u. penn cuts funding for asian american studies [updated]

Got word passed along to me about some outcry at the University of Pennsylvania over lowered funding for the Asian American Studies program... Last week, the University notified officials in the Asian American Studies department that their budget, which was apparently descreased by 25% for this academic year, will likely remain at the same lower level for the 2008-2009 academic year: Lower ASAM budget criticized.

Curious news, considering that the University recently announced that its endowment has grown to $6.6 billion, and has launched a $3.5 billion fund raising drive. But it seems none of that money will be going to the Asian American studies department. The funding decision was made without any formal discussion or meeting with the department, according to ASAM department administrators.

This development comes at a time when the Asian American Studies has never been more important. Do I need to remind folks of U.Penn's recent Punch Bowl controversy? That was just two months ago. The department has also made quite a few stridges, recently celebrating its 10th anniversary, giving two professors tenure, and getting none other than actor Kal Penn to teach a course on Asian American in the media.

The program will continue to operate as usual, just on a lower budget, I guess. Caution, though. If we're not careful, we could see this move marking the beginning of the end. An online petition has been started to Save Asian American Studies at Penn. Props to Ben Alisuag, who has been spearheading this movement, as the head of the Asian Pacific Student Coalition. (Thanks, Matt.)

UPDATE: Hold up. Not so fast with those budget cuts... It looks as though 1500+ signatures and the threatened resignation of the Department Chair was good enough to change the U. Penn administration's mind today. Got this letter passed along to me, from the Asian Pacific Student Coalition:
Hello All,
The Asian Pacific Student Coalition and the Asian American Studies Undergraduate Advisory Board are pleased to announce that Asian American Studies will indeed exist next year at Penn.

After extensive conversations between both administrators in the School of Arts and Sciences and the Asian American Studies program, we have solidified a budget plan that will no doubt allow our program to function even beyond adequate levels.
Thank you to everyone who supported our cause. We have accumulated over 1500 signatures on our online petition and we are grateful to have such a supportive community.

The rally is still on. Please join us Thursday, April 3rd from 12-2pm on College Green to demonstrate our support for Asian American Studies.

Asian Pacific Student Coalition

PS. Please forward to as many people as possible! We really, really appreciate it!


Thurs, April 3rd: 12-2pm, College Green

The 25% budget cut has been reversed thanks to the efforts of students, alumni, faculty and administrators.

Please join us in celebrating this achievement and reaffirming our support of the Asian American Studies program.

School of Arts and Sciences Dean Bushnell, Director of Asian American Studies Dr. Grace Kao and many student leaders will speak at the rally. Maintaining our institution is a continuous process but this is definitely a good step forward.

Keep up the fight!
Hell yes. It seems that the planned protest rally at the University of Pennsylvania has suddenly become a celebration rally. Props to everyone involved with this process, and all who worked and spoke out to ensure this outcome. Nice work, brothers and sister. Keep it going.

angry archive