Posted on December 14, 2011

Group Pushes for Asian-American Studies Program

Lisa Berkman, Daily Targum, December 12, 2011

Protestors chanting “We are Asian-Americans, we will not stop the fight,” last week on the College Avenue campus were heard in School of Arts and Sciences Executive Dean Douglas Greenberg’s office, but were not greeted with a desirable response.

The march on December 7 to Greenberg’s office on 77 Hamilton St. was part of the Asian American Leadership Cabinet’s ongoing initiative for an Asian-American studies program at the University.

Greenberg said he recognizes the protestors’ concerns, but can only do so much under financial pressures.

“Do we do enough in Asian-American studies? Probably not. But I don’t think it’s a fair claim to say we’re unfair,” Greenberg said. “We’re doing the best we can with very limited resources. Students surely know what the situation with the Rutgers budget is.”

The 60 marchers wanted to express Asian-American studies’ importance on campus, said Long Pham, an AALC member.

“We have Asian Studies, but that relates to Asia. We want to know the Asian-American history, the way to analyze the things that have happened to us in the past and how they affect us politically, socially, culturally and economically,” said Pham, a School of Arts and Sciences senior.

After failed attempts at quiet negotiation, students staged a loud protest to get attention, said Aamir Lalani, co-coordinator of the demonstration.

“We’re going against the prevailing notion that Asians are passive and not willing to take a stand,” said Lalani, a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore. “That’s in part what I believe has the University resting and not fully supporting Asian-American studies.”


The organization plans for more protests toward equal academic opportunities, said Claire Chang, an AALC member.

“We believe, as a collective, that we can do things efficiently without leaving people out of the process,” she said. “We all have this collective effort to get things done.”