*Editor’s Note: In a previous draft of this editorial, there were two incorrect claims regarding the University’s response to the virtual vigil bombing. According to Sheri Schwab, the Vice Provost for Institutional Equity and Diversity, the Office of Information Technology and University Police were contacted to investigate the virtual vigil bombing, and a private statement was sent to attendees of the vigil. The editorial has been updated to reflect on this information.
On March 22, Multicultural Student Affairs hosted a virtual vigil for the victims of the Atlanta spa shootings on March 16. Six of these victims, Daoyou Feng, Delaina Hyun Jung Grant, Suncha Kim, Soon Chung Park, Xiaojie Tan and Yong A. Yue, were Asian women, highlighting the disturbing rise in anti-Asian and Pacific Islander bigotry over the past year. The virtual vigil was instantly bombarded by racist attacks and disturbing imagery, which included a swastika, from various unidentified attendees, which resulted in the vigil locking down. Following the coordinated attack, no attendees voluntarily used the voice feature during the vigil.*
It is obvious from the attack on the virtual vigil that even our own communities at NC State are not immune to the rise in racism experienced throughout the pandemic. As students, we cannot allow anti-Asian and Pacific Islander sentiments to continue spreading within the student body, and we cannot continue watching this problem fester from the sidelines.
While the University sent out a private statement to attendees of the virtual vigil apologizing for the attack, it is disheartening that the public student body was not notified of this statement or the investigation on the attack even if there was an earlier statement from Chancellor Woodson condemning the Atlanta spa shooting.* NC State has already disappointed us time and time again with their response to racism and discrimination on campus, and we cannot let the University once again slide on their commitment to diversity and equity. If the University truly cares about its Asian and Pacific Islander students, staff and faculty, it must not only condemn the attack on the virtual vigil, but hold the harassers accountable and ensure this does not happen again. The University must also be transparent with their process on who these people were and how they will punish them.
We encourage students, staff and faculty to educate and continue educating themselves on Asian, Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. These communities have been dangerously misrepresented and stereotyped for too long, and in order to combat hate, we must be able to recognize all forms of it.
We also encourage students, staff and faculty affected by the recent events to prioritize their health and utilize the various resources compiled by the Counseling Center. We must also not forget to check in on our Asian American and Pacific Islander student organizations and communities, as these communities are the ones facing the harshest blowback from the recent, painful events.
Hate cannot be allowed both on and off our campus, whether miles away or right in front of our Zoom screens. As members of the NC State community, we must actively work towards a fair and equitable society, and that includes our peers of Asian and Pacific Islander descent.
This unsigned editorial is the opinion of Technician’s editorial board and is the responsibility of the editor-in-chief.