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#UMichIsComplicit

A Statement from UAAO Executive Board:


"The United Asian American Organizations is allying with the #UMichIsComplicit campaign to uncover university corruption related to discrimination of faculty of color and unfair sexual misconduct policies. We take this stance because current discrimination directly harms A/PIA Studies faculty, and in turn threatens a program that UAAO historically and currently supports. We urge our membership to inform themselves on how to show up for this multi-community issue through reading this statement.

The #UMichIsComplicit campaign supports A/PIA Professors Emily Lawsin and Scott Kurashige in their lawsuit against the University of Michigan by rallying students to stand with the findings of this litigation. While Professor Emily Lawsin is currently employed by the university, our own administrators have violated her lecturers’ contract in attempts to fire her. Professor Kurashige was forced out of his position as director of A/PIA Studies and has had his job applications completely disregarded, despite being the current president of the American Studies Association. The University has not presented valid reasons for these actions against both professors. The University’s abuse of power to forward a discriminatory agenda comes at the cost of A/PIA Studies faculty, invalidating the A/PIA Studies program that came to fruition three decades ago through the same student activism that founded UAAO and many other structures that support the A/PIA student community on campus.

During the discovery of these wrongful hiring and ousting practices, Professor Lawsin’s initial lawsuit also uncovered that the university continues to work against the best interest of sexual assault survivors. Furthermore, against the suggestion of the Sixth Circuit Court, the University of Michigan allows perpetrators to cross-examine survivors who report sexual assault. When questioned about this disturbing sexual misconduct policy, University President Mark Schlissel claimed that “it might be less traumatizing to have a peer ask questions of another peer,” rather than allowing personal advisors and lawyers to conduct the cross-examination process. Multiple student survivors and advocacy groups have stated otherwise. Under no condition should a sexual assault victim be interrogated by their perpetrator, and it is absolutely unacceptable for the University to punish victims who have asked for their help.

For as long as the university’s administration routinely engages in secret and illegal acts to undermine civil rights and Title IX investigations, UAAO will continue to fight to change this system. We are in unity to cement the positions of A/PIA faculty and to pave our own future. We stand firmly with Professor Emily Lawsin and Professor Scott Kurashige in their lawsuit, and with any A/PIA Studies faculty that have suffered from the corrupt practices at this university. We stand with survivors and the right for their cases to be held in a just framework, as well as the right for survivors to hold agency over their own lives. We remind students that they hold a distinct position of power to advocate for A/PIA Studies faculty and all sexual assault victims, as well as critique the University, so it is our duty to show up for this lawsuit.

We cannot and will not work for the best interests of the university if the university will not work for the best interests of us."

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