Statement on Recent Anti-Asian Violence

February 04, 2020

Dear students,

Deplorable anti-Asian sentiment, hate, and violence continue to ravage our nation and the world. We write to share information from Counseling and Psychological Services about a virtual support space that they have made available for Asian and Asian-American students.

We wish most emphatically to express our outrage over these persistent injustices and, especially, the horrific recent murders of 6 women of Asian descent and two additional people near Atlanta, Georgia, on March 16. These acts are made possible by an enduring ethos of White Supremacist ideals that, if left undisrupted, will permanently erode not only our democracy but our humanity.

More than a year ago, at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, members of our community who are Asian and Asian-American were disproportionately subjected to bias stemming from unfounded fears about exposure to the virus. It is atrocious that, despite the best efforts of many to raise awareness about these instances and work to prevent them, they have not only spiked in their frequency but in their gravity as well. On the very day when 21-year-old Robert Aaron Long embarked on his murderous rampage against mostly women of Asian descent, nonprofit organization Stop AAPI Hate released a national report documenting that Asian Americans across all 50 states reported almost 3,800 hate-related incidents since the start of the pandemic. It is difficult to deny that this sharp increase is not somehow attributable to instigations brought about by those in power in using inflammatory and inaccurate references to the “China Virus,” aired on the same evening of the murders in remarks by Donald Trump.
We condemn anti-Asian sentiment, hate, and violence, and all forms of racism, and reaffirm our commitment to dismantling oppressive forces that are damaging to all of us but which disproportionately harm some in our communities more than others.

In closing, we mourn and honor the lives that were so violently and hatefully taken Tuesday night in Georgia by naming those whose identities have been revealed, and sharing some resources for how to join in the specific fight against anti-Asian sentiment.  

  • Daoyou Feng
  • Paul Andre Michels
  • Hyeon Jeong Park
  • Julie Park
  • Xiaojie Tan
  • Delaina Ashley Yaun

Ways to Get Involved

If You Seek Support

With compassion and in community,

Carlos J. Alonso, Dean
Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Celina Chatman Nelson
Associate Dean for Academic Diversity & Inclusion
Graduate School of Arts and Sciences


Support Space for Asian Students

The shootings in Atlanta killing six Asian women appeared layered with gender-based violence and misogyny and was just the most recent example of the notable increase in anti-Asian violence since the pandemic. In response to this, we are creating a virtual support space for Asian International and Asian American Columbia students to speak openly about their own experiences and reactions to this tragedy and the general increase in anti-Asian violence in a safe environment. We hope to create a holding space where students can feel a sense of community and solidarity during this painful time.  

Due to the open and online nature of this drop-in group, this group is not private or confidential though participants are encouraged to be respectful and mindful of each other and to practice discretion. In addition, please note that this is a virtual support space and not group therapy.

The virtual space will be held on Friday March 19th at 5PM and co-facilitated by Sherina Persaud, PhD and Weiyen Chung, PsyD. For more information, or to receive the Zoom link to join the support space, please email Dr. Persaud at [email protected] or Dr. Chung at [email protected] with “Asian Support Space” in the subject line.