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Our COVID-19 Response
WSU Together:

Harassment due to COVID‑19

The WSU community is being urged to report any discrimination or harassment that is experienced or witnessed to the university’s Office of Civil Rights Compliance and Investigation (CRCI).

In a letter sent to students, faculty and staff, Vice President for International Programs Asif Chaudhry,  U.S. Ambassador (ret.), and Associate Vice President for Community, Equity and Inclusive Excellence Jaime Nolan note that stress and misconceptions surrounding COVID-19 make it all the more important to pause before reacting in difficult situations.

“We are aware of multiple bias behaviors exhibited towards members of our international community, as well as our Asian American and Pacific Islander community, in recent days,” the university leaders wrote. “As an example, cultures worldwide routinely wear face masks for protection during flu and cold season. People from the U.S. are not as familiar with that practice and may make assumptions and respond negatively. All community members, students, faculty, and staff deserve respect as well as a safe environment for learning, living, and working.”

Any discrimination or harassment based on race, color, or national or ethnic origin, should be reported, even if those who either experienced or witnessed the behavior feel it might not “be enough” to warrant contacting the university about.  If you are ever in danger, immediately call 9‑1‑1 for emergency assistance.

Here are some examples provided by Chaudhry and Nolan of harassment and discrimination that should be immediately reported to the CRCI:

  • Someone repeatedly tells you to leave a class, labs, or campus because of your race and/or ethnicity or connection to a specific country.
  • Someone excludes you from group activities because of your race and/or ethnicity or country of origin.
  • Someone approaches you on campus or in our community and makes a negative and/or discriminatory statement(s) about you, your race, or your country of origin.

The full message can be read online.