The following statements were issued or posted on social media by presidents and administrators of several Washington-area institutions of higher education:
My heart goes out to those who lost loved ones in the tragic shootings in Georgia & to all members of the AAPI community. While these terrible events are under investigation, the rise in anti-Asian hate crimes & sentiment is alarming and must be addressed.
American University stands against racism, bigotry, xenophobia, & injustice. We continue to support our AAPI community & pursue our commitment to compassion & inclusivity.
Sylvia M. Burwell, President, American University
Tuesday’s mass murder in Atlanta returns us to terrible, familiar ground, as we try again to make sense of violence, and calm the terror that was already building within an entire cultural community.
Whether it was intentional or incidental that six of the eight victims were Asian-American women, the tragedy has had the same effect. These vicious killings have shaken the nation’s Asian communities to their cores. The murders came as hate and violence rise against communities scapegoated for the pandemic. The increase in reported attacks mark another painful moment in the long history of exclusion, segregation, and violence in America.
Two weeks ago, we held our second university town hall addressing anti-racism and inclusive excellence at Mason. Tuesday’s acts of targeting and violence remind us how much is riding on that vital work. Because today, members of our Asian communities feel unsafe in their own places of business, their own neighborhoods, and their own homes.
To the Asian communities at George Mason University, I offer this: Mason is your home, and you are loved and supported here. Your safety and sense of belonging are of utmost importance to everyone. As always, our personnel are on watch to ensure your security and wellbeing, so you can resume what you came here to do: to simply learn, live, and grow to your fullest potential.
Gregory Washington, President, George Mason University
Our thoughts are with the victims and families impacted by the shootings in Georgia. In recent months, we have seen growing violence and hatred against our Asian American community in the United States. This is deeply concerning to all of us we are called to be in solidarity with our Asian American students, faculty, and staff—to affirm our care and support for one another and to continue our work, here at Georgetown, to sustain a community that is inclusive, welcoming, and respectful of people of all backgrounds.
John. J. DeGioia, President, Georgetown University
Dear Members of the GW Community,
This week I have watched the news with a heavy heart, as another act of hateful violence and senseless shootings occurred in Atlanta, Georgia. While the motivations of the Atlanta shooter are still under investigation, the recent surge in violence against the Asian community is deeply disturbing. I am sorry that many of you are experiencing fear and concern.
I condemn all acts of violence and hate. As President of the George Washington University, I want members of our community to know that there is no place on our campus for violence and hate, and I am unwavering in this sentiment. I send my deepest condolences to members of our community impacted by the shootings, and to the family, friends, and neighbors of the eight people who had their lives taken.
Our university leaders recognize that GW community members may be seeking spaces to process, share, and receive support. Please know that our university resources remain available to you during this time, including the Office for Diversity, Equity and Community Engagement, Counseling and Psychological Services, Advocacy & Support, Student Affairs, Human Resources, and Faculty Affairs.
Thomas J. LeBlanc, President, George Washington University
Dear Howard University Community,
In the aftermath of the tragic shooting in Atlanta this week, it is vital that we show solidarity through word and through deed for the victims of this violence and to those in the Asian-American community whose fear has been heightened by this latest demonstration of hate. To honor those who were killed, the flags on Howard University’s campus will be lowered to half-staff.
The shootings, which took place at multiple spas in the Atlanta area, have left eight people dead, six of whom were women of Asian descent. The violence appears likely to have been racially motivated, the latest and most lethal in a surge of attacks against Asian-Americans since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It is Howard’s most sacred duty to stand up to hate – in all forms, against all people. It is not enough to repudiate the shootings; we must also condemn the physical attacks, the verbal assaults, the combative rhetoric, the demonizing behavior, and the othering of the Asian-American community. Blood is shed when hate is given sanctuary and intolerance is allowed to persist.
Of course, as a historically Black college and university, this sort of tragedy resonates strongly across our campus. A majority of our students, alumni, faculty, and staff are African-American, people for whom pain from and fear of racial violence has been embedded into their DNA.
