The International Examiner reports that the staff position assigned to recruit Southeast Asian students to the University of Washington has been cut, sparking protests from students and Asian American Pacific Islanders.
Hmong and Laotians currently make up 0.1 percent of the campus student body and Cambodian students are just slightly higher at 0.4 percent.
“What message are we sending out to students who are Southeast Asian? It’s saying that they are not as important,” Tony Vo, director of the Asian Student Commission(pictured) said to UW officials. “It devalues their history and struggles. And this is what hurts the most, that there is no attempt at why we need emphasis on this population. And when it comes to racism, education, and history, Asians are never mentioned. Southeast Asians are never mentioned at all. And this erases the position of Asians as part of the conversation of people of color. This action that you are taking will marginalize our community.”
But Sheila Edwards Lange, Vice Provost for Diversity and Vice President for Minority Affairs, appeared unswayed.
“Let’s just be clear, it was always a temporary position,” Lange said. “There is no funding for this position.”
You can read more about the problems unique to Southeast Asian students in the International Examiner .