Open letter to administrators regarding Chinese minor cut

Dear President Link and Provost Cole,

I am Aja Short and am a first-year here at Allegheny College and am writing to address the decision that was unanimously decided on by the Board of Trustees to discontinue the Chinese minor here at Allegheny. Though the Board of Trustees are not the only ones who made this decision, I am reaching out because the Board of Trustees have the safety net of inconspicuousness of not hearing from the voices impacted by this. From my understanding, a student has tried to reach out to a member of this board and was immediately pushed aside and told to talk to an employee who has “D.E.I.” in their job description. Hearing this is angering due to the knowledge of this being a decision made by people who are not willing to hear from the ones affected by it. It’s even more angering to know that students are being sent on a goose chase to talk to other people instead of being provided the opportunity to hear from the people with tremendous power when it comes to the Allegheny College community. If this was a decision that you feel you have no expertise in and therefore can not discuss it, why make it? It’s another punch in the gut when the minor is still being advertised around campus knowing that it is being cut from the curriculum here. 

It’s understandable that Allegheny has to make decisions like this for financial reasons. However, when the Academic Program Review was published to the public in the fall of 2021, the Chinese minor was not a part of it. There was no discussion with students or faculty about the possibility of this until it was broadcasted to the College about its discontinuation. To add on, this announcement was given on Lunar New Year. 

To take a brief side note of this, many students and myself, can share in the experience of the racism and ignorance that is heavily present on this campus by students, staff and faculty. This is something that can not be argued nor pacified with, “we stand with you,” because, though this is heard from faculty and administration, it is disproven from their and your action to not listen. We don’t want moments of appreciation and a novel of “How to Be Anti-Racist,” to be your solutions to this climate and culture. We want the admin and you to have a conversation with your marginalized students without your veil of seeing us as statistics and therefore nothing in your plan of success for Allegheny as a business. We want you to really think about the decisions that don’t impact you, that you are making. We want you to hold yourself and the administration accountable in their biases and toned-deafness. I am specific on not given defined solutions because that is work that shouldn’t be solely on marginalized voices, especially not to people in power that don’t even realize the weight of their power. 

My point in saying all of this is to call out the racism and biases that are present in this decision. Something that is refused to be seen as this mostly by wealthy, white people. I urge you to listen and stand with the students who were pursuing the Chinese minor, Asian students and faculty, and Asian-American students and faculty here at Allegheny and to rethink your decision of discontinuing the Chinese minor here at Allegheny.