One important aspect of many American colleges and universities is the diversity one finds among the students on their campuses. In some regions of the country, there are universities where there is little diversity, but in many regions — and especially at all of the top-ranked universities — the racial, cultural and national diversity of the student body is considered a critical asset and a source of pride.
The Ivy League universities and other elite, prestigious schools like Standford or M.I.T. make a great effort in their promotional materials to advertise how diverse their student bodies are. They know that if they want to attract the best students, they have to persuade those students — even the white, American students — that their college experience will include the chance to meet and study with fellow students from many racial backgrounds, many different cultural backgrounds ….. and from many different nations, as well.
The History of the A3C (Asian and Asian American Center at Cornell)
Cornell Administration charged a task force to confront issues confronting the Asian and Asian American student community: JANUARY 2003 CORNELL NEWS
The ASIAN AND ASIAN-AMERICAN CAMPUS CLIMATE TASK FORCE REPORT (3ATF) was released by the Cornell Administration. Salient findings included: over-representation of suicides from students of Asian descent, high dissatisfaction of Cornell experience compared to other ethnic groups, feelings of belonging to Cornell community commonly absent. Two of the main recommendations addressed by this task force were:
- Hiring of a paid staff position to serve the Asian/Asian-American student community
- Implementation of an Asian/Asian American center to unify the AAA population
Members of ASIAN PACIFIC AMERICANS FOR ACTION (APAA) strove for an Asian American program house on campus. Nota bene: There is a current moratorium on constructing new program houses at Cornell University (i.e. no new ones are allowed)
Spring – a group of passionate student leaders met with the Vice President of Student and Academic Affairs, Susan Murphy, to lobby for an Assistant Dean for Asian and Asian American students
September – Vice President Murphy announced the creation of an Assistant Dean for Asian and Asian American students
November – RESOLUTION 8 was passed with an overwhelming majority in the Student Assembly. It called for the creation of an Asian and Asian American community center.
Spring – Asian & Asian American Center(A3C) was formed under the Office of Student Support and Diversity Education, Dean of Students, and members of APAA started meeting to lobby for the center
February – At the EAST COAST ASIAN AMERICAN STUDENT UNION (ECAASU 2008) CONFERENCE, held at Cornell that year, Remarks made by administration upset the 1500+ attendees. Administration’s remarks, were posted on numerous blogs, including nationally renowned WWW.ANGRYASIANMAN.COM
March – The ECAASU co-directors and other student leaders met with President Skorton and Vice President Murphy about ECAASU 2008 and Resolution 8. Skorton verbally agreed to a space designated for Asian and Asian American students on campus. Vice President Murphy started assembling a committee to figure out the details of the center.
March 31 – An Asian and Asian American Community Forum was held and Skorton publicly announces his support for an Asian and Asian American center and announces the committee.
October – The A3C Committee held a series of information sessions in order to update and inform students of A3C’s progress.
February – Patricia Châu Nguyễn was hired to fill the position of both Assistant Dean of Students for Asian & Asian American Outreach and Director of Asian & Asian American Center.
May – Sophie Sidhu is hired as the new Director of the Asian and Asian American Center and an Associate Dean of Students.
For more information, go to the student-created and managed A3C COMMITTEE’S BLOG to read more about how the A3C was created at Cornell.