The vice chancellor for equity, diversity and inclusion and the outgoing USAC president will be speaking on a cultural discussion panel Wednesday.
Jerry Kang and Heather Rosen will participate in the event, titled “Challenges and Opportunities facing Jewish and Asian American College Students.” It will be hosted by the Anti-Defamation League, an organization that aims to prevent bigotry and discrimination, according to their mission statement.
The panel aims to inform people about issues Asian-American and Jewish-American college students face, said Amanda Susskind, regional director of the ADL’s Pacific Southwest region.
Susskind said panelists will discuss topics, such as the model minority stereotype or the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement, among themselves and then open the discussion to the audience.
“Jews and Asians faced heavy discrimination and were often barred from schools (in the past),” Susskind said.
She said because equal rights acts passed in the last generation, Jewish and Asian students have attained disproportionate representation in universities. For example, there may be a larger percentage of Jewish and Asian-American students in medicine, relative to their population size. This may lead to Jewish and Asian-American students being perceived as a majority, Susskind said.
Susskind said Kang was invited because he is an Asian-American administrator who is responsible for promoting diversity and inclusion on campus. Rosen will be speaking in a personal capacity as a Jewish student.
Kang said in an email he is looking forward to participating in the panel because of the topic at hand.
“Anti-Semitism and anti-Asian racism are important issues that warrant our thoughtful attention,” he said.
Aaliya Khan, a fourth-year psychobiology student and an outgoing USAC general representative, said she believes Kang’s participation in the panel contradicts his previous support for the Muslim community, because she thinks ADL has historically viewed people who are pro-Palestine as extremists. For example, in April Kang denounced posters by conservative writer David Horowitz that depicted Students for Justice in Palestine members as terrorists.
Rosen said she believes events like this one are important because of the recent rise in anti-Semitic acts, such as swastikas being drawn on the UC Davis campus.
“There are so many stigmas attached to students from both (Jewish and Asian-American) communities that need to be broken,” Rosen said. “This event will bring out many different perspectives on the matter.”
The event will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. at the ADL office in Santa Monica.