The recent shootings at three spas in Atlanta that included eight victims — six of whom were Asian women — are an unfortunate reminder of the increased acts of violence against Asian American and Pacific Islander individuals over the past year. In 2020, hate crimes targeting Asian people rose by nearly 150%, according to a study from the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino.

To our Asian American and Pacific Islander Knights, UCF recognizes the hurt, frustration, and anger that you may be feeling due to recent events and the long-standing history of racism against this community throughout the nation. To help you connect with campus services that are intended to support you, we’ve compiled a list of dedicated resources and organizations that can be accessed year-round.

To our Knights of all races and ethnicities, there are resources here to help educate you on how to uphold UCF’s mission to provide a welcoming and inclusive environment for everyone on campus.

UCF’s Asian Pacific American Coalition has partnered with Social Justice and Advocacy, UCF Student Government, and local community activists to host a vigil for the victims of the Atlanta shooting and all victims of anti-Asian hate crimes. The event takes place March 23 at the Reflecting Pond at 6:30 p.m. and more details can be found on APAC’s Instagram account. To watch a livestream of the vigil, tune in on UCF’s YouTube channel.

If you witness or experience incidents of discrimination or violence, report them to the university. To learn more about combating discrimination or violence against Asian, Asian American and Pacific Islander communties, visit STOPAAPIhate.org. To find educational and reporting resources outside of UCF, as well as petitions and funds, related to supporting Asian communities visit antiasianviolenceresources.carrd.co

Departments, Organizations and Services

Just Knights Response TeamThe purpose of the JKRT is to act as a clearinghouse for any bias-related incidents that may occur on UCF campuses. In this role, the JKRT will receive, monitor, refer, and, as necessary, coordinate university resources to these incidents that impact the university community.

CAPS: If you’re experiencing anxiety, stress, trauma or uncertainty due to the increased acts of racism against Asian Americans and the coverage surrounding the Atlanta shooting, you can speak to a counselor at UCF’s Counseling and Psychological Services by calling 407-823-2811. 

While it is important to stay informed about current events, we also urge you to take breaks from the news and social media. Spend time connecting with loved ones, hobbies, and other relaxing methods to maintain your mental and emotional health.

Employee Assistance Program: Faculty and staff who wish to speak to a mental health professional can call 877-240-6863 or visit HealthAdvocate.com/members to find support.

Office of Institutional Equity: OIE ensures equal opportunity and protects the civil rights of all UCF community members through proactive outreach, education, and effective response and resolution. The department is responsible for monitoring UCF’s compliance with equal opportunities and civil rights laws, investigating and resolving complaints related to discrimination and harassment, facilitating fair hiring practices, and providing information and training related to equal rights, among other measures.

Ombuds Office: UCF’s Ombuds Office is a safe space for students, faculty, and staff to discuss concerns or issues in confidence while receiving independent and impartial guidance. To maintain confidentially, the best way to reach the office at this time is by calling 407- 823-6440 or 407- 823-6441. You can also email your phone number to [email protected] or [email protected] to get assistance.

Office of Diversity and Inclusion: ODI intends to promote and maintain an inclusive learning and working environment where students, staff, and faculty of all backgrounds are equally supported to achieve success. The office supports education and meaningful dialogues needed to advance the culture of equity and inclusion at UCF.

    • Workshops: ODI hosts diversity and inclusion training workshops throughout the year to promote a better learning and working environment. Students, faculty and staff can engage in individual sessions or complete multiple workshops to earn certificates in various topics, such as Understanding Power and Privilege. Workshops offered over the years have included the OUCH: That Stereotype Hurts, Micro-Messages and Microaggressions: Impacts on Inclusion, Race the Power of an Illusion, and Understanding Power and Privilege. At this time workshops are being covered via Zoom.
    • Online workshops: There are currently three online workshops available for students, staff, and faculty that educate users about 21 core cultural competency learning objectives, including education around issues such as racism, discrimination, power and privilege, and marginalization, among others. These workshops include the following: The Cognitive Domain, which involves the knowledge and intellectual development related to being culturally competent. The Affective Domain, which involves the feelings, emotions and attitudes related to being culturally competent. The Skills-building Domain, which focuses on actions, such as attentive listening, advocacy and conflict resolution, that promote cultural competency.

