HomeCampusCornell Considers Creation of Asian American Housing Area

Cornell Considers Creation of Asian American Housing Area

Cornell University
Photo by Bill Price III

The Residential Student Congress passed a resolution for the creation of an Asian and Asian American cultural residential area at Cornell University.

The resolution, which still needs to be approved by Vice President for Student and Campus Life Ryan Lombardi before becoming a reality, describes the “living learning unit” as a resident hall floor where “Asian & Asian American individuals [can] connect with their peers, their heritage, and their cultural community,” reports The Cornell Sun.

Kianna Early ’18, Residential Student Congress President,  equated this residential plan to Asian-interested fraternities and sororities.

Several other major universities also offer Asian American themed housing including Rutgers, UC Berkeley, UC Davis, Tufts, Stanford and University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

UC Davis Asian Themed Housing Alder Hall
Alder Hall at UC Davis is an Asian Pacific American theme house. Photo: UC Davis

At all of these campuses, students do not need to identify as Asian/Asian American in order to participate in the community. The residential communities are academically and leadership-oriented in nature, and unite students by their shared interest in exploring the Asian/Asian American experience.

Reed College has The Students of Color Community (SOCC), which their website describes as “an intentional living community for students of color from all backgrounds to heal together.” Reed’s statement from 2016 was more specific, stating that The SOC “is an intentional living community for returning students of color to heal together from systemic White supremacy, recover the parts of ourselves and our cultures that have been stolen through colonization, and dream new visions as we build vibrant, loving community together.”

While advocates of ethnic/cultural housing believe building these communities can benefit those interested in Asian American Studies and/or exploring their Asian/Asian American identities, others argue that exclusive residential spaces resemble “separate but equal” facilities, encourage self-segregation, and divide the campus community.

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