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Council passes resolution for Asian-American Studies

In a unanimous decision, the Student Council passed a resolution last night to endorse the creation of an Asian-American Studies program at the University.

"I believe people will be very supportive of the program," said Peter Yu, assistant dean in the Office of African-American Affairs. "A lot of faculty members feel it's long overdue."

The resolution approved last night supports the formation of courses pertaining to Asian American Studies and the creation of a long-term strategy to develop an Asian American department.

Steven Marchette, Arts and Sciences Council Chair for Academic Affairs, expressed his support for the resolution.

"If you come to U.Va., you should be able to get the same academics offered at other schools," Marchette said.

Although the resolution had been tabled at last week's Council meeting, Asian Student Union President Todd Aman said he expected a near-unanimous decision.

"We had some technicalities to work out from last week's bill, and felt it would pass," Aman said. "There is massive support for an Asian American Studies program at U.Va.

Aman argued that student support was widespread by citing an ASU-sponsored online poll and paper petition. According to Aman, 1,529 people expressed their support through the Internet or by signing the petition in a period of just six days.

A dozen or so supporters of the resolution applauded the vote after waiting nearly two hours. Some of the supporters brought a sign to the meeting that read, "10 Years Is Too Long. UVA Students Deserve Better," referring to efforts by the ASU that started in 1995 with the issuance of its Five Year Plan.

"Programs like these take time to build momentum," Yu said. "I think the time is right for it now."

College Rep. Tom Gibson, who proposed the bill, also said he felt the timing was right for Council to support such a resolution.

"Seeing that the Council hadn't addressed [the issue] in a while, I took it upon myself to write the bill and try to start an Asian American Studies program," Gibson said.

The Asian Student Union plans on taking the next step towards getting Asian American Studies in the Course Offering Directory.

"We'll talk to [College Dean Edward] Ayers about hiring a faculty, and go to the Faculty Senate to talk about the curriculum," Aman said.