Pitt Community Responds to Violence Against Asian Americans

The Cathedral of LearningMembers of the University of Pittsburgh community shared their responses to the recent spate of violence targeting Asians and Asian Americans. A recent report by Stop AAPI Hate found a nearly 150% increase in hate crimes against Asian Americans in 2020. This story will continue to be updated.

Chancellor Patrick Gallagher

“The University of Pittsburgh stands in steadfast solidarity with our Asian students, faculty, staff, alumni, partners and friends. As a community, we firmly denounce anti-Asian discrimination of any kind. As a society, we can and must do better.”

Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor Ann E. Cudd

"I am deeply saddened by the tragic loss of life in the Atlanta shootings earlier this week, and especially because they targeted women, particularly Asian American women. Racist and misogynistic hate so deeply traumatizes our minority communities and reminds women that they are never safe. Such hate should have no home in our country, yet the reality is that it does. Let us work together across difference to understand and appreciate difference. Diversity—when we all can feel that we are valued equally—makes us stronger, smarter, kinder, and more resilient."

University Center for International Studies’ Asian Studies Center

Joseph Alter, director, and James Cook, associate director

“This [Atlanta shooting] is a hateful act that we deplore and condemn in the strongest possible terms. Because the victims are Asian, this act of violence, following on other acts in different parts of the country, produces a threat that is profoundly serious and deeply felt by our community of students, faculty and staff. … To this end we are engaged in efforts to build solidarity through collaboration with Asian American organizations around the country dedicated to finding solutions to the root causes of prejudice, discrimination and hate crimes. As we come together in grief, mutual support and condemnation of the violence in Atlanta, we express our sincere condolences to the families, friends and coworkers of those injured and killed in this senseless act.” 

Clyde Pickett, vice chancellor for equity, diversity and inclusion

“Throughout the past year in our COVID-19 pandemic state, and notably in the past few weeks, our country continues to witness and experience a rise in anti-Asian racism and violence spurred on by baseless, irrational assumptions and biased leaps of logic that cannot and should not be validated. … Our Asian and Asian American communities are vital threads of the Pitt fabric, contributing greatly to our enriching, multicultural experience and excellence. Our racial diversity is our strength, and it is crucial that everyone feel safe and supported here at Pitt.” See his office’s full statement and find more resources.

Kenyon Bonner, vice provost and dean of students

“I am deeply saddened by the news of these horrific shootings in Atlanta, and I send my heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims and to their communities. The increase of anti-Asian racism and rhetoric over the past year, as well as targeted violence against women, is disturbing. I understand that some students feel shaken or disturbed by these events. We are here to support you and stand in solidarity with our Asian students. Our clinicians at the University Counseling Center also understand the traumatic impact these events may have on your well-being, and you may wish to reach out to the UCC, where a professional staff member is available 24/7: 412-648-7930.”

Graduate and Professional Student Government Board

“This can be an anxious time for many members of our community, specifically those of Asian descent. Know that GPSG stands in solidarity for your rights and will continue to advocate for your safety and wellbeing.” Read the full message.

Lu-in Wang, vice provost for faculty affairs and professor of law

Wang, who has conducted extensive research on discrimination and is author of the book, “Discrimination By Default: How Racism Becomes Routine,” said: “It’s important to understand that bias crimes are not always driven by a single, ‘pure’ motive like hate; they are often crimes of opportunism. That is, what motivates a perpetrator is the very thing that makes these crimes so frightening and harmful: the idea that the members of particular social groups are suitable or acceptable targets for violence and harassment.”

Anantha Shekhar, senior vice chancellor for the health science and John and Gertrude Petersen Dean of the School of Medicine

“The rise in anti-Asian attacks nationwide is both undeniable and unconscionable. The University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences extends our support to members of the Asian community—on campus and off—during these difficult times.”

James R. Martin II, U.S. Steel Dean of the Swanson School of Engineering

“This past year we have battled not only the COVID-19 pandemic but also an epidemic of bigotry, racism, misogyny and hate in our country. Yet, just as defeating the coronavirus requires a shared respect for science, education and each other—as much as it does a vaccine—so too does combating racial and social injustice demand an understanding of and appreciation for each other. No matter our color, creed, nationality, sexuality or ability, we must stand together as a community to face hate with resolve and deny it a voice on our campus and in our neighborhoods—whether here in Pittsburgh or elsewhere around the world.” Read his full statement.

Heather Lyke, director of athletics

“Pitt Athletics shares in the profound grief collectively felt in the wake of recent violent acts against members of the Asian and Asian American communities. The victims and their loved ones are on our hearts and in our prayers. Our nation will never truly be great until we rid our society of such hatred, discrimination and ignorance. We condemn racism and stand together against the assaults on the members of the AAPI community.”

Daniel Jacobson López, chair of diversity and inclusion for Pitt Postdoctoral Association

"University of Pittsburgh Postdoctoral Association (UPPDA) stands in solidarity with our Asian friends, family, colleagues, fellow postdocs, faculty, staff, administration and students. We are appalled and outraged by the recent murders of those in the Asian community on March 17, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia, and the surge in violent incidents against members of the Asian and Asian American community. UPPDA not only stands against anti-Asian racism but supports and stands with the Asian community. At the University of Pittsburgh, we are dedicated toward supporting Asian postdocs and faculty during this difficult time." Read his full statement.