Civil Rights and Academic Groups Deliver Petition to New York University President to Stop Racial Profiling Professors of Asian Descent

The petition urges New York University (NYU) to immediately stop the racial profiling of faculty members of Asian descent and protect their due process rights.
For Immediate Release
Michelle Boykins (202) 296-2300, ext. 0144
Union for Graduate Employees at New York University Press Contact

New York, NY – Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC (Advancing Justice | AAJC), American Association of University Professors NYU Chapter (AAUP-NYU), and the Union for Graduate Employees at New York University (GSOC) delivered a petition to NYU President Andrew Hamilton with over 1,100 signatures from the academic community, including NYU faculty, staff, and students, concerned citizens, and community members in response to the unjust suspension and elimination of proper due process protections of two tenured professors of Asian descent at NYU Grossman School of Medicine (NYUSOM).

Universities such as NYU have largely encouraged international research collaborations, including with universities in China. However, the rules have changed and the U.S. government is criminalizing past conduct that universities have previously actively encouraged. Under the mandate of the “China Initiative,” federal agencies such as the FBI and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have increasingly put tremendous pressure on academic institutions, collectively leading to discriminatory and stigmatizing investigations of Asian American professors, scientists, and researchers. The FBI is collaborating with NIH to conduct probes into researchers with 82% of those under investigation being of Asian descent. These investigations are contributing to a growing fear among Asian Americans and immigrants that they will be targeted based on their race, ethnicity, or ancestry.

“We call on NYU to uphold its institutional values and refrain from caving to Trump-era racist policies by scapegoating faculty members of Asian descent,” said Vivin Qiang, Program Coordinator of the Anti-Racial Profiling Project at Advancing Justice | AAJC. “We have seen too many Asian American and immigrant scientists who have made significant contributions to our scientific research enterprise only to have their lives ruined and careers in shambles by mass investigations, unjust prosecutions, and employment terminations initiated by the ‘China Initiative.’ This has discouraged professors and researchers from engaging in career opportunities and international research collaborations in fear of being targeted next.”

“The AAUP-NYU Chapter is very concerned for the impacted professors’ careers, livelihoods, and personal reputations,” said Rebecca Karl, President of AAUP - NYU Chapter. “We are quite disturbed that NYU, a university with global reach and a global network, could be earning a reputation for racial bias in the persecution of faculty members with ancestral or professional connections to China. NYU has an obligation to lead here, and specifically to lead away from Trump-era racism.”

“In launching this petition, the community at NYU is standing together with the impacted professors,” said Yuwei Pan, grad worker and GSOC organizer. “We call on President Hamilton and the NYU administration to take immediate action to safeguard academic freedom, protect due process rights for academic workers, and ensure racially biased policies have no place on campus.”

Advancing Justice | AAJC, AAUP-NYU, and GSOC urge President Hamilton to stop racial profiling and reinstate the due process protections to School of Medicine medical professors that had been in place for all NYU faculty members since the 1980s so they may fight the injustices properly. We also call for NYU to minimize entanglements with law enforcement and the FBI and provide clear, updated guidelines and instructions regarding grant application requirements, disclosures and conflicts of interest forms. Professors and researchers should have the opportunity to correct their forms without devastating employment consequences such as suspension and termination. As a university that embodies values of equality and as a leader in global education, NYU should stand up for its faculty and contest federal government overreach in the face of injustice.