Following the lead of African Americans and Latinos on campus, Asian Americans want to get a resource center. In the midst of Asian Pacific American Heritage Week, many Asian-American students are complaining that administrators have repeatedly ignored their concerns and now accuse the University of giving them a raw deal. Topping the list of Asian-American student-leaders' grievances is the lack of an Asian-American resource center, which they envision to be a home base for meetings and academic and psychological support. According to Asian Pacific Student Coalition Chairperson Hoa Duong, a College junior, proposals and committee suggestions for an Asian-American resource center date back to at least 1991, but the request has yet to be realized. "There are problems unique to this community that the University is not addressing," Duong said. "It's really tough for students to identify mentors and advisors and a resource center would provide these opportunities." APSC Vice Chairperson Jennifer Wound, a College junior, said a resource center has been recommended to administrators in more than one committee report, including the final report of the Pluralism Committee in 1998 and the University President's Asian/Pacific American Student Affairs Committee. "I think if the University decides to open an Asian-American resource center, geared specifically for Asian-American needs, this would prove that the University addresses the needs of its minority students and treats them as students of equal importance on campus," Wound said. "Right now, the distribution of resources does not parallel the University's claim of recognizing 'the importance of student diversity in maintaining a rich and versatile educational setting,'" she added, quoting a statement from the Admissions Office's World Wide Web site. According to Provost Robert Barchi, the administration is not ignoring the needs of Asian-American students. He cited a lack of space as causing the absence of an Asian-American resource center. "We recognize and support the need identified by Asian-American students for a resource center," Barchi said. "Although we are currently experiencing serious space constraints on campus, this is a priority for us and will be something we actively pursue as space becomes available." Last spring, the Asian-American Studies Resource Collection Center opened on the eighth floor of Williams Hall. The facility contains Asian-American books, magazines and other research materials, but there is little room for students to gather. In addition, its availability is severely limited as it is only open 11 hours a week and is run by a work-study student instead of a permanent staff member. "There is no real staff," said Undergraduate Advisory Board Co-Chairperson Stephanie Hwang, a Wharton junior. "[And] it's basically for the Asian-American Studies program." Hwang also noted the effect on unity a permanent center would have for Asian-American students. "If we have a central location on campus, we will use the place for meetings and it will give a visible place for Asian-American students," Hwang said. "Right now, a lot of clubs run back and forth between various locations." Asian-American student leaders plan to hold a speak-out tomorrow to make their demands loud and clear. "Asian-American student leaders cannot and will not remain silent any longer," Duong said. "We wave waited and waited for the University to fulfill its commitments, but it seems that we are counted when it's convenient in emphasizing the University's diversity, but we only receive token acknowledgement in terms of institutional change. We contribute so much to this University and we deserve more respect."Comments powered by Disqus
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