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Wednesday, September 22, 2021

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Addressing Local and Global Strife with Local Compassion

In response to recent conflicts and hate-motivated incidents, SDSU reminds members of the campus community of the range of support and emergency services available to its students, faculty and staff.
By SDSU News Team
 

A number of incidents have occurred locally and globally that threaten basic humanity, reminding each of us of the importance of supporting one another with compassion and reaching out for support during periods of strife. 

Just last fall, Azerbaijan attacked the border of Artsakh in the Republic of Armenia and since the September attack, has targeted civilians, particularly in Stepanakert and its surrounding villages resulting in dozens of deaths. Despite the recent announcement of a ceasefire, what has occurred is a humanitarian crisis. 

At the start of February, a coup d'état occurred in Myanmar, with attacks on civilians, including protesters, who have been calling for a restoration of democracy. Human Rights Watch has indicated that the situation in Myanmar began to deteriorate in 2020 with increased restrictions placed on freedom of expression and the right to peaceful assembly. Reports indicate ongoing fighting between Myanmar’s military and several ethnic armed groups, with government forces committing abuses against several ethnic minority populations, including the Kachin and Rohingya.

And in the United States, reports indicate a rise in incidents of xenophobic harassment and violence against members of the Asian Pacific Islander Desi American community during the COVID-19 pandemic. Stop AAPI Hate’s reporting database indicated more than 2,800 reports of anti-Asian discrimination between March 19 and December 31, 2020, and U.S. President Joe Biden has since signed an executive order denouncing anti-Asian discrimination

“Acts of violence and discrimination against people based on their identities are part of a troubling continuum in which human dignity and human lives are devalued. I have and will continue to denounce and condemn acts of violence against individuals based on their identities,” said SDSU President Adela de la Torre
 
“We take great pride at SDSU in having such a diverse community. Many of us are either from or connected to communities beyond our nation’s physical boundaries,” de la Torre said. “We stand in solidarity with our Asian Pacific Islander Desi American community. We stand with our Armenian and Myanmar community. We stand with any community that is experiencing discrimination, harassment and pain simply because others will not accept who they are or fear their presence in their community.” SDSU is actively supporting campus community members who have been directly and indirectly impacted by a number of different conflicts and incidents. 
 
For example, those within the Dean of Students office and Student Life & Leadership have engaged with Armenian Students’ Association members at SDSU to support the organization’s efforts in raising awareness of the humanitarian crisis since the conflict began in the fall. 
 
“SDSU is home to Armenian-American students whose families have been directly impacted by violence in Armenia,” said J. Luke Wood, Vice President for Student Affairs and Campus Diversity. 
 
“These students continue to cope with the pandemic, stay on track with their academics, and support their families both here in California and their extended family in Armenia,” Wood said. “We will continue to support their efforts in educating our community while they also raise funds to support their efforts."
 
And following nationwide reports of increased race- and hate-motivated acts targeting APIDA communities, the Asian Pacific Islander Desi American Resource Center (APIDA) Resource Center within the Division of Student Affairs and Campus Diversity hosted a community space last week. The APIDA Resource Center plans on hosting more spaces and a conference in April to address the impacts of COVID on APIDA communities. 
 
“Our APIDA community is suffering. Take time to honor our APIDA elders and our APIDA brothers and sisters who are victims of anti-APIDA sentiments,” said Virginia Loh-Hagan, director of the APIDA Resource Center. “The SDSU APIDA Resource Center is here for all members of the APIDA community. Please reach out.”
 
The Chinese Cultural Center, housed in the College of Education, has also been hosting events and workshops that speak to the contributions and experiences of those who are Chinese and Chinese-American.

University Support Services 

As with any emergency or conflict that may directly impact members of the one SDSU community, the university reminds all students, faculty and staff of the range of support services the university offers, including support for faculty and staff.
 
In recent years, the university has also extended support to the community in response to hate-motivated actions targeting members of the Jewish and Jewish American communities, African American communities, LGBTQA communities and also members of our  undocumented community. 
 
The university reminds all students that they can rely on the following support and assistance as they need it: 
  • The Economic Crisis Response Team (ECRT) assists students experiencing financial, food, housing or other emergencies. Students can request assistance by submitting a Request for Assistance online. ECRT coordinators can support students through their crisis, connecting them with on- and off-campus resources. 
  • Counseling & Psychological Services offers a range of therapeutic services to support students. Call 619-594-5220 to schedule a consultation with a therapist and visit www.sdsu.edu/cps for additional information. The office is open 8:00-4:30 Monday through Friday. Outside these hours, students can speak with a counselor on a dedicated access line by calling the same number, 619-594-5220.
  • SDSU Dean of Students Randy Timm is available to address individual student concerns. His office may be contacted by calling 619-594-5211 or emailing deanofstudents@sdsu.edu.

Other Resources 

The SDSU community is able to access a number of additional support resources, including the following: 
  • The Resources in Response to Incidents of Racial Violence page provides information about clubs and organizations and ways to access counseling services, emergency mental health care and other assistance both on and off campus.  
  • Inclusive SDSU provides information about ways to report incidences of harassment and discrimination. 
  • SDSU cultural centers provide resources, programs, and events in support of students as well as other community members. 
  • The International Student Center supports the university’s internationalization efforts and serves both international students and SDSU students seeking international experiences 
  • Employee Resource Groups (ERG's) are designed to build an inclusive environment for SDSU employees.