Open letter to President Hodge: Miami needs to step up to improve reception of international students


The undersigned faculty of the Asian and Asian American Studies Program and other concerned faculty, staff and students at Miami University, unequivocally disagree with the anonymous faculty member who wrote the opinion piece, “Admitting international students for the wrong reasons brings down the university,” published on Nov. 4, 2014, in The Miami Student. We also join our colleagues in the English Department and other Miami faculty, staff, students and alumni, to express our enthusiastic support for all international students, whom we see as an invaluable resource for a university committed to offering a global education based on four principles: thinking critically, understanding contexts, engaging with other learners and reflecting and acting. However, international students face many challenges that need to be addressed in order for their skills, experiences and backgrounds to be fully realized for all members of Miami, and for them to be welcomed as full Miamians.

Before we can discuss how best to address the institutional neglect and specific needs of international students at Miami, we want to first express our deep concern over a growing anti-Asian sentiment on campus that the anonymous letter indicates. For example, two years ago a Miami student used Twitter to send disparaging racial slurs against Asians. And now a Miami faculty member has labeled the “majority” of international students, and overseas Chinese students in particular, as unqualified “dead weight” whose presence “negatively affect[s] other sectors of our student population.” While some may suggest that these are isolated incidents, we strongly disagree with such an assessment. The student’s account “OxfordAsians” had over 1,000 followers that marked his tweets as their favorite and forwarded them to others. Comments in social networking sites, such as Yik Yak and Facebook, reinforced the faculty letter’s message that international students from Asia are not welcome at Miami. Read the whole article.

This article was originally published on The Miami Student.