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Supporting our community in the face of anti-Asian violence and sentiment

A letter from Dean Jennifer Widom

Dear SoE graduate students,


As you know, I’ve been writing to you each month about a range of issues that affect you, as well as our entire community. Last week I sent you a note acknowledging the one-year mark of the pandemic and sharing information about the important work of the Dean’s Graduate Student Advisory Council. But events in this past week have moved me to write to you again to express my deep concern about the rise of anti-Asian sentiment and violence throughout the entire country and in the Bay Area itself.

Earlier this week, as you know, eight people were murdered in the Atlanta area, six of whom were women of Asian descent. Also this week, two elderly Asian Americans were attacked in San Francisco. Tragically, these events were only the latest in a long and horrific string of similar incidents, and a history of violence, prejudice, and scapegoating against Asian individuals in the United States.

I have heard from our students, as well as faculty and staff, about the trauma, uncertainty, and fear these attacks are causing, compounded by the fact that we are isolated from one another, and from loved ones and fellow community members. So, echoing the recent statement from President Marc Tessier-Lavigne, I want to deliver a clear and unambiguous message: You are all welcome and valued here. The School of Engineering remains committed to ending systemic racism and to creating a safe and inclusive environment for all members of our community.

You can find a list of resources here, from counseling options to how to report a hate crime to ways to become involved in anti-racism efforts. All of us in the School of Engineering dean’s office are also available to support you, along with staff and faculty in our nine departments and ICME; please don't hesitate to reach out.

Jennifer Widom