From the President, re: Discrimination against Asians and Asian-Americans

March 18, 2021

Dear Southern Community,

As investigations continue into the murders of six Asian women in Atlanta earlier this week, we are faced with a stark reminder that anti-Asian discrimination and hate crimes in the United States have surged since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Stop AAPI Hate (, established  last year to track these incidents, has recorded more than 2,800 incidents of racism and discrimination targeting Asians, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders between March and December 2020. The study found that many of the incidents took place against women, in businesses or on public sidewalks or streets. But they also included civil rights violations such as workplace discrimination or refusal of service and online harassment.

This is simply unacceptable.

As a campus community dedicated to anti-racism and the pursuit of social justice, we denounce these actions and stand in solidarity with members of the AAPI community. COVID-19 has impacted all of us in negative ways, but the resulting stress and frustration should never be expressed in scapegoating, harassment and hate.

As I have said previously, this is a time for us to reassert ourselves as a caring, accepting community, taking a stand against hateful actions and words and ensuring that all people are seen and all voices are heard.

For too long now, the multiracial fabric of our society has been torn by words and actions that divide instead of heal. As we continue into 2021, with the hope of better days ahead, let us use our essential roles in higher education to set aside ignorance and the hate that it breeds, and in doing so, set an example for others to follow.


Joe Bertolino