Dear Members of the USF Community,
Throughout this year of COVID-19, we have seen a skyrocketing number of incidents of harassment, hate speech, and racist acts directed at Asians, Asian Americans, and Pacific Islanders. Last month, President Biden signed an executive order directing the Department of Justice to improve data collection and reporting of anti-Asian hate incidents; and instructing the Department of Health and Human Services to issue guidance to public health services around cultural competency, language access, and sensitivity.
Here in the Bay Area, officials say unprovoked attacks, some on elderly people, have occurred with increasing frequency. Last week, Vicha Ratanapakdee, 84, died of injuries he received when he was pushed to the pavement during a morning walk in his Anza Vista neighborhood, just blocks from our campus.
We condemn all acts of harassment, hate speech, racism, and violence.
We recognize and honor members of the Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander communities who are integral to our civic and cultural lives in the Bay Area.
We stand in solidarity with those in our USF community who have experienced harassment and racist acts.
If, upon hearing about or experiencing these recent events, you find you need assistance, please remember that the university offers counseling and support services for students, faculty, and staff.
Faculty and staff members can also contact CONCERN, the university’s employee assistance program, at (800) 344-4222.
Please join me in standing against injustice and hate, and in supporting all members of our diverse, inclusive community. It is important that all our students, faculty, and staff experience the unwavering support of their USF family.
Paul J. Fitzgerald, S.J.