A message from President Tim Sands and Vice President Menah Pratt-Clarke
Editor's note: This statement has been updated following the news of shootings in Georgia and features links to additional resources for support.
To the Virginia Tech community,
In cities across America, there has been a recent, disturbing surge in random, unprovoked violence and harassment targeted toward the Asian community.
The murder of eight people, including six of Asian descent, in Georgia this week has heightened concerns that such tragedies may continue to escalate. Organizations that document anti-APIDA (Asian Pacific Islander Desi American) hate and discrimination have documented nearly 3,800 such incidents over the past year, largely attributing this appalling spike in anti-Asian crimes to bigoted rhetoric surrounding the coronavirus. This is yet another tragic illustration of how words have the power to injure when wielded with careless abandon. It is important to also acknowledge that the APIDA community has a long history of experiencing racism and discrimination in America.
At Virginia Tech, in solidarity with the Asian American Student Union (AASU) and the APIDA Caucus, we condemn this racially fueled brutality as abhorrent and reaffirm our unwavering support of the APIDA community — on our campus and beyond. We must also recognize the continued psychological toll and trauma the APIDA community is experiencing.
If our nation is to advance toward a more egalitarian and harmonious society, there can be no tolerance for such vile acts steeped in ignorance and racism. This rampant brutality reminds us that dismantling racial hate and effecting substantive change is difficult and requires sustained vigilance.
We believe that these horrific events also present a watershed moment with an opportunity to meaningfully engage with the APIDA community — and listen.
To that end, the Asian Cultural Engagement Center (ACEC) serves not only as a vital resource for the APIDA community, but also the entire Virginia Tech community. This troubling moment presents a unique opportunity to engage in the transformational work of social justice. This objective is in keeping with our commitment to a more just and inclusive society, as reflected in our Principles of Community, as well InclusiveVT — our institutional and individual commitment to Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), in the spirit of community, diversity, and excellence. The Diversity Education unit in the Office for Inclusion and Diversity will be working with ACEC on increasing educational programming and awareness of APIDA issues. ACEC and InclusiveVT have a list of resources for those who want to learn more.
We implore you — individually and collectively — to join us in our efforts to ensure Virginia Tech establishes a safe, supportive environment that serves to uplift a community that needs and deserves our steadfast advocacy.
In the spirit of Ut Prosim,
Vice President for Strategic Affairs and Diversity
Those in the Virginia Tech community who need assistance or counseling support may contact:
- Better Together
- Cook Counseling Center at 540-231-6557.
- Dean of Students Office at 540-231-3787. Referral to a campus cleric may be made through this office.
- Employee Assistance Program
- Anthem at 855-223-9277
- Aetna at 888-238-6232
- Kaiser Permanente at 866-517-7042
- Optima Health Vantage HMO at 866-846-2682
- Hokie Wellness at 540-231-2233 (students) or 540-231-8878 (employees)
- Office of Housing and Residence Life at 540-231-6205
- Women’s Center at Virginia Tech at 540-231-7806