March 26 Mandel Communication - International Affairs and LINK Joint Statement

Dear Students and Friends of LINK,

We stand united as a supportive community in the face of challenging times with great uncertainty.  We have struggled to stay connected in the midst of COVID-19 impacting our world.  The Office of International Affairs and LINK (Local InterNational Konnection) student group fully support all our students and community during this global crisis.

We are acutely aware of our international students living with the daily reality of COVID-19 since initial onset of the virus in January.  The exhaustion from ongoing challenges is real.  Our families and communities are concerned about safety, health and well-being as we strive to stay social connected yet physically distant.  Recent rhetoric and actions have fueled xenophobia, discrimination and racism against groups.  We stand in solidarity against commentary that COVID-19 is a “China virus” as we advocate with our Chinese community and other groups at risk of being targeted.

The well-being of all our students is priority.  Please note the Mandel School leadership has worked diligently to assess and address the evolving needs of our students.  Although some needs are unique to different groups, the underlying message is simple: Be here for us.  International students completed a recent assessment of needs related to the impact of COVID- 19, which helped identify supportive resources.  We are pleased to announce the Mandel School is collaborating with a newly formed mutual support group with group administration by designated volunteers.  The support will be available to both international and domestic/U.S. students.  One of the volunteer leaders, Shiyue Qin, is an alumnus of the Mandel School and brings expertise from when he worked remotely to assist people in China during the first wave of COVID-19.  Yuwei Zhang, a current MSSA student and support group leader, has worked tirelessly to provide ongoing support to Chinese speaking international students through her cross-cultural supportive services at MAZE.

As we approach the scheduled date of our Annual LINK Silent Auction, we recognize the need to cancel this event is for the greater health and safety of our campus community.  Rather than supporting the LINK Silent Auction, we encourage you to support charities doing vital work to protect our communities against COVID-19.  Use your voice to advocate for social justice among the most vulnerable.  Let’s continue to build community.      

You are welcome to reach out with any questions, needs or suggestions.  We wish you continued health and safety as we move ahead.  Please take care of yourselves and each other.

Thank you and stay well,

Kimberly McFarlin, MSSA, LISW, MNO
Director of International Affairs and LINK Faculty Advisor

- And -

LINK (Local InterNational Konnection) Student Leadership Team