The University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW-Madison) recently released statements in support of Asian, Pacific Islander, and Desi American (APIDA) and Asian communities following the assault of two students near campus.
On June 14, a UW-Madison doctoral student from China was violently assaulted by a group of men in downtown Madison near campus. The same group was allegedly involved in two other incidents the same weekend, including throwing bananas at an APIDA student on June 14. Although police did not believe the attacks were racially motivated, UW-Madison noted in a statement last week that the incidents have significantly impacted communities of color on campus. In response, the university established virtual support and connection spaces for Asian and APIDA students through its health services.
“This news and some of our efforts to respond quickly have caused deep concern, harm, and outrage for our Asian and APIDA community members as well as their allies,” the statement reads. “For some, it has also sparked fear and trauma. For more than two years, Asian and APIDA communities in the U.S. and around the world have faced a tremendous increase in reported incidents of harassment, violence, intimidation, and aggression.”
Prior to the statements, nearly 2,800 campus community members signed an online petition calling on the university to respond publicly to the incidents. The petition specifically urged UW-Madison to send campus-wide communications about Asian hate crimes and ways to prevent them, institute a required racial education class, and be open about the misconduct process for students who commit hate crimes. It also called on campus police to send out faster warnings about racially motivated attacks and where they occur so students can avoid the area.
“There are millions of people in the APIDA group in the U.S. and we want them to feel safe, understood, cared for, and respected,” the petition reads.