University response to APASS incident lacking
On Feb. 18, the Vice Provost for Student Affairs, Dr. Ainsley Carry, released an official statement regarding the racist and misogynistic letter sent on Feb. 1 to USC Asian Pacific American Student Services, a cultural resource center within the Division of Student Affairs. His lackluster and generic statement completely fails to reflect what Asian Pacific American students were demanding prior to the release, as it only boasts USC’s international student enrollment number rather than paying appropriate attention to the imminent issues affecting the APA students. Dr. Carry’s failure to distinguish between APASS and APASA, a student assembly within the Undergraduate Student Government’s Program Board, and his baffling and unnecessary inclusion of statistics on first generation and “students of Asian origin,” further confirm his lack of knowledge as the vice provost to tackle issues that have negatively impacted APA students.
Though we did not expect a detailed action plan, we had hoped to see a stronger commitment from Dr. Carry to utilize this incident as an educational tool for the entire campus, so that this type of incident does not occur again. Instead, students were presented with a shameless promotion of the school’s so–called diverse student body composition, coupled with a perplexing and frustrating display of misguided intents. We doubt any APA students’ opinions are included in the statement, and perhaps he and many others did not feel the need to take students’ ideas into account. Maybe he is right. Maybe students should not expect to check on a vice provost’s work before he releases it to the public. Or maybe we, as students, who USC exists to serve and protect, should and must demand more accountability from our school officials, regardless of their position. We are not sure whose interest the statement ultimately served, because it seems only concerned with promoting the school and the vice provost’s office for their “support” of APA students.
A majority of the readers will still fail to understand our frustration towards Dr. Carry and his statement, and such attitude is perhaps the best testament to the kind of environment USC has been fostering on minority student rights. We only need to look to last year for another example of a disappointing response from the administration to an issue that galvanized the school: the president’s brief statement regarding the Los Angeles Police Department’s abusive handling of the graduation party last May. Both the Vice Provost’s and the President’s statements are closer to temporarily pacifying Band-Aids than effective, long-term solutions (or at least firm commitments to be such). This trend is especially troublesome considering the gravity of both events and how much they affected so many students.
Most likely, this opinion piece will fail to find its way to the top school officials. But silence is worse than failed attempts, for it comforts those who attack us and breeds complacency amongst us. By remaining silent, we fail our future Trojans who rely on us to provide them with a safer and more accepting environment that they need. We can no longer afford to remain passive and indifferent to APA issues with visible consequences, and Dr. Carry must lead the effort as the vice provost for Student Affairs to propose and implement tangible changes that APA students have been demanding for so long.
Senior, cognitive science
Senior, policy, planning and development and political science