We sign this petition in support of an Asian American Studies minor program at Ithaca College through the Center for the Study of Culture, Race and Ethnicity (CSCRE). With an eye on the image and ideologies of “diversity” and “multicultural education” this program will benefit Ithaca College students by enhancing their understanding of perspectives and experiences rarely taught on this campus. Such a program would focus on the histories and movements of Asians in the United States and Asian-Americans, as well as a global component that not only addresses the historical relations between the U.S. and “Asia,” but also its current shifts and relations. Other benefits to this program include increasing solidarity between students of all racial and economic backgrounds, and ultimately creating a greater sense of community and understanding of the United States and people. The program will also inform students about an underrepresented group on campus; encourage dialogue on race, culture and ethnicity; and shape students who are and are not of Asian descent to be socially active and responsible.
The absence of an Asian American Studies at Ithaca College, as well as the lack of any active plans by the administration to implement this program, undermines its own commitment to diversity and integrity. Ithaca College aims its arrow at increasing admissions from minority students, but forgets that it also has a commitment to furnishing an environment for personal, creative, and academic growth that does not stop once the student has chosen a future at Ithaca College. Our education must reflect the multiplicity of identities that exist and have always existed in our world. An Asian American Studies program will undeniably help students who are not of Asian descent learn about different Asian cultures and experiences, which will help to dispel stereotypes and misconceptions necessary in living in a diverse world. This education will force students to think beyond the limits of their experiences, advancing IC students towards a truer sense of what it means to be an American citizen, but also global citizen and a participant.
When the Center of Culture Race and Ethnicity was created, a promise was made by the college to create programming focused on ALANA education. With the (A)frican Diaspora, (L)atino/a Studies and (N)ative (A)merican Studies programs already in place, we see no reason why the missing (A) in ALANA representing Asian American Studies program should not be created. We demand that Ithaca College keep the promise that it made to Ithaca College students by actively working to implement this program.