Korean Connections club faces discrimination

Sydney Stumme-Berg, Staff Writer

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Korean Connections club holds a forum to analyze what it means to live with a dual identity and to raise awareness about diversity and acceptance in the community. The club has been the target of a discriminating act through the defamation of a poster prior to the club’s recent forum.  Photo courtesy of Sarah Lee.

Korean Connections club holds a forum to analyze what it means to live with a dual identity and to raise awareness about diversity and acceptance in the community. The club has been the target of a discriminating act through the defamation of a poster prior to the club’s recent forum. Photo courtesy of Sarah Lee.

Editor’s note: Article contains profanity and a racially derogatory term. The editorial board deemed the language essential to the story in accordance with AP style.

A poster used by the Korean Connections club was defaced with a swastika and the racial slur “f— gooks.”

According to senior Sarah Lee, president of Korean Connections club, the derogatory term is used to describe people typically of Asian descent.

The poster that was defaced shared information about a forum  discussing dual identity that the Korean Connections club hosted. The defaced poster was found by the girls bathroom in the ERC hallway on Monday, Feb. 22, two days before the forum.

“I think I was angry because I felt like [the defacing of the poster] was something that I didn’t think could happen here,” said club co-sponsor Janice Sit. “I also felt really upset for [the club members] because I knew how much time and energy they spent on planning the forum, and [the defaced poster] is against what [the forum] was about. I didn’t want [the defaced poster] to be something that would take the wind out of their sails.”

Lee met with Associate Dean Jeanette Jordan that week to discuss if anything could be done about the defacement, along with club co-sponsors Sarah Ilie and Sit.

Ilie said the club did not discuss the defacement of the poster at the forum in order to maintain a positive discussion about cultural awareness and to allow its members time to process their emotions toward the incident.

“We thought talking about [the defacement] would give too much attention to someone who’s doing something so negative,” said Ilie. “And then people remember that kind of stuff very clearly because [discrimination] is such a big deal, and we did not want to detract from the wonderful point of [the forum].”

Lee said the defacement of the poster reminded her how important it is to raise awareness and to help people become more understanding of cultural identity.

“I knew that there would be people who felt [prejudice], which is why the forum is important in the first place,” said Lee. “I felt a greater responsibility [after the poster was defaced] to do something about those types of problems. It really reminds you how important it is to acknowledge and to confront these kinds of problems.”

According to Dean of Students William Eike, it was unclear who defaced the poster because the location was not visible to surveillance cameras. Eike said after checking the cameras, the next step taken was talking to the club members to see if they had any idea who would have defaced the poster.

“There was no substantial information coming forward that would tell us [who] this individual or this group of individuals [was that] would have defaced the poster,” Eike said.

He said students are encouraged to provide the deans, student services or other adults in the building with any information they have regarding the situation.

Eike said if the guilty student or students were to be identified, interviews would be conducted to understand their reasoning behind defacing the poster and to find a suitable consequence.

Eike said the punishment could range from Saturday detentions, in-school suspensions or outof-school suspensions. Sessions with a social worker would be included to help the individual or individuals understand and process the inappropriate defacement and use of derogatory terms.

Lee said both courage and compassion are needed to stand up for each other and end racist acts.

“I think that it is really important for us to come together as a community, not only to understand each other, [but] also to be able to stand up and support each other,” said Lee. “Bottom line is we need to speak up for each other.”

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Korean Connections club faces discrimination