Dear H4A members, 

We hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. We wanted to alert you to a big push on campus to create, finally, an Ethnic Studies program that would include Asian American Studies, as well as remind you in this season of giving that you can direct your Harvard contributions toward Ethnic/Asian American Studies. Gifts toward Ethnic Studies made by H4A members and friends since 2009 have helped lead to: the first hire of a full-time professor committed to Asian American Studies, Ju Yon Kim; the hiring of a number of visiting faculty in Asian American Studies; and the establishment of a secondary/minor program in Ethnic Studies (which at Harvard is called Ethnicity, Migration, Rights, or EMR). Professor Kim's course in Asian American literature has grown from about 20 students to 80, and the other courses in Asian American Studies are now so popular that they require a lottery to enroll. 

Still, the students are eager for more courses and resources in this area and—building on decades of activism by Harvard's Asian American students—are calling for the establishment of Ethnic Studies as a full concentration/major, as well as an official track in Asian American Studies (this covers all parts of Asia, including South Asia and the Pacific Islands). There are not enough courses yet to support such a track. There is, of course, a full department in African and African American Studies, as well as a new secondary track in Latino Studies; too often Asian Americans and other groups are left out. (Meanwhile, Harvard has approved a new secondary in European Studies.) 

Further student testimonials are linked below. If you wish to support their efforts, please sign this petition TODAYhundreds of students and alumni have signed, but many more are needed before it goes to President Faust this week.
Financial support is another way you can help: There are two Ethnic Studies funds that you can give to through Harvard College and the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (please note that Ethnic Studies donations do not count as gifts to the other schools—HLS, HBS, HMS, etc.). Write the name of the fund in the "Other Fund Name" box that appears on the online giving form, or on your paper contribution form. These two funds will accept gifts of any amount (need to reach about $80K to bring a visiting professor for a year). If you are interested in something more specific (for example, endowment of a full professorship!) or would like further details, please email us at and we will answer or connect you with the appropriate University officials.

1. Visiting Faculty Fund in Ethnic Studies (Asian American Studies) -- supports the hiring of visiting faculty who teach for a semester or two; though temporary, their courses are critical in meeting student demand. The parenthetical indicates your interest, though the funds support Ethnic Studies broadly. 
2. Ethnicity, Migration, Rights Fund (Asian American Studies) -- supports programmatic needs, such as course development, speakers, workshops, and library materials. 

On a related note, there has been a lot of activity and discussion on campus regarding diversity issues of all sorts: the ongoing lawsuit regarding admissions of Asian American students; calls to denounce Harvard grad Steve Bannon; alum Elaine Chao, who spoke at our 2010 Summit, named as Transportation Secretary;  the soccer and cross-country team "reports" on female playersHarvard's ties to slavery; the final club controversy; sexual harrassment. One piece (also attached) particularly caught our eye, regarding a racist verbal attack on William Lee, the head of the Harvard Corporation, who spoke at both H4A Summits. It is indeed a chilling account. If any of you have thoughts on a role for H4A to play in any of this, please let us know. 

Download PDF of article on William Lee
Download PDF of student testimonials

May your holiday season be a peaceful one.

Jeannie Park '83 and Margaret Chin '84
for the H4A University Affairs Committee