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Well, it looks like Angry Asian Man beat us to it. If you haven't heard already, last weekend's ECAASU introductory speech by Cornell University President David J. Skorton was less than impressive:

During his speech, he referred to the Asian American students attending the conference as immigrants, and claimed to have "a love affair with Asia." Yeah, definitely not the best choice of words. Apparently, the President's comments did not sit well with the conference-goers, because I [Phil Yu] have been getting emails like this all day.
I distinctly remember the reaction after the speech: a lot of students were looking around incredulously, asking, "Wait. Did he just call us immigrants?" Later, a girl also stood up during Q&A with Jeff Chang, the second keynote speaker, and claimed that she was personally offended by the President's speech (as he sat in the front row in the auditorium, ouch). David was sending out private e-mails in an attempt to recover exact lines from the speech, but props to Phil Yu and all the proactive attendees for getting the word out first.


Some details I've been able to scavenge...

The first speaker (a dean) also gave us a list of Asian countries that have produced the greatest number of international students for Cornell - China, South Korea, Taiwan, India, Singapore. One of the speakers also enchanted us with the story of the first Asian student at Cornell. (Obviously an international student.) He then went on to talk about the contributions of Asians to Cornell University, at which point most of us had either conked out or were viscerally pissed off at the guy.

A part of me wonders if they could have done their speeches better if they had just cracked open the program...


After reading an anonymous comment, I realized that our general sentiment towards ECAASU may be misunderstood (which is reasonable due to our lack of live-blogging during the conference and our harmful but habitual internet snarkyness). If this isn't clear - we had a cold-reckless-amusing-and-inspiring blast. Yes, the President's speech was unnerving (when the words finally sank in), and we questioned some of the conference's co-sponsorships; but ECAASU is one of the oldest APA conferences on the East Coast and is known to uphold an excellent tradition of spreading awareness. Our thoughts are merely for future boards (Rutgers in 2009) to keep up the good work, and (in line with David's comment) to confirm that university presidents read the conference program carefully before letting themselves get comfortable at the podium.


  1. Anonymous said...

    It was a good conference, regardless of the comment. Let's not let "the man" ruin the conference.  

  2. Marilla said...

    don't worry, anonymous - AAA definitely had more fun than you can imagine at ECAASU. unless, of course, you are actually an anonymous member of AAA trying to be a good devil's advocate.  

  3. Anonymous said...

    i think that the comment was not done with any racist intent however, it just goes to show that there is a lot of institutional stereotypes and barriers that us students need to overcome.
    Of course if we take this and make an analogy with the U.S. government, i think we have the same type of ignorance going on there.  


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