“Intolerable Acts,” Coronavirus Jokes, Memes, Called out by MSU and Asian Groups
Updated: Oct 14
Author: Sergei Kelley
A statement by the Asian Pacific American Student Organization (APASO) of MSU, cite coronavirus disinformation, unnecessary panic, and “decontextualized videos and memes” as “intolerable acts” leading to discrimination of Asian students at MSU.
The statement on behalf of unified Asian, other cultural, and Greek groups warn of discrimination against Asians and they “emphasize the importance of reporting” such intolerable acts to MSU’s Office of Institutional Equity (OIE).
Released February 14, 2020, the statement was further shared by OIE and the Lyman Briggs College Inclusion Committee. The committee, stating their solidarity with “Asian and Asian Pacific Islander Desi American (APIDA) students, faculty, staff, and advisors,” called out “racist and xenophobic discourse.”
In a college-wide email, they pointed that the coronavirus has caused fear and anxiety, but ”while this epidemic may be new, the racist and xenophobic discourse and images on the news and social media are all too familiar.”
It went further to say, “instead of stigmatizing... members of our community for coughing and sneezing (common occurrences in our cold season), spreading false information, or being a bystander by taking no actions, let us focus on expressing concern, care, and support for each other.”
APASO’s statement further cites discrimination from rightful academic and social communities because of “coughing, sneezing, and wearing surgical face masks.” They further cited, “death toll and suggestion that the virus was lab-engineered,” as misinformation, which they alleged can cause panic and anxiety at MSU.
Other statements have been released by the university, announcing the establishment of a website, msu.edu/coronavirus, as a portal and resource. The university has further warned students traveling internationally amid potential quarantines.
An email by the University Physician further said, “As Spartans, we value inclusivity. We welcome students, scholars, faculty, and staff from all parts of the world. We take pride in the diverse perspectives.”
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