Message From the Dean on Violence and Harassment Against Asian Americans

Dear NYLS Community,

We join together to condemn recent acts of violence against Asian Americans.

Many of us have seen horrifying news reports of individual brutal and unprovoked attacks. Since March 2020, the group Stop AAPI Hate has received more than 3,000 firsthand accounts of attacks or other abuse against people of Asian descent. In New York City, the number of hate crimes with Asian American victims reported to the New York Police Department climbed nearly ten-fold between 2020 and 2019, from three to 28.

We equally condemn all forms of harassment and discrimination against Asian Americans. Between February and December of 2019, 30 bias incidents of anti-Asian discrimination and harassment were reported to the New York City Commission on Human Rights. During the same 11-month period in 2020, that number grew to 205. Asian American business owners are struggling to weather not only the economic impact of the pandemic, but additional loss of business due to racism and xenophobia.

The United States has a long history of anti-Asian racism and exclusion. It is up to all of us, as Americans, as New Yorkers, and as members of the legal profession to build a better future. No one should have to feel afraid to walk down the street, to take out their garbage, to commute to work—or for their parents or grandparents to do the same.

One important step we can take is to combat misinformation, including damaging and false reports about the source of the pandemic. The Asian American Bar Association of New York and the law firm Paul Weiss conducted a joint study on these issues. The study—titled “A Rising Tide of Hate and Violence Against Asian Americans in New York During COVID-19: Impact, Causes, Solutions”—is a thorough and helpful resource on what has led us to this moment.

It is also important to respond appropriately and quickly if we witness hateful behavior. Stop AAPI Hate has created a list of safety tips for witnesses and those experiencing hateful behavior. In addition, a toolkit of resources is available through New York City government for learning about and reporting harassment.

NYLS remains ready to provide support and advocacy for our students and other community members in need. Crisis counseling services are still available for all students. These sessions are virtual, free, and confidential. As always, Assistant Dean Sally Harding and Senior Director Shani Darby in the Office of Student Life are available to help connect students to resources.

Finally, in the next few weeks, the Student Bar Association, with other student organizations, will host a panel discussion on this topic. We encourage the full community to attend.

Dean Anthony W. Crowell and the NYLS Asian American Law Students Association

Associate Dean William P. LaPiana

The Student Organizations and Co-Curricular Programs of NYLS

Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Office of Student Life