Asian-American alumni respond to racism

To the Editor:

As members of the Williams Asian

American Alumni Network, we echo the sentiments expressed by the Presi- dent and Vice President of the Society of Alumni in the Record on Nov. 16, 2011 in response to the act of racist hate speech that took place on campus during the weekend of Homecoming.

We are saddened and deeply con- cerned to hear from current students that this incident is not an isolated occurrence but instead one of many that continue to occur at Williams. All Williams students should be able to live, learn and thrive in an environment that makes them feel safe and welcome.

We stand with the campus community in denouncing acts of discrimination and intolerance of all forms. We applaud the students’ insistence on a strong response by the College, and welcome the admin- istration’s transparency and seriousness in dealing with this hateful action.

While Williams holds a special place in our hearts, we know that it is not perfect. We feel there is a clear need for the College leadership to develop a protocol on how to document and respond to bias- motivated speech and actions. Addition- ally, they should continue, with a sense of heightened urgency, the work of engaging students in the difficult yet important conversations about how individuals ex- perience – and contribute to – the Wil- liams community and beyond based on their race, class, gender, sexuality and/or religion. Just as importantly, we believe it vital for all members of the Williams com- munity to be conscious of the need for civility and tolerance when having these difficult conversations and to make a gen- uine effort to understand one another’s points of view.

We believe that the Williams community is more than up to this challenge and stand ready to offer our support and encouragement.

– Rick Wheeler ’52; Kin Ma ’89; Helen Lee ’90; HJ Kim ’91; Sumie Song ’92; Juliet Hwang ’98; Elizabeth C. H. Lee ’01; Sadaf Ahmad ’02; Caroline Fan ’03; Kevin Hsueh ’03; Sulgi Lim ’06; Prassanna Raman ’07; Alda Chan ’09; Daniel Hong ’09; Hnin Hnin ’10