Dear Vanderbilt community,
In the midst of the ongoing public health crisis, we are witnessing an abhorrent wave of racism and violence in this country.
Since the murder of six women of Asian descent in Atlanta last month, as well as ongoing attacks against community members of Asian, Asian American and Pacific Islander heritage, we have been in close communication with Vanderbilt’s AAAPI community and are writing to update you about those discussions.
Attacks against community members of Asian descent are growing in number and intensity across the United States.
Racist acts and harassment toward the AAAPI community stand in stark contrast to Vanderbilt’s core values of equity, diversity and inclusion and will not be tolerated. As one community, we must stand united with our AAAPI community members against racism and discrimination.
In ongoing meetings with faculty members, postdoctoral researchers, students and staff from Vanderbilt’s AAAPI community, we are actively working on ways the university can more fully acknowledge, celebrate and support the AAAPI community while also educating others. We are exploring and planning initiatives in academics, programs and support services, and we will update the wider Vanderbilt community as these come to fruition.
We must provide a safe, inclusive and supportive environment in which a broadly diverse community can thrive. As we witness the painful attacks against the AAAPI community, we are reminded that we must redouble our efforts to provide support, to reflect on our own biases, to learn from each other and to do all of this in a compassionate and thoughtful manner that befits the Vanderbilt culture.
For those who have experienced incidents of racial bias or feel threatened amid the heightened tensions resulting from attacks against the AAAPI community, we encourage you to draw on Vanderbilt’s resources, including the Employee Assistance Program, the University Counseling Center, the Office of the University Chaplain and Religious Life and the Provost’s Office for Inclusive Excellence.
For those who wish to help their AAAPI friends and colleagues through this difficult period, we suggest the following:
- Support or join Vanderbilt’s Asian, Asian American and Pacific Islander Employee Affinity Group, which is part of a new university initiative launched by the Office for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in partnership with Human Resources.
- Read, share and continue the conversation surrounding the annual Equity, Diversity and Inclusion at Vanderbilt Report.
- Report incidents of bias against members of the AAAPI community at Vanderbilt.
Susan R. Wente
Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs
Dr. André L. Churchwell
Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer