Students argued for increased faculty and a resource center. In an effort to raise awareness and elicit a response from the University, Asian-American student leaders held a speakout Friday on College Green to voice their grievances over the small number of Asian-American faculty and the lack of a resource center. Even though they make up roughly 25 percent of the University's population, Asian-American students say they are severely underserved. "The administration at the University of Pennsylvania has neglected us.? We're not some outsiders saying 'hey, give us something,' we're part of the community," said Engineering senior Mark Yoshitake, president of the Penn Nihon Club and the emcee of the event. "We need support from the University, and we want it now." Yoshitake added that there are about 15 Asian-American faculty and staff at the University to support nearly 2,000 students. College senior Edward Southgate, a member of Lambda Phi Epsilon, also referred to the disparity, saying, "It's critical to rectify the gap between the number of Asian-American enrolled students and the number of faculty to support them." Many of the speakers noted the need for Asian Americans to take action and express their concerns to the administration. "The stereotype of us as the model minority is really misleading," said Vinay Harpalani, a doctoral student in the Graduate School of Education. "It makes us think that everything is OK and we don't have to speak out." Other students echoed this sentiment, emphasizing the importance of students being persistent in their requests for support from the University. "The University addresses student issues by saying 'we'll see what we can do,' and hope that they'll forget and go away," said Andrew Chai, a Wharton junior and president of the Undergraduate Thai Student Association. Hoa Duong, a College junior and chairperson of the Asian Pacific Student Coalition, spoke about many of the past measures students have taken to elicit resources and support from the University. She remarked specifically on petitions and suggestions for an Asian-American resource center. Students cited the need for meeting space, increased unity among Asian-American groups and a visible centralized location on campus as incentives for the resource center. In addition to students' most recent requests, a center was recommended in 1998 by both a Pluralism Committee, an Asian Pacific American Student Affairs Committee established by University President Judith Rodin and focus groups conducted by the Vice Provost for University Life. According to Duong, the University did not respond to the Pluralism Committee's report, and responded to the APASAC recommendation by citing past efforts the University has made on behalf of Asian-American students. "In schools across the country, students enjoy the luxury of institutionalized support that students here must sit and wait for," said Duong. "We are here today because we have exhausted all democratic procedures."
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