Earlier this week, our nation was shocked by a series of murders that occurred in multiple locations in Georgia. Six of the eight victims were Asian-Americans who were targeted by a White gunman in an act of domestic terrorism.
This incident had been preceded by numerous verbal and physical attacks against Asian Americans in locations across the U.S., with many attackers falsely blaming Asians for the coronavirus pandemic. One group that tracks anti-Asian incidents in this country reported nearly 3,800 incidents of hate, discrimination or attacks targeting Asian Americans during the first 12 months of the pandemic.
Equally upsetting have been the excuses made in the wake of this tragic incident. The sheriff of Georgia's Cherokee County, where some of the killings occurred, was quoted as saying the suspect had merely "had a bad day."
Make no mistake: this was a hate crime, pure and simple.
We should all be deeply saddened by these incidents and reminded that institutional racism is alive and well in our country. As president of Wells College, I am proud to state that our community stands firmly against anyone who uses violence against Asian Americans, or any other person, because of their race, gender or gender identity. Under no circumstance is this behavior acceptable—anywhere.
I challenge all Wellsian students, faculty and staff to be kind to one another; to report incidents that do not represent our community standards; and to educate each other on the harmful effects of bigotry and hate. I encourage those who wish to share thoughts and ideas on this topic to attend a Community Discussion this Friday, March 19, at 1:00 p.m. We will be sending out a link shortly along with additional details.
If you, or someone you know is or has been involved in a situation where you believe that your identity has been attacked, I urge you to report the incident to Campus Safety at firstname.lastname@example.org or 315.364.3229, or to André Lynch, associate dean for student equity and inclusion, at email@example.com or 315.364.3313.
At Wells College, we expect members of the community to abide by our Community Standards Statement, committing to treat others humanely and with mutual understanding and tolerance. Any behavior that makes the College atmosphere intimidating, hostile or threatening is unacceptable. We ask for everyone's help in preventing and reporting incidents of bias and hate speech in support of the Community Standards that define our community as a safe and caring environment for all.