the fight for asian american studies at hunter college

Soon after posting this entry about the lack of Asian American studies at Harvard, I heard from several students who are in the same predicament—an ongoing struggle to have Asian American studies fully implemented at their schools. For instance, I heard from Olivia at Hunter College:
My name is Olivia Lin, junior at Hunter College in NYC. I'm co-founder of the Coalition for the Revitalization of Asian American Studies at Hunter (CRAASH). I was shocked to see that Harvard is experiencing that same problem we are having here at Hunter College, New York City. The Asian American Studies Program at Hunter was created in 1993 due to student and faculty protest.

Fourteen years later, it's still horrible. Even though Hunter College is 24% Asian (Yes, 24%!), the AASP is the program that is least supported by Hunter and CUNY Administration. CRAASH has met with administration, and they just don't want to hear it. We collected over 1,000 signatures, and are reaching out to media organizations to spread the word and put pressure on Hunter/CUNY to make some positive changes.

Here are some of the inadequate conditions that CRAASH hopes to improve:

*The AASP has a $0 budget. They were given $500 for supplies.

* There is no full time faculty in the AASP. All professors are either adjuncts or faculty from other departments.

* There is no real office for the AASP. Right now, the AASP is based in the acting head’s office. This office will be given back to the Women's Studies Program in spring 2008. Conditions were so severe in spring 2007 that professors were forced to work in a STORAGE CLOSET. Even the closet was taken away when a sorority moved in.

* Most of the AASP courses listed in the Hunter College course catalog are not even offered. The courses that will be offered in spring '08 are the same ones that are taught every semester. The AASP hopes to offer NEW classes in fall '08, such as Asian Americans in the Media, Southeast Asians in the US, and Filipino Americans - however, they don't have the money to pay for the classes.

* Conditions got so bad last term that the AASP minor was put on hold until fall 2007.
Learn more about the Coalition for the Revitalization of Asian American Studies at Hunter (CRAASH) on Facebook. At my school, concerned students actually staged a hunger strike until the administration promised to develop a permanent Asian American studies program. It was a pretty rocky start, but I can honestly the Asian American studies classes that I took ni college made a huge impact on my life's outlook, understanding and purpose. These students deserve the same.

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