Friday, September 23, 2005

Letter Sent to President Coleman

Dear President Coleman,

As you are aware, two University students are accused of perpetrating a hate crime against two Asian American students last Thursday. Various student groups are organizing around this issue, and we hope that the University will take swift and just action to acknowledge and resolve this issue.

A petition was started yesterday afternoon and we have collected over 700 signatures in less than 24 hours. You may view the petition at: http://www.petitiononline.com/aanohate/petition.html

We acknowledge that the accused are innocent until proven guilty, but given the severity of these allegations, we expect that the University will make this a top priority to help maintain the quality of student life in this community.

Regardless of the outcome, this tragedy has prompted many students to speak out about hurtful incidents that they have faced during their time at the University, and we expect that you will address the issues of community respect and understanding well beyond the resolution of this issue.

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For your reference, the body of the petition / letter below:

To: President Mary Sue Coleman and University administrators

The letter below is one in a series of actions that students at the University of Michigan have taken to demonstrate our support for the victims of this atrocious crime. If you support the content of the letter, please sign using the form below.

The Michigan Daily article referenced in the letter can be found at: http://www.michigandaily.com/vnews/display.v/ART/2005/09/21/4330f61d9f9f0

TO: President Mary Sue Coleman

CC: Dean Paula Allen-Meares, School of Social Work; Patricia Aqui, Director, Office of Multi-Ethnic Student Affairs; Dean Frank J. Ascione, College of Pharmacy; Dean Deborah Ball, School of Education; Dean Rosina Bierbaum, School of Natural Resources & Environment; Dean Rebecca Blank, Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy; Dean Evan Caminker, Law School; Dean Robert J. Dolan, Stephen M. Ross School of Business; Dean Susan Eklund, Dean of Students; Dean Ronald Gibala, College of Engineering; Edward Gramlich, Provost; Royster Harper, Vice President for Student Affairs; Dean Ada Sue Hinshaw, School of Nursing; Dean Douglas S. Kelbaugh, A. Alfred Taubman College of Architecture & Urban Planning; Dean Christopher Kendall, School of Music; Dean John L. King, School of Information; Dean Allen Lichter, Medical School; John Matlock, Director, Office of Academic Multicultural Initiatives; Dean Terrence McDonald, College of LS&A; Lester Monts, Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs; Dean Peter Polverini, School of Dentistry; Dean Bryan Rogers, School of Art & Design; Dean Beverly Ulrich, Division of Kinesiology; Dean Ken Warner, School of Public Health; Dean Janet Weiss, Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies

Dear President Coleman:

It has come to our attention from a Michigan Daily article published on September 21 that an appalling incident of racial intimidation allegedly occurred against two Asian American students.

While the incident appears to be under investigation, we strongly urge you to take swift disciplinary action against the suspected students if the facts are indeed as presented. In particular, we urge the University of Michigan to:

1) pursue the maximum University sanction against the students, including possible expulsion
2) make a strong public statement condemning such incidents against students of color on campus
3) challenge our faculty and staff to proactively educate the University on the impact of discrimination and the importance of respect and understanding and
4) institute distinct programs to educate students, faculty, and staff on the evolution and prevention of hate crimes

We believe it is important that the University take a "zero tolerance" policy for such acts of racial intimidation. As the Michigan Daily article points out, a number Asian American students on campus have noted various acts of racial insensitivity, reaffirming the need for the University to demonstrate its commitment to a safe and diverse campus.

Many of us were shocked and concerned after learning of this incident. We sincerely hope that the University will take a just and stern position.

Sincerely,

Signatures can be viewed at: http://www.petitiononline.com/mod_perl/signed.cgi?aanohate&1

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