Division of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
We at SUNY Plattsburgh stand with our Chinese students, faculty, staff and other community members of other Asian descent. We see you, you are valued, and your experiences related to COVID-19 matter. We have no tolerance for racial or ethnic discrimination.
The Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is committed to working with other members of the college to keep the SUNY Plattsburgh community safe and informed. We encourage community members to stay updated by visiting the campus COVID-19 information page.
As we continue to hear updates on COVID-19 and are impacted on local, state and global levels, there have been heightened levels of uneasiness, uncertainty and a general concern for the well-being of ourselves, friends, and family.
These levels of uneasiness and uncertainty have also caused an increase in broad generalizations, assumptions, and acts of bias as it relates to individuals from China, other Asian countries, and people of Asian descent. We’d like to share an earlier statement from The National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA) made on February 7th:
“While the coronavirus represents a legitimate public health concern, it is not a green light to target Asian Americans and Asian immigrants with racism and hate. We are concerned with the growing xenophobic rhetoric that harkens back to the dehumanizing, anti-Asian trope of the ‘yellow peril,’ that was used during the 19th century. We have consistently stood against efforts to cast our community as ‘perpetual foreigners,’ and sadly, we find ourselves having to do so again. We call on news outlets and social media platforms to do more to curb racist and inaccurate content in addition to removing misinformation on the coronavirus alone.”
Making broad generalizations that people of Asian descent are dangerous or sick, or making assumptions about a person’s nationality based on their physical features perpetuates long-standing histories of xenophobia and racism, whether intentional or not.
Our Asian students, faculty and staff are valued members of the SUNY Plattsburgh community. We are here for you and want to emphasize and highlight the following:
- If you or someone you know has experienced bias or discrimination please report these incidents on the Bias Reporting Form and connect with someone you trust for social support.
- See the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion as a campus resource and seek our assistance.
- Recognize that acts of bias can negatively impact your physical and mental health. Know that it is okay to seek medical and mental health care as needed and seek the Student Health and Counseling Center if you are a student and our EAP resource if you are an employee.
If you find that you are maintaining distance from or worried about interacting with people of Asian descent we urge you to strongly consider the following:
- Avoid the inclination to make broad stereotypes about people of Asian descent and explore the root causes of your fears and disdain. Confusion and uncertainty about COVID-19 can lead to increased anxiety and fear. Projection of this fear onto entire groups of people often leads to dangerous behaviors. These types of behaviors harm the physical and mental wellbeing of targeted groups and does nothing to protect or keep others safe.
- Educate and maintain perspective. Communicating the facts that viruses do not target specific racial or ethnic groups and how COVID-19 actually spreads can help stop acts of bias. Continue to educate yourself on the facts of COVID-19 and the accurate and evidence based ways to protect yourself and each other.
- Exercise empathy, compassion and a sense of community. We do not have to neglect and treat community members with disrespect or hostility. Instead we can extend our collegiality and social support by standing with each other in this time of crisis. Understand that people are worried about family or friends, and be mindful of this as we interact with each other.
We continue to advise you to take care of yourself and each other. Treat each other with care and compassion and demonstrate the Cardinal spirit by making our community members all feel safe and that they belong. We are Cardinal Strong!
Why Diversity Matters
At SUNY Plattsburgh, we know that diversity is more than race, sex, gender, and sexual orientation. It is the full range of human experiences.
Diversity includes age, class, ethnicity, race, gender identity, gender expression, romantic orientation, nationality, (dis)ability, religion, sexual orientation, language, personality, communication style, work style, veteran status and more.
What is Inclusion?
Diversity is only a start. Inclusion is what occurs when students feel a strong sense of belonging. We are committed to offering a range of programs, policies, and practices that engage with the unique range of human experience you bring to SUNY Plattsburgh.
We need to give each other the space to grow, to be ourselves, to exercise our diversity. We need to give each other space so that we may both give and receive such beautiful things as ideas, openness, dignity, joy, healing, and inclusion.
Max de Pree