But this week’s shootings evoke more than feelings of empathy at Howard – we are feeling the tragedy ourselves. The African-American community and the Asian-American community are all part of the Howard University family. Individuals of Asian descent have helped make Howard the institution it has become. Our ability to educate students, advocate for justice and equality and serve our community has been substantially strengthened by generations of Asian students, alumni, faculty, and staff.
Howard has always been a mecca to those who faced discrimination and hate. The strength of our University rests on a foundation of openness and acceptance, tolerance and love. It is this quality that makes Howard distinct as an institution and uniquely positioned to condemn hate and violence. At Howard, as in America, diversity is the well from which we generate our power.
To all those of Asian descent, in the Howard family and beyond, know that you have our everlasting support, now during these troubled times and always into the future. By resolving to respond to this tragedy together, we can show resilience. We can overcome violence by demonstrating peace. We can counter hate by showing love.
A better world is within our grasp if we, united, can eradicate that which divides us and weave more tightly the fabrics that bind us.
Excellence in Truth and Service,
Wayne Frederick, President, Howard University, Chair, Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area
Dear Johns Hopkins Community,
The killings in Atlanta this week that took the lives of eight, including at least six Asian women, are tragic, and whatever the full details may prove to be, they are also an appalling reminder of the hateful acts of violence and discrimination that Asians and Asian Americans have faced throughout our nation’s history and in rising numbers since the early days of the COVID pandemic.
They come at a time of growing fear and pain felt among our own Asian Pacific Islander Desi American (APIDA) community at Johns Hopkins and their families during the last year. We write today to condemn the alarming and reprehensible spike in bias and hate we have witnessed across the country and to reaffirm our unwavering support of our APIDA students, faculty, staff, and postdoctoral students.
We are fortunate to have as part of the Hopkins family a diverse and vibrant Asian and Asian American community whose members are integral to our success as a university and a nation. We are committed to providing the support that will allow our Asian American and international students, faculty, and staff of Asian descent to thrive here at Johns Hopkins and in their pursuit of discovery in communities around the globe.
If you experience discrimination yourself or witness someone else facing discrimination on our campuses, we urge you to file a complaint via the Office of Institutional Equity and hope you will seek any needed mental health and well-being support through MySupport if you are faculty or staff and through wellness.jhu.edu if you are a student. You can also reach out to report anything of concern through the Speak2Us hotline, 844-SPEAK2US (844-773-2528).
In this difficult moment, we rededicate ourselves to the values of equity and humanity that set us on a path toward a more just society in which all members of our community can pursue lives free of harm, discrimination, or fear.
Ronald J. Daniels President, Johns Hopkins University
Sunil Kumar Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, Johns Hopkins University
Katrina Caldwell Vice Provost for Diversity and Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer, Johns Hopkins University
As COVID-19 has spread across the world, there has been an increase in anti-Asian violence and harassment. Hate has no place at Marymount University. Founded by the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary (RSHM), the principles of inclusion are deeply rooted in the culture of Marymount. The RSHM’s mission is: “that all may have life and have it to the full.” Marymount University condemns all acts of racism, xenophobia, prejudice, stigmatization, and systemic oppression that bar all individuals from living life to the full. The Marymount community includes individuals from diverse religious, ethnic, cultural, gender, national, socioeconomic, and racial backgrounds. Being a Saint means embracing our own and others’ identities, uniting through diversity.
We recognize and stand with our Asian Pacific Islander Desi community members and any other marginalized group members who may be experiencing discrimination based on race, ethnicity, and national origin. We also call on all members of the Marymount community to unify in cross-cultural solidarity, to intervene if they observe acts of bias, and to report individuals who do not honor the Saints’ Promise to embody the MU core values of professionalism, respect, integrity, diversity, excellence, faith and service.
