Dear Members of the Fordham Family,

In recent months we have seen an increase in hate crimes against Asian Americans, most acutely in California, but also occurring in other cities with Asian populations, including New York. Our own Professor Tiffany Yip, Ph.D., professor and chair of the psychology department, held an important conversation on the topic with WFUV’s Robin Shannon, host of Fordham Conversations, last month. I encourage you to listen to, and reflect upon, their interview.

The University condemns in the strongest possible terms the use of hateful rhetoric and violence against people of Asian descent, and the xenophobic and racist thinking which underlies those attacks. It is wrong, of course, when any group is singled out for hateful treatment, but it seems especially bitter to scapegoat a group—one that includes our neighbors, friends, and members of the University community—for a pandemic in which they are suffering the same fears and deprivations as every other American.

It is especially in moments like this that we should enlarge, rather than shrink, our circle of compassion. Being people for others emphatically does not mean “only others whom we deem worthy.” I want to believe that we are making progress in this sphere, however fitful it may seem, and that more and more people of goodwill are finding their voices and opposing ignorance and bigotry wherever they find it. Because that is what we are called to do, my friends: called by the Gospel; called by our loved ones and friends; and called by the better angels of our nature.

Please know that I pray for all of us to have the discernment and will to do what is right in these trying times.

Sincerely,

Joseph M. McShane, S.J.