I write in response to the Resolution Supporting Asian-American Student Initiative, which was approved by the University Senate at its April 23, 2004 meeting. I would first like to thank the members of the Equal Opportunities Committee for their thoughtful recommendations, and to report that the administration has taken a number of steps to strengthen the universityís support of Asian American students as well as the continuing dialogue we have established through the appointment of Associate Vice President Karen Stubaus to serve as liaison.
As described in the resolution, the Asian-American Cultural Center needs increased resources to serve Rutgers students adequately. Accordingly, the administration contributed a line and appropriate salary dollars to enable the Center to hire a full-time secretary. Also, we have designated funding to enable Center Director To Thi Bosacchi to hire a part-time assistant for programming. Along with this funding came the administrationís promise to entertain requests from the director for additional funding during 2004-05 as needed. In addition, after meeting with students about the Cultural Centerís space needs, Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Philip Furmanski and I pledged to ensure that new space being planned within the Livingston College Student Center will be adequate and appropriate. Dr. Furmanski and Executive Vice President for Administrative Affairs Karen Kavanagh are meeting with those planning the expansion soon after the start of the new semester.
The University Senateís resolution notes that Executive Dean Smith appointed a committee on Asian American Academic Concerns. The Deanís Office is moving forward on several of the committeeís recommendations. FAS is planning to hire a language coordinator for 2005-06 who will oversee instruction in a variety of languages, including South Asian languages such as Tagalog (which currently is not offered, and for which many students have specifically petitioned the administration). The Deanís Office has authorized the Asian Languages and Cultures Department to conduct two searches for faculty members specializing in Chinese literature and culture and in Japanese language, literature, or culture. FAS has also authorized several departments to recruit new faculty members working in race, ethnicity, gender studies, and diaspora studies. And through its faculty diversity initiative, FAS is requiring departments that will be recruiting during the year and have under-representation from various demographic groups, including Asian and Asian-American faculty, to follow a variety of procedures to ensure that they maximize their chance of attracting and hiring faculty from these under-represented groups.
The Committee on Asian American Academic Concerns also made recommendations regarding specific course offerings; however, because of the late spring approval of these recommendations, they will have to be taken up during the 2005-06 academic year.
Every Rutgers student should feel welcome and appreciated at this university. Our Asian American students deserve our best efforts to ensure that Rutgers meets their needs and creates a welcome, intellectually stimulating environment in which to learn and contribute to the university community. The administration is committed to building on the progress outlined in this letter, and the support and guidance of the University Senate is appreciated as we move forward on this commitment.
Richard L. McCormick