The Brandeis administration recently announced its intention to construct a new Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Studies minor in the next academic year, after continuous requests from interested students. This acquiescence of the university to demands of students shows a growing willingness in the administration to listen to what students want from their education and their on-campus life.
Further, the tenure-track assistant professor that has been hired to head this program shows the commitment of the university to the success of the program’s creation. The devotion of two scholars—the professor, along with an additional to-be-hired faculty member—will be essential to build the minor into something that students on campus will be proud and excited to participate in.
Although it is a big step forward to officially announce the beginning of an AAPI program at Brandeis, students have been openly advocating for this since 2015, when the Brandeis Asian American Task Force (BAATF) sent in a petition to the Brandeis administration. Though Brandeis has slowly begun to apply these changes to the curriculum, they have taken four years to take definitive action in order to cement the presence of the AAPI department at Brandeis and still have not satisfied many of the demands present in the 2015 BAATF petition.
The 2015 BAATF petition was released at the same time as the 2015 Ford Hall demands. Similar to the long journey of the AAPI program, the administration has lagged on addressing the Ford Hall demands. Does change just take a long time, or do students need to be even more outspoken about the gaps in Brandeis’ inclusion and education?
The administration taking action is always something to get excited about; however, their tendency to do as little as possible for as long as possible does not instill confidence in the people who are relying on them to create the necessary resources. We hope that the administration will continue to fulfill the demands that were posed in 2015 and continue to listen to students in the future.
More importantly, we encourage the university to consider each demand made by students seriously and improve their reaction to them by immediately taking whatever action possible to fulfill the student body’s wishes for the university’s academic future.
Editor’s note: Sabrina Chow and Abigail Gardener did not contribute to this editorial.