By Sarina Deb
The Graduate Student Council (GSC) discussed on Wednesday a resolution that condemns bias directed at Asian and Pacific Islander members of the Stanford community during the pandemic and encourages individuals to report discriminatory incidents and participate in online bystander training.
“There’s rhetoric going around about this being a Chinese virus, which is putting the blame on one country, and which gets extended to a whole group of people in the United States,” said fourth-year theater and performance studies student Kari Barclay, a co-sponsor of the resolution, during the council’s weekly meeting. “It’s not just empty rhetoric — the number of hate crimes and surges of aggression have increased, and this is something that potentially affects members of the Stanford community or is perpetrated by members of the Stanford community.”
The resolution recognizes the increase in reports of bias incidents and encourages the University to continue discussions around the issue. It also points individuals to resources for reporting, such as the Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council’s reporting form, and online bystander intervention training.
Resolution co-sponsor and fourth-year immunology Ph.D. student Lawrence Bai said the bill offers support to all students of Asian or Pacific Islander descent, and not just students who identify as Chinese.
“Racists are going to attack who they believe are Chinese and who are truly Chinese, so we want to stand in support of anyone who might get racially profiled and targeted,” Bai said. “We stand in solidarity with everyone, not just East Asians or people who look Chinese.”
Bai also said the GSC should be monitoring the issue and responding accordingly.
“We have sighted the rising number of incidents due to the coronavirus having originated from China, and this is just the beginning,” he said. “As people get worn down by the fact that they have to shelter in place, there is potential for the bias to get worse, as people look to place blame on others for what is happening to them.”
Later in the meeting, Justin Akers, Residential and Dining Enterprises (R&DE) director of student housing assignments, announced that R&DE plans to launch the graduate student housing lottery by the end of the weekend.
“We are in the home stretch in our preparations to launch the lottery and are targeting this weekend to launch,” Akers said.
R&DE spokesperson Jocelyn Breeland told meeting attendees that the University plans on having graduate students on campus for the start of the next academic year. Unlike undergraduates, graduate students were not asked to leave campus in the wake of COVID-19.
“We’re planning to welcome you home in the Fall,” Breeland said.