My Email to UCLA Chancellors

Please do not repost without my permission.

  • Chancellor Gene Block (chancellor@ucla.edu)
  • Vice Chancellor Robert Naples (rnaples@saonet.ucla.edu)

I emailed the following to Chancellor Block and Vice Chancellor Naples at 3P on Monday, March 14:

Dear Chancellor Gene Block and Vice Chancellor Robert Naples,

I am a two-time graduate of UCLA. I graduated with my BA in History and Asian American Studies in 2002 and earned my MA in Asian American Studies in 2004. I went on to earn my PhD and MS in Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois in 2009, and am now an assistant professor at St. Catherine University in St. Paul, MN, where I teach future librarians and advise the undergraduate Asian Women’s Association. The education I earned at UCLA was meaningful and served me well for my future endeavors. I am proud to be a UCLA alum.

However, I am incredibly upset at the recent video posted by current UCLA student Alexandra Wallace. Her hateful speech against Asian American students indicates that her education is failing her; if UCLA was providing Ms. Wallace with an education that “[fosters] open-mindedness, understanding, compassion and inclusiveness among individuals and groups,” then she would not have thought these thoughts and posted them so publicly on FB and YouTube. The way she states “our university” implies that she believes UCLA is a white institution and that Asians are perpetual foreigners undeserving of such an education. She also makes Asian Americans sound weak when she says that our parents have not taught us to “fend for [ourselves],” which perpetuates stereotypes that Asian Americans do not have any agency. Having survived not one but two graduate programs and snagged a job in a down economy, I’d say my parents taught me well how to fend for myself. Additionally, in light of anti-immigration legislation, the crusade against ethnic studies across the country, and ongoing hate-crimes against Asian Americans, it is imperative that educational institutions such as UCLA, home to one of the largest and highest ranked Asian American Studies programs in the nation, take a stand against such behaviors.

Again, I quote to you UCLA’s campus values: “We do not tolerate acts of discrimination, harassment, profiling or other harm to individuals on the basis of expression of race, color, ethnicity…”

Ms. Wallace’s video is an act of discrimination and harassment, an instance of profiling, and is harmful not only to Asian Americans but also to other students. If UCLA does not respond to this, your silence implies that you condone her behavior. As I’m sure you know, this tirade has sparked an enormous uproar from not only the UCLA APA community, but beyond. We implore you to take action.

With all due respect,

Sarah Park
UCLA BA History & Asian American Studies class of 2002
UCLA MA Asian American Studies class of 2004


Sarah Park, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of LIS
St. Catherine University
spark@stkate.edu
http://sarahpark.com

7 thoughts on “My Email to UCLA Chancellors

  1. What she said was insensitive and inflammatory, and her reference to the tsunami in Japan was beyond belief.

    However, she is entitled to her own beliefs . . . and whatever fallout comes from them.

  2. Kat Liu

    I hope when you call on UCLA to respond you mean to issue a statement. I would not want to see her expelled for the video, as offensive as it is. When these things happen (and they happen way too often), our collective reaction seems to be to call for the person to be fired/removed from whatever station they are in, I guess as a kind of punishment. That may send the message that there is a cost to voicing these sentiments out loud, but it doesn’t allow us to address what underlies them in the first place. I would much rather see Ms. Wallace take some classes in so-called “ethnic studies” than see her expelled, where she will just continue with the same thoughts/feelings but even more bitterness.

    1. Hi Kat, thanks for the comment. In no place do I ask the administration to expel her; I don’t think that’s the right response either, and I agree with you that expulsion would probably cause her to continue in ignorance and dislike rather than reconciliation. If you have a chance to read one of my other posts, Racial Fatigue (https://readingspark.wordpress.com/2011/03/15/990/) you’ll see that I say the police should protect her (against alleged death threats) and that she should get to reschedule her finals – for her safety. I hope you see that this implies that I see her as a continuing student at UCLA.

      “We implore you to take action” could mean any number of things – expulsion, suspension, mandatory volunteer service, mandatory courses and counseling, what have you. I was not specific in my demand for a response.

      Thanks for engaging.

  3. Patrice Yao

    Sarah- you hit the nail on the head with this one. Thanks for sharing your letter to the UCLA Chancellors and stressing the UCLA’s campus values. I agree that Alexandra’s post should bring responses from ALL students and not just AAPI students. Further, acts of violence do not warrant responses of violence. Though the community is rightfully outraged, the community must also respectfully address and use this opportunity as a teachable moment for all UCLA students. Hopefully Alexandra and others who may share her views will learn that this type of behavior will not be tolerated, especially in an environment of higher education and learning. The University has a responsibility to keep all students safe and I thank you for proactively addressing this with the UC system leadership.

    Thanks,
    Patrice

    1. Thanks for your support, Patrice. Still waiting to hear what the administration plans to do…

      I miss working with you on similar issues at Illinois! Hope you’re well.

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