ASUU Unanimously Passes Resolution to Support Asian Students


(Chronicle archives)

By Carlene Coombs, News Editor


ASUU has proposed a joint resolution in support of the Asian members of the University of Utah community because of the increase of Anti-Asian hate and violence during the pandemic.

The resolution includes recommendations for an Asian Student Resource Center on campus, adding a section on Asian-American history to current American history courses and an Anti-Asian Hate and Bias Taskforce to be established under the Anti-Racism Committee.

In 2021, anti-Asian hate crimes increased by 339% across the United States. This increase was significantly higher than in 2020 which saw a 124% increase compared to 2019.

The resolution passed the Assembly and Senate unanimously. 

Serena Aeschilman, ASUU senator for the college of engineering for the 2021-2022 academic year and senate sponsor of the resolution, said these resources are needed for Asian students because many don’t see them as people of color.

“By having that resource, it might bring more awareness to show that we’re also a minority and there should be a resource for us,” Aeschilman said. 

In the proposal for an Asian Student Resource Center on campus, the resolution recommends full-time staff members and a physical location to “provide a physical, emotional and mental safe space for Asian students.”

Mike Park, a recent University of Utah graduate who has been involved in activism in the Asian-American community, said he was approached last fall to help with the resolution by Tiffany Chan, former ASUU vice president of university relations.

Park said he saw this resolution as an important opportunity to implement systematic change at an institution that is the flagship higher education institution in the state.

“So if this institution can do it, then I feel like it would have a really widespread kind of rippling effect throughout the state or the country or you know, that’s the hope at least,” Park said.  

They’ll be contacting the Black Cultural Center and American Indian Resource Center to help the process of getting an Asian Student Resource Center. 

“We want to get as much help and support from them before we go to admin because quite frankly, more often than not, admin are pretty skeptical when it comes to big proposals like this, especially when we are requesting a physical space for this resource center,” Chan said. 

While the resolution has passed through ASUU, this doesn’t mean the school administration will implement the recommendations. Aeschilman explained the resolution just shows ASUU supports the recommendations and it’s something supported by the students. 

After the resolution passes, it will be sent to the Office of the President and the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion and these offices will have 60 days to provide a written response. 

The resolution also recommends an Asian student advisory council be created for representation at the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion meetings.

At the U, Asian-identifying undergraduate students make up the third-largest demographic group and the second-largest group among faculty members.

“The Asian community at this school really is quite large,” Park said. “The fact that we don’t have something that’s, you know, representative or supporting this community to us was very concerning.”


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