Nationwide Violence Toward Asian American and Pacific Islander Communities

WOU sign at the front of campus, glossy black with gold lettering, greenery behind it. Campus appears wet from rain.

Dear WOU students,

We have heard and understand your concerns about our silence regarding nationwide violence toward Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities. While we sent a statement to employees on March 18, we know that was not enough and we should have also reached out to students at that time.

We want to be clear: We categorically stand in solidarity with our Asian American and Pacific Islander Wolves. As we have seen violence increase across the country, we want you to know that Western Oregon University denounces all violence, especially violence driven by hate. We reaffirm the university’s stated value of diversity and respect and know that our practices must be guided by building a community that is a “trustworthy, caring, safe environment for the cultivation of peace, civility and social justice.”

We support and encourage those in the WOU community who speak out about incidents of hate or violence. We are committed to listening and grappling with the hard work that must occur to change the system. If you experience or witness an incident of bias, we ask that you use the WOU bias incident report form to report it. Once received, this form is distributed to the appropriate campus group or department to act. Most bias forms are submitted anonymously, so following up with the original submitter is not possible. We act on all reports regardless of whether it is submitted anonymously.

We also appreciate the campus groups that are issuing statements in support of AAPI communities and condemning the horrific violence and racism toward these communities. Our voices together and actions combined can cause positive change toward equality and inclusivity. In addition, we applaud the many departments and individuals across campus engaged in trainings and discussions to increase their cultural competency.

Many groups on campus are working to ensure WOU is always a safe place for everyone who works, attends or visits here. These groups include the University Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Committee, the Cultural Competence Committee and, ultimately, the WOU Board of Trustees. In two weeks, on April 21, the board will meet and vote on the Board Statement on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility, a draft of which can be found here (starting on page 4).

In solidarity,

Rex Fuller, President

Rob Winningham, Provost

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