A statement of support for our Asian community during the COVID-19 pandemic

pen and notepad on desk

To All Members of the University Community,

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, President Mark Schlissel announced sweeping measures on March 13 to protect the health and safety of our entire community. In the seven weeks since this announcement, we have seen our “curve” flatten, a positive impact of social distancing reported by Michigan Medicine.

During this time, the majority of us have been working, learning and researching remotely. Although we may be separated physically, we have found new, creative and innovative ways to stay connected, perhaps even more closely than we ever imagined possible.

While many positive moments have emerged during this challenging situation, there has also been an alarming increase in discriminatory incidents directed at Asian Americans, as well as an anti-Chinese dialogue occurring across our country. Members of our own U-M community have, and continue to be, affected by these actions and discourse.

Xenophobic and racist behavior is contrary to our values at U-M and is not representative of our institutional beliefs. President Schlissel has publicly condemned this form of hate on several occasions. I join him in that condemnation. My heart goes out to those who have been affected and negatively impacted by such incidents. I find these actions to be disgraceful, disappointing and repugnant. The University of Michigan strives to be a community that is safe and welcoming – where diversity, equity and inclusion are our guiding values. There is no room for such actions and attitudes in the university community that we are trying to build.

Despite the harmful intentions of these incidents, I would like to shine a light on the overwhelming majority of our community that has come together and continues to support each other when others are attacked. Our strength resides in our shared sense of decency and respect.

Hate-filled actions will only strengthen our resolve to have the University of Michigan live up to its considerable potential as a place that supports and empowers its entire community. A place where everyone is welcome and has an equitable opportunity to succeed and contribute.

Recently, I met with members of the University of Michigan’s APID/A (Asian, Pacific Islander, Desi/American) community who have come together to form a task force to combat AAPI hate. I would like to share a resource developed around reporting incidents of anti-hate and providing community support.

Additionally, several campus resources are available:

  • For Students:
  • Faculty and Staff Counseling and Consultation Office (FASCCO) – myumi.ch/bvmp8
  • University of Michigan Police Department: (734) 763-1131

I want to commend the efforts of the APID/A community. Their courage, resilience and solidarity have exemplified what it truly means to be a Michigan Wolverine.

As we continue our efforts to combat COVID-19, we are indeed, all in this together. Please take care of one another and yourself during this time. When we emerge from this unparalleled moment in our history, we will be a stronger and more compassionate University. We will win the future.


Robert M. Sellers
Vice Provost for Equity and Inclusion
Chief Diversity Officer

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