16:46 PM

Swanson School of Engineering Statement on Anti-Asian Hate

A message from U.S. Steel Dean James R. Martin II

To our Swanson School Community,

I join with Chancellor Gallagher, Provost Cudd, and our University of Pittsburgh colleagues in condemning the rising tide of crime and hate against Asians and Asian-Americans in our country, especially the heinous murder of eight this past week in Atlanta:

  • Daoyou Feng, 44
  • Hyun Jung Grant, 51
  • Suncha Kim, 69
  • Paul Andre Michels, 54
  • Soon Chung Park, 74
  • Xiaojie Tan, 49
  • Delaina Ashley Yaun, 33
  • Yong Ae Yue, 63

I encourage you to read the statements released yesterday in Pittwire, as well as that of Pitt’s Office for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, and note the resources available to our students, faculty, and professional staff.

Engineering is an ancient and universal profession that links its practitioners with one noble goal – the betterment of the human condition. Universities throughout the U.S. have long been an international destination for engineering education, and so many of our students, alumni and faculty have charted new courses back into the world to improve the lives of others, from the greatest cities to the most remote villages. The Asian and Asian-American members of our community have likewise contributed to our breadth and depth of engineering excellence. As we mark this year the 175-year anniversary of engineering education at Pitt, it is important to remember that Asians and Asian Americans have been part of our shared Pitt Engineering community for more than a century. As colleagues, collaborators, researchers, and teachers, they are integral to our success. Together we share a passion for engineering that allows us to make the world a better place through innovation and imagination.

This past year we have battled not only the COVID-19 pandemic but also an epidemic of bigotry, racism, misogyny, and hate in our country. Yet, just as defeating the coronavirus requires a shared respect for science, education, and each other – as much as it does a vaccine – so too does combatting racial and social injustice demand an understanding of and appreciation for each other. No matter our color, creed, nationality, sexuality, or ability, we must stand together as a community to face hate with resolve and deny it a voice on our campus and in our neighborhoods – whether here in Pittsburgh or elsewhere around the world.

Our long fight against injustice is never easy nor brief; as I have previously noted the words of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” To continue that arc requires that we not only stand together, but also that we stand as exemplars of equity and inclusion through actions, words, and deeds. This includes incorporating concepts of cultural competence and humility in our curriculum. Both the University and the Swanson School have integrated new programs toward this goal, and we are developing more initiatives that we will launch in the coming months. I and the senior leadership of the Swanson School are committed to creating powerful and needed change in our academic and research environment, but it will require an investment by everyone for it to succeed, and for us to make our community a better place for all.

As distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine grows exponentially and the semester nears an end, the light of resolution burns brighter – but we still have a journey ahead of us. Reaching that destination of change and a new future requires a shared commitment to each other’s success, one that I know we as engineers can accomplish and carry forward in our lives and those of others throughout the world. We have 175 years of excellence as our foundation – let’s make the next 175 years a testament to the change we make today.

Best, -Jimmy