Swarthmore Asian Organization (SAO) Statement of Solidarity with O4S

The Swarthmore Asian Organization (SAO) executive board fully affirms our support for Organizing for Survivors (O4S) and their Title IX policy demands. To be completely clear: we stand in full support of O4S and all of their demands and concerns in regards to Swarthmore’s broken Title IX system. Although the demands put forth by O4S are likely to change from their original list of demands, we will continue to stand with the organization and stand in solidarity with survivors at-large.  

Every person on Swarthmore’s campus deserves to feel safe, and it is unacceptable that the College has not made it a greater priority to ensure the safety and continued support of survivors. It is unacceptable that the administration on this campus relies on the failure of institutional memory to remain inactive. It is unacceptable, considering that Swarthmore markets itself as a socially progressive institution, that the College has not been more proactive in addressing these systemic problems in our community. As long as these issues are not addressed, future generations of SAO will continue to preserve the institutional memory of this cause; we will continue to fight.

We recognize how sexual violence and harassment deeply affect Asian American communities. Dating violence, fetishization, and the perpetuation of imperialistic stereotypes have harmed and continue to harm all members of our community. The offensive and prevalent commodification of Asian American women as passive and submissive partners, in particular, has only served to increase the risk of sexual violence perpetrated against members of our community.

We also recognize the need to draw attention to the ways in which our own communities perpetuate sexual harassment and commit violence. Toxic masculinity, for instance, is a major issue within the Asian American community, and a failure to properly tackle this issue would contribute to the greater institutional problem of sexual violence as a whole. We must interrogate the ways in which our own communities address, or fail to address, toxic masculinity and sexual harassment.

Every member of this board was quick to support the writing of this letter. We question the silence and inaction from members of the Swarthmore community — particularly those who have been given multiple opportunities to show support for their peers — who remain complacent, perhaps complicit, within such an obviously broken system. None of us are perfect, and we recognize the collective need to continually think about how we may better support survivors and be better allies. But that cannot be an excuse for inaction. We cannot afford to remain silent.

We offer our love and support to O4S, survivors on this campus, and survivors at-large. We are determined to create more space for these conversations within our community, and we, as an IC executive board, will continually call on other members of this community to join us as well. We hope the administration will one day heed our call, properly address students’ concerns, and truly commit themself to protecting all members of this community.

In solidarity and love,

SAO Board

Alex Jin ‘19

Grace Zhang ‘20

Yi Wei ‘21

Tiffany Wang ‘21

Kassidi Cheng ‘21

Iris Wang ‘21

Anjali Singapur ‘21

Kenny Mai ‘21

Sumera Patel ‘19
Kevin Liao ‘21

Evelien van Gelderen ‘21