A Joint Statement of Support for the Asian Community

On March 6, 2021, Interim President Scott Cowen and Provost and Executive Vice President Ben Vinson III issued a statement in response to recent attacks against those of Asian descent. In it, they stated that hate crimes and harassment will not be tolerated and reiterated Case Western Reserve University's commitment to diversity and inclusion. They expressed again that all are welcome and needed here and that each of you is part of our university community.

To the Case Western Reserve Community,

We write today in response to the increasing frequency of violent attacks against Asian people in the United States and to express our unequivocal support for Asian community members both at CWRU and in Greater Cleveland.

As you may be aware, since the beginning of the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and the worldwide pandemic, the number of attacks against Asian people based solely on their appearance has increased exponentially. (Research also shows identity-based attacks against Asians are not new and usually go significantly underreported.) In some regions of our country, the increase in anti-Asian crime is nearly 2,000%. In other regions, as one community member explained, “Our seniors are afraid to walk their own streets.” Many of these attacks appear unprovoked, increasingly aggressive, and exceedingly violent. Members of our own university community have been victims of these personal attacks. 

The use of hateful terms like “China flu” and “kung flu” has not abated, even with the administration change in Washington, D.C. These slurs make people who appear to be of Asian descent vulnerable to crimes. Children are not immune either. Asian American students have reported taunting, bullying and physical attacks in schools.

We state first, and unequivocally, that we condemn these acts of violence and hatred in the strongest of terms. The criminal behavior targeting Asians cannot be tolerated in a civil society, nor will it be tolerated on our campus.  

To our Asian community members who have experienced hateful acts such as these, we want you to know we hear you, we see you, we believe you, and we support you. You are CWRU family members and always welcome here. As a university, we stand by our core values of true diversity and true inclusion. You are valued, integral members of our community.  If you or someone you know has experienced targeted attacks like those described in the linked articles, we encourage you to report it through our Community Concerns Reporting System so the university can both address the current situation and track larger trends. If you would like to speak with someone confidentially about your experiences, please reach out to University Counseling Services at any time for assistance.

To our CWRU community, we encourage you to consider ways to address and eradicate identity-based violence in our community and beyond. Consider joining local advocacy organizations like OCA Greater Cleveland, MotivAsians and OPAWL, and amplifying Asian and Asian-American Pacific Islander voices. Consider signing up with organizations like Stop AAPI Hate to learn more about these issues and advocate for inclusive values in Washington, D.C.  We also encourage you to support Asian-owned businesses, including the many restaurants and grocers in Cleveland’s AsiaTown and those throughout the Greater Cleveland area. Make support of Asian businesses part of your routine as you live, study and work in Cleveland.

We applaud the passage of the emergency resolution condemning racism, xenophobia, hate speech, intolerance and discrimination passed by the Cleveland City Council on March 1, which was introduced by Councilmember Basheer Jones, representative to AsiaTown and Cleveland’s Ward 7. We encourage City Council members Blaine Griffin and Kevin Conwell, representatives to the CWRU campus, to continue their efforts to protect our Asian communities in the Greater Cleveland area and to provide more resources and support for AsiaTown residents.

We recognize there is a great deal to be done, but there is also good work happening. We applaud and support the efforts of the Community Innovation Network at the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences, one example of many we could cite. We encourage every member of the university community to continue participating in the good work that is being done across our region, state and country on behalf of justice and equity. For additional information and resources, contact the Office of Multicultural Affairs, the Center for International Affairs or the Community Innovation Network. 
In solidarity,

Sustained Dialogue
Asian Faculty Association
Baker-Nord Center for the Humanities
Case School of Engineering
Center for Civic Engagement and Learning
Center for International Affairs
Center on Urban Poverty and Community Development
Cleveland Health Sciences Library
Community Innovation Network
Dean of Students
Department of Art History and Art
Department of Political Science
Disability Resources
Diversity Leadership Council
Division of Public Safety
Flora Stone Mather Center for Women
Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing
Inamori International Center for Ethics and Excellence
InterReligious Council
Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences
Kelvin Smith Library
Leonard Gelfand STEM Center
LGBT Center
Office for Inclusion, Diversity and Equal Opportunity
Office of Diversity and Inclusion, School of Law
Office of Diversity Initiatives & Community Engagement, School of Medicine
Office of Greek Life
Office of Interprofessional Education, Research and Collaborative Practice
Office of Multicultural Affairs
Office of Residence Life
Office of Student Activities & Leadership
School of Graduate Studies
School of Law
Schubert Center for Child Studies 
Social Justice Institute
The Alumni Association of Case Western Reserve University
University Health & Counseling Services