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College students push for Asian American studies at their schools

Support for Asian American studies programs is growing across the country.

Students at Williams College and the University of Minnesota St. Paul are asking their administrators to add an Asian American studies major.

According to the Williams Record, students, staff and faculty submitted a proposal for an Asian American studies (AAS) program on Nov. 3. An organization called Asian American Students in Action (AASiA) sent a survey to the student body to gauge interest in the program.

The organization received 279 responses, with 40 percent of respondents identifying as Asian or Pacific Islander. The survey found that 26 percent (72 students) said they were very likely or likely to declare an AAS concentration if it was offered. Additionally, 87 percent (239 students) of respondents said they were likely or very likely to enroll in Asian American studies classes if more had been offered.

AASiA co-Chair Sunny Hu ’24 said developing the program is especially meaningful to Asian American students at Williams College.

“There have been quotes and comments [in students’ survey responses] on how the current Asian American studies courses they’ve taken are ones where they feel safe,” Hu said.

The Minnesota Daily reports that students at the University of Minnesota St. Paul are also working to create an AAS department. First-year students Veronica Tan and Laichia Vang conducted a survey for their sociology class that found support for developing an AAS department and major.

“Many of them say that they would like to have these classes because in their past educational careers, Asian American studies is not focused on,” Tan told the Minnesota Daily. “It is always about European history or American history.”

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