Our work must also go beyond intervention and reporting. To sustain this long fight against racism, we encourage members of our community to look inward. We must continue to address, in a healthy way, harmful limiting thoughts and beliefs of racial biases and stereotypes that can lead to outward expressions of microaggression. We must amplify the voices of marginalized groups. While honoring the complexities and intersectionality of our individual identities, we must continue to listen, learn and have uncomfortable but important conversations. This work opens the doorway to deepening understanding, raising awareness within ourselves and with each other, and fostering an inclusive and safe community.
To our Asian Pacific Islander Desi community members and any others from other marginalized groups who may be experiencing discrimination, you belong here. Our diversity is a source of strength, and we are here for you. We are charged by our Catholic identity to uplift those who are suffering and to walk daily in love, care, and compassion. We are committed to continuing the fight for racial justice and creating an inclusive campus here at Marymount.
Brooke Berry, Dean of Students, Equity and Inclusion, Marymount University
In a video statement, Montgomery College president, Dr. Pollard, addresses the recent tragedies in Georgia and urges everyone to speak up against racial discrimination to help foster a stronger MC community.
DeRionne Pollard, President, Montgomery College (Video Blog)
Like you, I was horrified by Wednesday’s murders of eight individuals, including six Asian American women, in Atlanta. Sadly, research from the coalition Stop Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Hate shows a clear rise in cases of violence and discrimination against Asian American groups during the pandemic. The crisis has attracted the attention of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, which will hold hearings today into these acts of hatred. NOVA is a federally recognized Asian American Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institution (AANAPISI), and this violence is impacting our students, colleagues, friends, and neighbors. NOVA condemns all acts of violence, discrimination, racism, and intolerance, and we stand with the Asian American Pacific Islander community.
My message today is plain. We cannot leave the work of addressing racism and bias to others: this work is ours.
Anne M. Kress, President, Northern Virginia Community College
Dear Students and Colleagues,
Yesterday, we learned of the horrific murders of six Asian women in a shooting rampage in metropolitan Atlanta by a lone white gunman. While official police statements have equivocated on the gunman’s motives, the fact remains that this incident is the latest and most heinous example of the rising incidence of violence against Asian persons in this nation. We mourn for the deceased and offer our support and solidarity with our sisters and brothers who are Asian and Asian American, including our students, faculty, staff, and alumnae at Trinity.
Violence against Asians is yet one more manifestation of the vicious disease of white supremacy that infects too many Americans. This nation has experienced the debilitating and often homicidal consequences of this disease throughout our history, from the long and appalling history of violence against Black people to the shameful treatment of Mexican and other Latino immigrants to the degrading stereotypes and violence that Asians experience. This is a nation that tolerates mass incarceration of too many Black persons, that detains Latino children and families in inhumane conditions at the border, that has a history of rounding up and detaining Japanese Americans in internment camps. We say we will do better, but we never seem to get better.
Words matter, especially from presidents and political leaders, and sadly, the words of the recently departed president and his administration contributed substantially to the increased violence against Asians. Blaming Chinese persons for the Covid-19 pandemic is a form of race-baiting that has no place in any rational political discourse, but some politicians to this minute continue to use racially invidious language when speaking about coronavirus.
At Trinity, we believe deeply in the dignity of every human person, a foundational belief in all of Catholic teaching and the basis for our work in social justice. We are committed to working each day to achieve justice, racial and social equity for all in our community, and to find ways to have an impact on these issues in the broader civic and corporate communities we engage each day. A student has reminded me that while we often speak of our support for our African American and Latina students and communities, we also must include our Asian and Asian American students and colleagues in the full scope of our concerns — we do hold all in our concerns, and we will be more vigilant about being sure that our statements are fully inclusive.
Please join me in offering prayers for the women murdered in Atlanta and their families, and more, let us pray for the strength to continue the fight for racial justice and true racial equity in our nation.
Patricia McGuire, President, Trinity Washington University
I am horrified by another mass shooting, and I am thinking of the victims. I am also thinking of Asian and Asian American people who are fearful as racist targeting is on the rise. Please show your humanity toward one another, and let’s unite against senseless acts of violence.
Daryll Pines, President, University of Maryland