CFA Calls for Support, Awareness in Rejecting Xenophobic Responses to COVID-19

CFA’s Asian & Pacific Islander Caucus and statewide officers are calling on the CSU community to support safety, health, and wellness for all members of our communities  by dispelling anti-Asian stereotypes and rejecting “yellow peril” rhetoric that associates Asians with illness — especially amid growing concerns about the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). 

This means creating safe spaces in classrooms and offices, while supporting students and colleagues across campus. We ask all to be mindful of the following:

  • Community members who wear masks may do so for various reasons, from protection against pollution to precaution against allergens and germs.
  • People of all geographical areas and cultural backgrounds can be vulnerable to COVID-19. Avoid terms like “Wuhan virus” or “Chinese virus” that perpetuate racist rhetoric and inaccurate information.
  • While the model minority myth has perpetuated notions that Asians and Asian Americans are “honorary whites” or “white adjacent,” proliferation of recent xenophobia again demonstrates how racial wedges serve to silence the embedded nature of orientalism and racism.
  • Understand the very real impacts of “yellow peril” rhetoric on Asian American communities. Here are just a few examples: bullying, harassment, loss of patronage and income to Chinatown and Asian-owned establishments (many of which employ some of the most vulnerable communities).
  • If you are concerned about possible spread of COVID-19, take precautions as you would with other, and statistically more deadly, communicable diseases like the flu. Keep abreast of best practices from reliable resources like the Centers for Disease Control, such as frequent handwashing.

Read the statement in full.

Presently, there are no known incidents on CSU campuses connected to the pandemic and no CSU campus closures that we are aware of.  Events have occurred in some California communities that require rapid responses, and faculty will want to stay tuned to their campus and community communications as developments unfold.  The CSU administration has published a central web page with links to campus emergency plans and updates. We encourage CFA members to look to those plans for operational inquiries.

Faculty may find that professional and academic travel as well as related programs are impacted when they are connected to countries and regions with virus outbreaks. Some national conferences and meetings may be cancelled or rescheduled.

Some campuses, through Academic Senates, colleges, or departments may want to plan for instructional adjustments in case there are emergencies or campus closures. But again, at this time, there are no emergency closure declarations on any CSU campus.

Faculty, students, and staff are encouraged to maintain hygiene protocols including frequent handwashing, avoiding contact with sick people, and taking sick leave when appropriate. Unfortunately, the disease could be spreading because workers do not have adequate access to sick leave and health care.

This situation underscores the need for universal paid sick leave and health insurance for all workers.