Student Care Services: SCS offers guidance, resources and referrals to UCF students who are experiencing a distressing situation which significantly impacts academic or personal success. The department’s goal is to intervene before a student reaches crisis level and ensure the safety of both the student and the UCF community. The SCS team coordinates referrals to campus and community resources, develops action plans for student success, oversees the Student of Concern process, and provides education and outreach to university and community members.

Multicultural Academic Support and Services: MASS’ mission is to maximize student success by assisting multicultural and first-generation college students at UCF by connecting them with the campus community and partners to promote and facilitate academic support services and programs. It is comprised of many services and programs, including the First-Generation Program, the Brother to Brother Program, the Multicultural Transfer Program and the Knight Alliance Network.

Social Justice and AdvocacySJA focuses on ensuring UCF maintains an equitable campus environment where all forms of diversity are valued. The department supports efforts for equal access to campus resources, conversations about the campus climate, reducing barriers related to prejudice, and advocacy for social justice and inclusion. LGBTQ+ Services and the Multicultural Student Center are organized through the department.

To learn more about terms related to social justice, click here.

To learn more about multicultural terminology, click here.

Multicultural Student Center: As a part of UCF’s Social Justice and Advocacy Department, MSC’s mission is to create a more inclusive and equitable campus environment that enriches the university experience through actively supporting diverse and intentional programming. The MSC strives to promote awareness, strengthen cultural competency and social responsibility by encouraging the educational exploration and challenge of societal norms that enables students to explore the varied concepts of multiculturalism.

MSC supports several culturally based registered student organizations, some of which are included in this article.

Resources

UCF Libraries’ Readings on RaceUCF Libraries is continuing to update its list of print books, ebooks, children’s and young adult books, and videos related to learning more about Asian Pacific American communities, current events, historical context for the events, and resources on having conversations about race and discrimination.

Each May for the past four years, UCF Libraries has curated Asian Pacific American Featured Bookshelf lists for Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. The lists below provide additional books related to learning more about these cultural identities and histories:

2020 Featured Bookshelf: Asian Pacific American Heritage
2019 Featured Bookshelf: Asian Pacific American Heritage
2018 Featured Bookshelf: Asian Pacific American Heritage
2017 Featured Bookshelf: Asian Pacific American Heritage

Classes to Take at UCF for Learning More about Social Justice: A sampling of courses that cover racism, equality, police reform and other topics related to social justice and change.

How to be a Better Ally Against Racism: “Everybody doesn’t have to be on the front lines, but everybody has to get off the sidelines,” says human rights activist and UCF faculty member Richard Lapchick, who provides suggestions for being a better ally in this piece.

Inclusive Excellence: The Inclusive Excellence site launched in July 2020 through Faculty Excellence to provide tangible resources to help create a better campus environment for individuals of all backgrounds. This includes inclusive language practicesa list of departments and faculty groups that support diversity and inclusion and inclusive teaching practices. It also includes practices to improve UCF’s ability to recruit, hire, and retain the best and most diverse faculty.

PBS Asian Americans Documentary Series: Told through intimate personal stories, this five-hour series casts a new lens on the identities, contributions and challenges Asian Americans have experienced throughout U.S. history.

Registered Student Organizations

With over 600 organizations at UCF, here are some that are dedicated to celebrating and empowering Asian and Asian American students.

alpha Kappa Delta Phi International Sorority, Inc.: alpha Kappa Delta Phi provides women with a sense of belonging that nurtures life-long friendships, develops self-empowered leaders, and strengthens communities through pillars of service, scholarship, sisterhood, leadership, and Asian awareness.

Asian Pacific American Coalition: APAC was founded in 2005 to develop leadership, to be a source of political and social advocacy for issues facing Asian Americans, and to promote unity and a voice for the campus community at UCF.

