You are here: American University School of Education Dean's Message on Denouncing Hate Against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders

Standing Together to Denounce Hate Against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI)

Dear SOE Community,

The challenges of the pandemic have been exacerbated by reminders of our country’s long history of racial injustice, including the intolerable pattern of rising hate crimes against Asian and Asian American individuals. The tragic murders of Asian individuals yesterday in Atlanta increase the fear in Asian communities and remind us of the hatred and racism that permeates our society. Such hate is not new, but it has been inflamed by false and racist rhetoric associating COVID-19 with people of Asian descent. It has targeted some of the most vulnerable members of the Asian community, including the elderly.

As a School, we join the University and many others in denouncing anti-Asian violence, and we steadfastly support those harmed by racism and violence. As a School of Education, we have a unique responsibility in shaping how education can be used as a tool to combat racist ideas and create a meaningful, anti-racist future. That action is needed now more than ever.

The United States has a long history of anti-Asian racism and exclusion. It is up to all of us, as Americans, as educators, to build a better future. No one should have to feel afraid to walk down the street, to take out their garbage, to commute to work—or for their parents or grandparents to do the same. It is also important to respond appropriately and quickly if we witness hateful behavior. Stop AAPI Hate has created a list of safety tips for witnesses and those experiencing hateful behavior.

If anyone needs help or support, please do not hesitate to connect with available resources across the University. Students seeking counseling support are reminded that the Counseling Center offers crisis intervention services 24 hours a day, from any location, and can be reached at 202-885-7979. Staff and faculty can reach out to BHS for support from a diverse group of counselors or to Dale Rampell, Faculty Staff Assistance Program (FSAP) counselor (; 202-885-2593). All FSAP services are free and confidential for AU faculty, staff, and their immediate families.

Again, we stand in solidarity with our AAPI community members as we work together to combat racism, violence, and discrimination in all forms.

In peace,

Cheryl Holcomb-McCoy, PhD
Dean and Professor
School of Education