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This message was shared with the students, faculty and staff of the 10-campus University of Hawaiʻi system on March 18, 2021.


Our university, our state, our nation and the world have faced immense challenges over the past year as we have coped with a major pandemic crisis and its devastating economic impacts. At the same time, we have seen a deepening of many of the divisions between people of different backgrounds. A recent manifestation has been the deplorable increase in incidents of violence against Asians, Asian Americans and others of color.

Attacks targeting individuals of Asian descent, or who appear to be, have been on the rise since the COVID-19 pandemic started. Many of these attacks in recent months have been directed toward kūpuna (elders).

As a higher education institution dedicated to the inclusion and advancement of all peoples, the University of Hawaiʻi must condemn these acts of violence, discrimination, bigotry and hate.

The targeting of Asians and Asian Americans in the wake of the pandemic is one form of systemic racism that persists across our nation. We ask all to stand with one voice in solidarity to condemn these acts of racism, xenophobia, and misogyny. We should also take this opportunity to celebrate each other and lift up all that unites us.

Acts of violence or bullying will not be tolerated at the University of Hawaiʻi. Should such acts of hatred occur on any of our campuses they should be reported immediately to campus authorities.

I also ask each and every one of us to be active members of a kind and caring UH community that does not remain silent in the face of the kinds of deplorable behaviors we are seeing across the continent.

I thank you all for the aloha you share with each other and our UH community every day. I feel fortunate and honored to work within this great institution, in Hawaiʻi, and with all of you as we navigate our way to a more kind and just future.

Mahalo nui loa,
David Lassner
UH President

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