Office of the President

Standing together with the Asian and Asian American community

March 2, 2021

Dear Brandeis Community,

When COVID-19 began to change life on our campus and in the United States a year ago, the Asian and Pacific Islander community came under unfair attack, suffering bias incidents and hate crimes throughout the country. This trend has not only continued, but worsened. In recent weeks, we have seen an increase in violent attacks on Asians and Asian Americans around the country, particularly on elders.

As I have noted before, the history of Brandeis is intertwined with the pursuit of justice. Our university was founded in response to antisemitism and bigotry. When we encounter discrimination, hatred, or violence against another person based on their race, religion, or background, we must condemn these acts and join together in opposition to injustice.

In that spirit, I urge us all to consider how we can support those in our community who are particularly affected by these events. One opportunity to come together is being offered by the Brandeis Asian American Student Association (BAASA). Open to the entire Brandeis community, this event will engage the campus on the recent anti-Asian violence and will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 18. Please look for a campus email with more information on this event.

A surge in hate crimes such as these can affect individuals' mental health, even if they have not experienced it directly. There are a number of resources at Brandeis that can provide support during this period, including the Brandeis Counseling Center, the Intercultural Center, and the Center for Spiritual Life. Brandeis employees can seek assistance from the Employee Assistance Program. Faculty, staff, and students can also visit the Support at Brandeis website to review the comprehensive list of services available to everyone. Our Public Safety website includes information and resources related to safety and crime prevention. We know our own community is not immune to the expressions of bias we see in the broader world. If you feel you have experienced harassment or discrimination at Brandeis, the Office of Equal Opportunity is responsible for addressing all issues of discrimination, harassment, and sexual violence within the Brandeis community and stands ready to work with students, faculty, or staff. All of these resources are available whether you are on or away from our campus.

Even as we continue to operate in a hybrid mode with some of us on campus in Waltham and others spread across the globe, I know we will find ways to connect with each other and join together in support of the many Asian and Asian American members of our community.