Message from the Vice President: Support for our Asian Pacific Islander Desi American (APIDA) Community

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Friday, February 26, 2021

The following message was sent to colleagues in the Division for Student Affairs from Vice President Patty Perillo on February 26, 2021.

Dear DSA Colleagues,

As I have watched, read, and listened to reports of egregious violence and horrific racism against the Asian Pacific Islander Desi American (APIDA) community in recent weeks, I am both saddened and angered by the tragedy our APIDA community has endured - recently and throughout history. Since COVID-19 began, xenophobic violence against Asian American people and Asian American-owned businesses has spread across this country. We must not accept violence, harassment, and racism against the APIDA communities. We can do better and we must.

For centuries, our Asian American friends and neighbors have suffered under racial discrimination and stereotyping, and this has been significantly heightened since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. We know that the racism against the APIDA community is rooted in the same white supremacist system that disproportionately impacts Black and Indigenous communities. Our campus Asian American Student Union (AASU) issued a statement decrying the increase of anti-Asian racism and violence across the country. I stand in solidarity with them and all members of our community who are victims of xenophobia. This racial hatred is unacceptable.

We must ensure that members of our APIDA community feel valued, supported, and safe. As such, I want to remind you of resources available:

We encourage you to use this resource, developed by AASP and MICA, to learn more about students' perspectives. If you have any thoughts or ideas about how the University can better serve or care for our students, please contact me at

We will not allow for any acts of violence or harassment against our APIDA community. We must respond with accountability. I will join our AASU and MICA leaders in advancing solidarity and community action plans they are developing. I hope that you, too, will join with accountability and in solidarity.

In community,

Patty Perillo, Ph.D.
Vice President for Student Affairs

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