March 24, 2020 Learning in a Time of COVID-19 Letter to Students
Dear Asian American Studies students,
We realize this is a very challenging time for you and your loved ones; it’s equally challenging for all of us as instructors and staff members. Since the campus has decided to continue operations remotely over the spring quarter, we all expect to “see” you (via Zoom) in the coming weeks. Indeed, given widespread anti-Asian prejudice, bigotry and harassment with the spread of COVID-19, now more than ever, we as a society need the critical insights that Asian American Studies (please see the recent statement about Anti-Anti-Asian Harassment and the COVID-19/Novel Coronavirus from the Association for Asian American Studies on our website https://asa.ucdavis.edu/public-statements).
To better prepare all of us for the new reality of remote learning, we want to share the following sets of resources with you:
Principles of the ASA Community: Kindness, Patience and Grace
Though the campus has its own principles of community (https://diversity.ucdavis.edu/principles-community) to which we also abide, we have a very special culture of care in ASA. Those of you who know us, know that ASA is a space that tries to foster a strong sense of community. If you have ever been in the ASA office, you know that anyone who needs a place to study is welcome to use our space. You know, too, that we have an “honor” snack bar where students can eat what they want, as much as they want when they need to. All we ask is that they donate money or their favorite snack when they can. You also know that the faculty and staff are warm and welcoming. In this time of crisis, we pledge to continue to foster that culture of care and to treat each of you with kindness, patience and grace.
Are you ready for remote learning? Prepping for class
First Week of Class: Even though classes are supposed to start on March 30th, we recognize that all of us may still be adjusting to the transition to remote learning. Our instructors will take measures to ensure that our classes are fully accessible to you first. We as faculty and instructors do not expect to start officially lecturing on course material until 2-3 weeks following the start of the quarter, however, we do hope you begin reading and assignments as soon as you have access to them via Canvas. Please note, that some of the faculty may not yet have published their Canvas courses.
Needs Survey: Please fill out this survey to help us better serve you as learners. Please make sure to use your UC Davis email to fill it out.
Computer and Internet Access: The campus has assured us that it will do its best to provide computer and internet access to students who need it. Here is the link for more information.https://keepteaching.ucdavis.edu/student-resources
Readings: Assuming you have a computer and internet access, please make sure to download the library VPN (https://www.library.ucdavis.edu/service/connect-from-off-campus/) in order to access any readings for your courses from Shields. Our instructors will do the best we can to provide you with PDFs with readings on Canvas but in case you need to access readings from the library, you will need VPN. Plus, if your instructor requires you to do library research, you will need to have VPN to access readings. Otherwise, you may be asked to pay for reading material. Since it is not clear that postal services will operate in the same way over the next few weeks, we are advising instructors to adjust their syllabi so as to provide you with readings that are easily accessible.
Communication: We will do our best as a department and as individual instructors to keep you updated on all developments that may impact your learning. However, if you have specific questions or concerns, it is very important that you communicate directly with your TAs and/or faculty in the methods that they specify. See below for info on how to contact ASA staff.
Are you feeling physically and emotionally prepared to learn? Resources that can help
We realize that you will not be prepared to learn remotely if your basic needs (physical and emotional) are not being met. Here is information to help you navigate campus resources to assist.
Medical and Mental Health Resources: Free online medical, mental health, and psychiatry appointments:https://shcs.ucdavis.edu/online-visits*must use coupon codes provided on website*
Mental health support:
In-person crisis support @ North Hall available M-F 9AM-4:30PM
Telehealth (phone or video) visits offered for all other visits
Call 530-752-0871 to schedule appointments
Crisis text line: Text “RELATE” to 741741
*Free for all registered students
Anti Asian Bias: We realize that a good majority of students enrolled in our classes identify as Asian American Pacific Islander. We also realize that many are experiencing anti-Asian bias of all kinds. If that has happened to you, please consider report to the following:
UC Davis Harassment & Discrimination Assistance and Prevention Program: https://hdapp.ucdavis.edu/report-incident
Stop AAPI Hate: http://www.asianpacificpolicyandplanningcouncil.org/stop-aapi-hate/
General Unemployment Resources: https://edd.ca.gov/about_edd/coronavirus-2019.htm *especially helpful if you have family members who lost jobs or if you worked off campus and lost employment
We will be posting additional resources on the ASA website.
Since the main office will be closed, you can keep updated on developments in Asian American Studies through our website (https://asa.ucdavis.edu/) and Facebook https://www.facebook.com/UCDavisAsianAmericanStudies/
Angel Truong, ASA Department Coordinator, provides departmental information, and will be available Monday-Friday 12pm-4pm. Please contact her via email firstname.lastname@example.org or (530) 752-2069.
