Dear students,

I am writing today to express solidarity with all of our students and families touched in any way by the most recent wave of violence targeting Asians in America. It is especially heartbreaking that many of these incidents have targeted elders. I am sure many if not all of you have heard about the death of Mr. Vicha Ratanapakdee, an 84-year-old father and grandfather who was out for a morning walk in San Francisco when he was pushed to the ground so violently that he died two days later in hospital. Sadly, there have been many other attacks here in the Bay Area and across the country.

As we mourn these losses and take extra steps to counsel and protect those at risk, we also know that anti-Asian violence, racism and hate have long been part of our nation. Recently, we have lived through a period when the use of anti-Asian rhetoric to describe the pandemic has emboldened white-supremacist and anti-Asian racists in our country. We have also seen attacks on our own campus as we communicated about last year.

At Stanford, I am relieved that conversations have gone beyond relying on the criminal justice system to hold perpetrators of violence accountable and placed emphasis on the knowledge that real change will come with our solidarity with, and collective investment in and support for, communities of color.

The Asian American Activities Center (A3C) is a beacon of affirmation and celebration of the Asian American community at Stanford – and it is a home of programs and resources to support students during this very difficult time. I encourage you to read the A3C’s statement on violence against Asians and related counseling, general and educational resources. Our Centers for Equity, Community and Leadership have long stood at the vanguard of efforts to dismantle racism and inequities at Stanford. Throughout my tenure, including now as I write to you, foremost in my mind is the need to provide the Centers with the support and visibility they need to continue the excellence of their programs to the benefit of all of our campus.

Some of you have been personally impacted by these horrific crimes in your communities across the country. Some of you are friends and classmates of those who have been impacted. While our hearts ache with anger and grief, our resolve is even stronger to be here for you and to stand with you against violence targeting the Asian community and against racist hate directed at any community of color. There is much we can do at and for Stanford, and by extension every community where our students and families live and work, during this pandemic and in the years to come.


Susie Brubaker-Cole
Vice Provost for Student Affairs