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The Antelope

The Antelope

Discrimination, Asian hate addressed on campus

VICTORIA PICKERING / FLICKR The Office of Diversity and Inclusion supports Asian students during hate crimes.

Ever since the start of COVID-19 hate and discrimination toward members of the Asian and Pacific Islander communities has been on the rise. In the past several weeks, there has been an increased national awareness of anti-Asian hate crimes following several mass-shootings in Atlanta targeting Asian citizens. 

College campus are showing support for students with diverse cultural backgrounds, especially those who experience discrimination and fear generated by these hate crimes. 

The UNK community has taken steps to show solidarity with the Asian and Pacific Islander communities.

“The first thing we need to do is be able to recognize the issues and troubles many of our Asian students are going through and being able to validate those experiences,” said Luis Olivas, assistant director of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. “Our office, in collaboration with other offices, [has] been able to make sure that our Asian students know that there is a space that is welcoming and affirming with their identities, a space in which we understand their struggles and a space in which they are safe to share their struggles. That way we as an administration and staff can get those matters and issues heard by people who can make a difference here on campus such as our senior administration team.”

Students supported members of the Asian community by writing inspirational messages on a chalkboard in the Nebraskan Student Union.  ODI offers support to students of all cultural backgrounds and identities. ODI’s programs house seven student affinity groups including Black Student Association, Hispanic Student Association, Prism and the new Global Student Association.

Support from ODI helps students deal with any issues they may face.

“The Office of Diversity and Inclusion takes care of any and all diversity programming on our campus,” Olivas said. “We do campus-wide programming in regards to African American, Latino and Asian students. One of our newest groups is the Global Student Association that welcomes students from all over the world. They have been instrumental recently, working with building awareness of violence to Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders as a whole. They are working on their own specific group to do programming, exhibits and campaigns of what’s going on in our country and state — on our campus.”

Administrators are emphasizing diversity to enhance and promote education and understanding.

“Among UNK values is ‘preparing students for lifelong learning including exposure to global perspectives,’” said Timothy Burkink, assistant vice chancellor for International Affairs, referencing UNK’s strategic plan from 2018. “We want all members of the UNK community to develop global perspectives and intercultural competence. Fostering a diverse community, including our vibrant international student community, creates a richer environment with opportunities to enhance intercultural competence.”

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