Marquette University’s decision to share a message of solidarity and stand with Asian and Asian American students should be commended after the shooting in Atlanta, Georgia last week.
A gunman killed eight people at different spas in the Atlanta area March 16. Six of them were women of Asian descent.
The university shared a message March 18 in support of Asian Americans in the aftermath of the March 16 shooting.
“At Marquette University, our Asian student population has nearly doubled over the past ten years, demonstrating the value of a Marquette education to students across cultures. And while we are not aware of any overt threats within our community, as a Catholic, Jesuit university, Marquette is committed to maintaining an environment where racism, racist behaviors and stereotyping – no matter how subtle – are not tolerated,” the message said. “We urge you at this time to embrace all of our community members who are harmed or made to feel unwelcome at Marquette because of racial and ethnic differences.”
The university should be commended for sharing this statement of solidarity with the Asian community at Marquette. In a time of severe division in our nation, sharing this statement is important for supporting students, faculty and staff on campus who may feel uncomfortable or unsafe in the aftermath of these events.
In addition to sharing this message with students in an email, the university also shared this statement on social media, where members of the Marquette community expressed their opinions in the comments.
While some of the comments were supportive and saddened by the events, many of the other comments are very concerning.
Rather than commending the university or sharing their support with the Asian community, some of the comments denied that these murders were race related and seemed to disregard the experiences of Asians and Asian Americans during this time.
“FYI – the shooter confessed that this was not RACE related! There are race issues in the world but let’s not make EVERY SINGLE tragedy a RACE PROBLEM,” one Facebook commenter said.
“Quit making everything about race!!” another Facebook commenter said.
“Um I’m confused. In his confession he stated he was addicted to sex. And was having sexual relations with these Asian women. So if this is true, how would that make him racist? And why are we jumping to conclusions, when they are still investigating? Is this the new norm?” another Facebook commenter said.
These types of comments are disheartening and wrong. Asian American students at Marquette are also feeling disappointed with the community and how certain people are reacting.
A Marquette faculty member also said the amount of these negative comments from the community were “enough to make Jesus cry.”
Additionally, while the gunman said his motives were not race related, that doesn’t mean that they weren’t.
These murders come during a time where hate crime against the Asian community in the United States have substantially increased. The university cites in its message that Asians and Asian Americans have reported an estimated 3,800 hate crimes this year.
Being part of a community that values embodying “cura personalis” among other Jesuit Catholic values, it is disappointing to see so many Marquette community members share hurtful comments.
According to the Office of Institutional Research and Analysis, there are 720 enrolled undergraduate and graduate students and 128 faculty members that are part of the Asian community as of the fall 2020 semester.
Regardless of the gunman’s motives, Asian and Asian American communities on and off campus deserve support right now.
Members of the Marquette community should follow the university’s lead to express this support.
We support the university’s message and don’t condone the behavior of others on Facebook and we must all continue to give support to Asians and Asian Americans outside of tragedies.
Editorial topics by the Marquette Wire are decided at weekly meetings between members of the executive board. The editorial is crafted with leadership by the executive opinions editor. The executive board consists of the executive director of the Wire, managing editor of the Marquette Tribune, managing editor of the Marquette Journal, general manager of MUTV, general manager of MUR and nine additional top editors across the organization.