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University Of Maryland Under Fire For Not Classifying Asian Students As 'Students Of Color'

University Of Maryland Under Fire For Not Classifying Asian Students As 'Students Of Color'
Loop Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

The University of Maryland has received backlash for an enrollment and admissions graphic that separated Asian students from "Students of Color" and put them in the same category as White students.

On November 10, a graphic was shared during a presentation by university President Daryll Pines for the University Senate's "State of the Campus."

The chart showing undergraduate applications categorized students into two groups: "Students of Color, minus Asian" and "White or Asian Students."

The Diamondback reports community members believe the graphic minimizes the racism and hardships many Asian people face.

Anish Kakarla, President of the South Asian Student Association, feels the university only uses Asian students to show diversity when it's "convenient."

"[The university uses] us when they want to be diverse, and then not [use us in data] when they don't want to."

Amanda Vu, the co-vice president of external affairs of the Asian American Student Union, thinks the graphic perpetuated the idea Asians are "in close proximity to Whiteness."

The Model Minority Myth is a harmful stereotype that Asians are all straight-A students, whiz kids or musical genius', but are effeminate, submissive and cannot hold positions of leadership in fields like STEM or medicine.

Adam Ruins Everything did a segment explaining the origins and harm of this myth.

Kakarla wonders how the critical error on this graphic made it to the university senate presentation without someone making the change.

Vu, a sophomore community health and psychology major, said:

"It just puts us in a box where … forms of structure can just be like, 'Hey, they're doing well and they're close to White people.'"
"And it's frustrating, honestly."

The University gave a statement:

"[The graphic] was intended to show student populations that have historically represented 11 percent or less of our campus community—Black/African Americans, American Indians or Native Alaskans, Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander and Hispanics."
"The majority of our most recent freshman class is comprised of people of color."
"During his annual State of the Campus address, President Pines shared information about the demographics of the freshman class, including information about the diversity of the class,"

Sociologist and demographer Philip N. Cohen tweeted about the demographics of the school and said Asian students are not considered "underrepresented."

The graphic says Asian students in the 2020 freshman class make up 23% of the student population and White students make up 45%.

Steve Sin is the director of the Unconventional Weapons and Technology Division of the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism at the University of Maryland. He also gave a statement on his experience as an Asian in America.

Sin explained that he came to America when he was 12 years old, served in the military, and holds a doctorate.

"The American dream story meant that my dad at age 55 worked three shifts, cleaning airplanes every day … or how my mom worked two jobs so that we can afford [tutoring]."

Sin said he still faces discrimination. The graphic upholds the model minority myth and minimized the racism Asian people have faced for decades.

"I'm still facing microaggressions."
I'm still facing all those kinds of things that the minority populations face."

The news has reached Twitter where others outside the campus expressed their outrage.

Vu is looking towards the future of the University with more funding provided to programs that serve underrepresented groups.

"Sometimes it can feel frustrating as students to push for change and it not be heard by administration or it's caught up in formalities and legalities."
"We don't speak in those terms."
"The work that I've seen in the Asian American community to raise awareness about these issues is super inspiring and empowers me."

Hopefully, the school will hear the outrage from their students.