Discrimination and Harassment Incidents

March 27, 2020 @ 9:46 a.m.

Dear CU Denver community,

I am writing today about a recent increase in discrimination and harassment directed toward those perceived to be of Chinese or, more generally, Asian descent. I am very sorry to report that we are seeing examples of this directed at some of our students, faculty, and staff.

We are hearing reports of epithets being shouted at them as they walk down the street, and some are even being physically assaulted.

When faced with this type of constant, heightened discrimination, many of our friends and colleagues of Asian descent are feeling uncomfortable and unsafe. This may put their mental health at risk.

It is important for all of us to reject anti-Asian discrimination and harassment, even as represented in the guise of people expressing fear of COVID-19.

In my time here, I’ve heard from you that our diversity -- our respect for differing ideas, opinions, and cultures -- is overwhelmingly what makes you most proud of CU Denver. Our shared responsibility is to put that diversity into action by ensuring that every single member of our community feels welcome, safe, and included.

What are we doing to address the problem?

  • The Office of International Affairs has been in communication with international students and provided resources to those who have been affected by discrimination.  A virtual panel on safety, equity, and support is being planned.
  • The Center for Identity and Inclusion has held and will host/co-host additional sessions on “Inoculating against Racism.” Topics include helping prevent panic and xenophobia, supporting Asian and Asian-American members of our community, and identifying credible health information. Dates and times to be announced.  
  • We’ve reached out to the City of Denver, and will be joining a group of Asian leaders from around the city to share experiences and to talk about ways the City can support the Asian community. 

What can you do to help?

We are grateful to be part of a university community that is known for stepping up to help and support others in times of crisis. In these moments of shared fear and anxiety, we must each do our part to preserve and spread the values CU Denver holds dear: respect, civility and inclusion.  Let’s keep our community a community.

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