Restore Asian Studies Program At CCNY
Dear President Coico,
In the arch that
spans the distance from Washington, D.C. and Asian capitals, the Obama
Administration’s official slogan proclaims that America is “Looking East”
and promises that the road to Asia will
deliver closer integration with Asia’s fast-growing economies.
Consistent with the above vision, the Asian faculty, staff and students enthusiastically embraced your message of diversity, inclusiveness, and excellence upon your arrival at The City College. Your Council on Inclusion and Excellence identified a need for increased opportunities for minority tenured faculty to move into positions of institutional administrative leadership at the College. This was a refreshing message that raised our hopes to become full citizens of the CUNY system a system that has sidelined the inclusion of Asians in senior administrative positions, their accomplishments in the profession and contributions to the College notwithstanding.
Our hope was raised to restructure the much-needed Asian Studies Program along President Obama’s vision a program that once thrived, and its existence symbolized CCNY's commitment to academic research in the area of Asian culture, history, and heritage. Asian curriculum is not only a national interest, but also a promising fundraiser for the College. In addition, Asia offers employment opportunities for our students. Misguided narrow interests have hindered Asian Studies from growing to its full potential.
Consider the following facts:
· According to the College website, in 2012 over 25 percent Asians constituted the College student body (and this number has steadily grows each year);
· A large Asian faculty teaches in every discipline at the College, and large Asian Staff works in many an area of our College;
· In Ph.D. programs at CCNY, there are 61 Asian students enrolled at the College, the highest number compared to any ethnic group;
· We have many accomplished Asian faculty in the humanities and social sciences with international stature at CCNY;
And yet the College has overlooked them to spearhead Asian Studies: In contrast, Black Studies, Jewish Studies, Dominican Studies, and other such programs are headed by ethnic faculty of program ethnicity. In fact, the College has gone out of its way and reached outside to recruit program directors to suit the ethnicity of a program.
We are urging you to change this cultural attitude to give substance to your policy of Inclusiveness and Excellence. A good start consistent with your vision will be to restore Asian Studies, and appoint a true scholar from Asia to head Asian Studies.
Very truly yours,