Asian Student Association: The Asian Student Association, founded in 1999, aims to provide a social and academic support network for the Asian American community at UCF.

Bangladeshi Student Association: The mission is to allow a place for Bangladeshis to find others like them while  making others aware of the cultures and traditions of the Bangladeshi community.

Chinese American Student Association: CASA aims to promote awareness of Chinese American culture and identity among all members of the UCF community.

Delta Epsilon Psi Fraternity, Inc.: As a South Asian brotherhood, Delta Epsilon Psi takes pride in fostering the proliferation of South Asian philosophy and culture to transcend religious and regional barriers and to create South Asian awareness. It also promotes its philanthropy through volunteer service and leadership within the surrounding community.

Delta Phi Lambda Sorority, Inc.Delta Phi Lambda’s advocates for Asian awareness and empowers women to lead through values-based programs and everlasting sisterhood.

Delta Phi Omega Sorority, Inc.: Delta Phi Omega fosters unity among South Asian women, builds community awareness and aims to help members gain a greater understanding of oneself and others. The sorority aspires to instill leadership traits and excel in all academic endeavors.

Filipino Student Association: FSA at UCF promotes the Filipino culture throughout the UCF campus and throughout the community of Central Florida.

Indian Student Association: The Indian Student Association was established in 1995 with the goals and ideals of preserving and spreading the rich traditions and cultures of India.

Iranian Student Association: To introduce Persian culture and Iranian traditions to the UCF and Central Florida communities.

Japanese Culture Club: The Japanese Culture Club welcomes the Knights community to come together to appreciate a deeply rich culture. Members will gain invaluable insight into Japanese history, language, pop culture and more.

KnightRaas: This traditional Indian folk dance team originates from Gujarat, India, and with the goal is to perform, compete and spread Garba Raas culture within the community.

Knights for Israel: To bring together pro-Israel students and others and to teach them how to advocate for Israel, as well as provide cultural events and speakers to campus.

Liberty in North Korea: This group represent the movement of Liberty in North Korea on UCF’s campus and in the community, as well as provide events that change the narrative of North Korea to focus on the people and fundraise for North Korean Refugee rescues.

Nihongo Kenkyukai – Japanese Study Group: The mission of this group is to offer students from all different walks of life the ability to obtain a better comprehension of Japanese language and culture, while providing a space for Japanese international students to further improve their English through consistent exposure to conversation and American culture.

Pakistani Student Association: The Pakistani Student Association strives to celebrate, promote, and share the rich culture of Pakistan with the UCF student body through service-oriented, social, and educational events.

Pi Delta Psi Fraternity, Inc.: Pi Delta Psi operate on four pillars — academic achievement, cultural awareness, friendship/loyalty and righteousness — while seeking to empower the UCF community, help break down stereotypes of the Asian community and to give back.

Saudi Students Association: The mission of SSA is to promote knowledge and awareness of Saudi culture through social forum within the UCF community and within the greater Orlando area.

Society of Asian Scientists and Engineers: SASE’s mission is to prepare scientists, engineers, and technologists of Asian heritage for success in the global business world, to celebrate diversity on campus and in the workplace, and to provide opportunities for members to volunteer.

Sparks Magazine: The purpose of Sparks magazine is to foster understanding and appreciation of the Asian Pacific Islander American experience. The vision of Sparks magazine is to become a resource for the Asian and Pacific Islander American community that steers the movement for social change.

Vietnamese American Student Association: VASA was founded in 1982 with the purpose of fostering the values of leadership for the community and diversity and inclusiveness through Vietnamese American culture.

Other Student Organizations

Luna Interest Group: LUNA (Leadership through Unification, Nobility and Advocacy) is a multicultural Asian interest group in Orlando that encourages young women to take initiative in improving and giving back to their communities.

Crown Interest Group: An organization founded on the values of ambition, amity and aptitude that aims to guide men on a journey of authenticity and personal growth, while developing driven leaders who deeply believe in their cause.


Adrian Lee, an international and global studies student and president of UCF’s Asian Pacific American Coalition, contributed to this article.