Joe Nguyen will be available by phone or email for academic advising between the hours of 10am-3pm M-F. Please contact him at (530) 752-8617 or email@example.com
Dr. Robyn M. Rodriguez, chair of Asian American Studies, provides overall direction to the faculty and staff. If you have questions or concerns about your remote learning experiences in Asian American Studies, please contact her via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also schedule Zoom office hours with her here. She is also available by phone during regular business hours (9AM-6PM) at 732-979-5768. If she doesn’t answer, please leave a voicemail.
Aizl Albon and Julie Guan are our peer advisors and can lend academic support as well as advice and recommendations on academic success. Students are strongly encouraged to reach out to Peer Advisers with any questions relative to their learning experience.
Dr. Tatum Phan is our CAN Community Counselor. She is available for free consultations and counseling services via phone and video Contact via email with schedule of availability: email@example.com
AAAS Statement about Anti-Asian Harassment and the COVID-19/Novel Coronavirus
The Centers for Disease Control recently announced that the COVID-19/novel coronavirus may spread in the United States. As people take precautions to manage their health (the two biggest precautions are frequent handwashing and staying home if you are sick), the Association for Asian American Studies (AAAS) wants to also acknowledge the rise of anti-Asian (especially anti-Chinese) harassment that many Asian Americans (particularly those who look East Asian) are experiencing. As an organization dedicated to the study of Asian Americans, we want to be very clear that harassment of Asians due to fears of the coronavirus are not only unwarranted but sadly part of a longer history of stereotypes associating Asians, especially Chinese, with disease. We stand firm in rejecting anti-Asian bigotry in the guise of people expressing fear of COVID-19. We also urge people to find resources that will educate them about how to stay healthy as well as why their prejudices/biases in assuming all Asians have the coronavirus are rooted in a history of Yellow Peril rhetoric, xenophobia, ableism, and anti-Asian racism. For more, please see this open-source syllabus on resources for addressing anti-Asian bias associated with the coronavirus. And please remember: frequent handwashing not anti-Asian stereotypes/harassment are your best means of preventing the spread of coronavirus.
ASA Statement on DACA
We, the faculty and staff in the Asian American Studies department, condemn the Trump administration’s decision to revoke the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and pledge to support all students, faculty, and staff, including undocumented members of our student and campus community. According to AAPI Data, there are an estimated 1.6 million Asian Americans who are undocumented and who must often live in fear and silence.
Trump’s decision follows on the heels of previous anti-immigrant and xenophobic rhetoric and policies, including the anti-Muslim/Arab/African travel ban and plans to further fortify the U.S.-Mexico border, which we opposed in a previous statement. We note that the heightened fear and insecurity experienced by undocumented students and members of our communities is not new, but extends an ongoing crisis under the Obama administration which deported masses of brown people. DACA offers only minimal protection to undocumented youth but for many it is the only option available, and so the rescinding of even this very limited legal protection is outrageous.
As scholars in ethnic studies who study and teach the history of migration, racist exclusion, enslavement, and settler colonization in the United States, we are deeply aware that the U.S. is not, in fact, the safe haven for “huddled masses” that it purports to be. Many who cross borders to enter the U.S. do not actually see it as a benevolent savior but seek survival, as they flee countries that are, in many cases, impoverished and devastated by decades of U.S. policies of predatory capitalism and military intervention in other nations.
We support the right to freedom of movement, freedom to stay, and freedom to live without persecution for all people, regardless of their race, religion, nationality, class, ability, gender, sexuality, and political beliefs. Undocumented Asian and Pacific Islander lives and families are threatened by the xenophobic policies of a state that wants their labor but is not willing to support their lives. As Asian American studies, we know that these policies build on a history of immigration exclusion and worker exploitation that can be traced to earlier moments, such as the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, which targeted a specific (Asian) racial group, as well as post-9/11 policies of deportation, detention, and surveillance of Muslim, South Asian, and Arab immigrants.
Racialized policies of deportation and criminalization of immigrants occur in a larger geo-political context of U.S. imperial interventions and military expansionism around the globe. The Trump regime has escalated tensions and military threats on the Korean peninsula, aided in the destruction and starvation of Yemen and havoc wreaked on Syria, and dropped a massive bomb on Afghanistan. From West to East Asia, it has continued U.S. policies of imperial expansion, intervention, and warfare and undermined the movement for climate justice.
We are also deeply concerned about the escalating violence by white nationalist activists and the condoning of white supremacist and hate groups by the U.S. President that has emboldened white vigilantes, on and off campus. Our goal in Asian American studies is to continue to teach our students about the struggles for racial and social justice, to work with other communities to create true “security” for all, and to engage with others beyond the university in meaningful acts of solidarity and partnership.
The Asian American Studies department will continue to support DACA students by having Know Your Rights cards available for all, serving as UndocuAllies, working in solidarity and partnership with the AB540 Center on campus and our colleagues in other departments focused on racial justice, supporting programming to help raise awareness about and create forums for the discussion of issues faced by DACA students, and connecting our students to community resources and sources of support.