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Repeated incidents of anti-Asian rhetoric provoke University response

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Stanford students who appear to be of Asian descent have been targeted by an individual who has made a slew of racially charged remarks around White Plaza. Such incidents, which students have reported as ongoing since autumn 2018, have included at least one middle-aged man yelling racial epithets, both on foot and on bike, and using slurs aimed at Asian and Asian American students.

There were eight separate incidents reported by students and staff of unprovoked and derogatory remarks made against or witnessed by them, according to SUDPS spokesperson Bill Larson. The University responded to the allegations on Tuesday with a campus-wide email describing  “a series of disturbing campus incidents” and clarifying University protocol on discrimination. Vice Provost for Student Affairs Susie Brubaker-Cole wrote that the discriminatory remarks have caused “distress, alarm and injury to the dignity of the campus community.”

Stanford Department of Public Safety (SUDPS) identified a single perpetrator, described as a white male adult, 50-60 years of age, 5-foot-10-inches, 170-180 pounds, brown hair, brown mustache and full grey beard. The man does not appear to be a student, faculty or staff, but rather an occasional campus visitor.

The first detailed reports of the incidents appear to have been posted on the Overheard at Stanford Facebook page, a page dedicated to posting amusing or concerning comments heard around campus. The Facebook posts included reference to multiple men; however, Larson’s report and the University email only detail one culprit.

In the original post, Andy Lee ’22 wrote that he was targeted at 4:30 p.m. on April 19 while biking back from an event in White Plaza. The man, who was also biking, shouted, “Oh, it’s a f*cking Asian,” and began a rant riddled with anti-Asian and anti-immigration rhetoric.

In an interview with The Daily, Lee added that the man — who matches the description sent on Tuesday by Brubaker-Cole — told him “he felt, ‘racially fatigued,’ and that he “wished [Lee] would take his Asian friends back to their own country.”

“This was the first time I’ve ever felt discriminated against at Stanford,” Lee said.

Lee’s initial post was followed by a stream of additional stories of discriminatory remarks aimed at Asian students in the general vicinity of White Plaza and Tresidder, perpetrated by one or two middle-aged white males.

The incidents not only violate Stanford University’s Acts of Intolerance Protocol, but also infringe on the California Education Code 67380, according to Larson. Brubaker-Cole advised students to exercise caution and call SUDPS at 650-329-2413 should they encounter the individual in question.

Brubaker-Cole acknowledged the continued presence of discriminatory behaviour within the campus community and highlighted ongoing campus efforts to counter this and enact positive change across campus. She also urged affected students to reach out to campus resources, such as Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), community centers, the Office of Religious Life and The Bridge as needed.

Contact Brooke Beyer at bbeyer ‘at’ stanford.edu.

Brooke Beyer '22 is a Desk Editor for the News section. She is originally from Los Altos, California but grew up in London and Singapore. Brooke is studying International Relations and English, with a focus on history and human rights.