilt’s Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion will host the session, with Churchwell and panelists including:
- Eric Kopstain, vice chancellor for administration
- Cleo Rucker, chief human resources officer
- Rick Burr, assistant chief of police, Vanderbilt University Public Safety
- Anita Jenious, director of equal opportunity and access
- Jim Kendall, manager, work/life connections (Employee Assistance Program)
- Ben Tran, associate professor of Asian Studies and English
- Sophia Agtarap, director of communications in the Divinity School and leader of the new AAAPI Employee Affinity Group
- Paul Lim, associate professor of history and religious studies
- Lijun Song, associate professor and director of graduate studies, Department of Sociology and associate professor of medicine, health and society and Asian studies
Registration is required, and the session will be hosted on Zoom’s webinar platform with the intention of creating a space where people feel comfortable sharing and discussing how Vanderbilt can take meaningful next steps.
Community members are invited to submit questions for panelists. Those who wish to submit questions in advance can do so at the time of registration. Attendees may also share questions and thoughts during the session through the webinar’s “Q&A” feature.