Seton Hall and the Student Government Association (SGA) both released statements addressing and condemning the mass shootings at three massage parlors in Atlanta, Georgia that killed eight people, including six Asain women on March 16.
The shooter attacked three spas in the Atlanta area last Tuesday evening, and has been charged with eight counts of murder and one count of aggravated assult.
In a March 18 press conference from the City of Atlanta Police Department, Deputy Chief Charles Hampton Jr. said the investigation is still ongoing and that there's usually a “lengthy investigation especially when it’s involving multiple victims.”
Local officials have identified all eight victims in the shooting, with the Cherokee County Sheriff's Office identifying four of the victims as Daoyou Feng, Paul Andre Michels, Xiaojie Tan, and Delaina Ashley Yaun. The Fulton County Medical Examiner's office identified the other four victims as Soon Chung Park, Hyun Jung Grant, Suncha Kim and Yong Yue.
The shooting comes amid a rise in racism and hate crimes towards members of the Asian and Pacific Islander communities in the United States.
According to a report from the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, anti-Asain hate crimes increased by almost 150% in major U.S. cities in 2020.
Out of the 3,800 incidents since March 2020, women of Asian descent have reported 2.3 times more incidents of violence than men of similar backgrounds, according to a recent Stop AAPI Hate report.
The report outlined the types of discrimination that have been reported inclduing verbal harassment, shunning, physical assult, civil rights violations and online harassment.
“The number of hate incidents reported to our center represent only a fraction of the number of hate incidents that actually occur, but it does show how vulnerable Asian Americans are to discrimination, and the types of discrimination they face,” the report said.
Seton Hall condemned the rise in bigotry and hate towards Asain Americans in an email to students from Student Services on March 19.
“Our community stands with the Asian community to condemn the increased xenophobia and bigotry resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic,” the email said. “Incidents of hate, violence, harassment, discrimination, shunning and bullying against Asians, Asian Americans, and Pacific Islanders will not be tolerated at Seton Hall.”
The email also said the Asian-Pacific American Law Students Association will hold a virtual panel on March 23 that will “discuss the importance of inclusion in the workplace.”
The University has also planned an AAPI Community Healing and Reflection event on March 24 which will be hosted by the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee.
SGA released a statement posted on their instagram account on March 18 signed by the executive committee members.
“In the wake of the xenophobic hate crime that occured in Atlanta, Georgia as Six Asian Americans died in the Spa Shooting, the Student Government Assoication formally condems this hate crime,” the statement said. “As a student-based organization, SGA is committed to providing a safe and welcoming community for all students. These targeted actions against the Asian American community will not be tolerated and have no space on this campus.”
As well, SGA wrote that they will help organize an AAPI Reflection and Healing Event and an “Anti-Asain American Racism Training for students. They will also be donating to organizations that serve to help and protect the Asain American Community.
Genevieve Krupcheck can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org