Asian American Studies Department Solidarity Statement

We, the undersigned faculty of the UCLA Asian American Studies Department, express our outrage over the series of events that have occurred over the past week, including the university administration’s declaring of the peaceful student protest “unlawful” and “unauthorized” and the subsequent failure to protect UCLA students within the encampment from violent attacks from outside agitators on multiple nights, culminating on the night of April 30, 2024. 

We also denounce Chancellor Gene Block’s decision to call in the LAPD, CHP, and LA Sheriff’s Department to disband the Palestine Solidarity Encampment on the night of May 1, 2024, which resulted in the use of rubber bullets, batons, and flashbang grenades against our students, as well as the detainment and arrests of at least 200 peaceful protestors. Last night our campus felt like a militarized war zone, akin to, but by no means equivalent to, what Palestinians have endured for decades. We object in the strongest possible terms to all of these actions, which are not reflective of the values of our campus community and of academic freedom more generally.

As faculty, our utmost commitment is to the safety and well-being of our students.  We strongly condemn the attacks on our students, from outside agitators as well as UC-condoned police forces.  We echo UCLA Faculty for Justice in Palestine’s demand for full legal, academic and disciplinary amnesty for all protesters.  We call upon UCLA to stand up for the safety and the rights of the campus community by honoring the students’ constitutional right to peacefully protest without fear of punishment. We insist upon a vote of no confidence in Chancellor Block for endangering our students.  

Asian American Studies is rooted in a rich tradition of student protest against war, imperialism, racism, settler colonialism, and police violence in the United States, its territories, and abroad. The Palestine Solidarity Encampment is part of a longer history of student activism at UCLA, which includes protests against the US War in Southeast Asia and an international campaign that boycotted the apartheid state in South Africa. Like our students, we too are horrified and grief-stricken by the rising death toll in Gaza.  We echo and uplift our students’ demands that UCLA disclose its investments and divest from the US-backed genocide against Palestinians.  

Asian American Studies is indebted to student voices and protests. Given our history, we stand committed to the First Amendment right of free speech and the right for our students to exercise their free speech, safely and without fear of retaliation. We are horrified by the acts of violence committed against our students who are continuing a long legacy of demanding social change. We support student-led efforts that advance human rights and social justice.



Victor Bascara, Associate Professor

Lucy Burns, Associate Professor

Keith L. Camacho, Professor and Chair

Jolie Chea, Assistant Professor

King-Kok Cheung, Professor Emeritus

Jennifer Jihye Chun, Associate Professor

Evyn Lê Espiritu Gandhi, Associate Professor

Grace Kyungwon Hong, Professor 

Nour Joudah, Assistant Professor

Purnima Mankekar, Professor

Valerie Matsumoto, Professor

Natalie Masuoka, Associate Professor

Thu-huong Nguyen-vo, Professor

Kyeyoung Park, Professor 

Loubna Qutami, Assistant Professor

Cindy C. Sangalang, Assistant Professor

Renee Tajima-Peña, Professor

Karen Umemoto, Professor

Lee Ann Wang, Assistant Professor

Meet Kelly Fong

Check out Voyage LA’s piece highlighting one of AASD’s continuing lecturers, Dr. Kelly Fong! She shares on her background, experience in the fields of Archeology and Asian American Studies, and her current projects.

Students Rising Above: Emily Taing

Check out CBS Bay Area’s profile of one of our amazing alumni, Emily Taing! Students Rising Above: Emily Taing

2022-23 Don T. Nakanishi Award for Outstanding Engaged Scholarship Awarding

The Asian American Studies Center at UCLA awarded this year’s Don T. Nakanishi Award for Outstanding Engaged Scholarship to graduate student Brian Kohaya and undergraduate student Steven Tran. Congratulations to the recipients!


Read more about the award recipients here.

AASD Graduate Students Recipients of CSW Awards

On May 19, 2023, the Center for the Study of Women | Streisand Center held their annual awards luncheon at the UCLA Botanical Garden to celebrate the recipients of faculty, graduate, and undergraduate awards. Congratulations to the recipients, including Asian American Studies faculty Nguyễn-võ Thu-hương, and MA students Trinity Gabato and Pallavi Rudraraju.

Read more about the awardees

Building Historical Empathy: A classroom resource conveys personal stories of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders

Kelly Fong, Continuing Lecturer in Asian American Studies, was featured in an interview in Diversity in Action magazine about the upcoming AAPI Multimedia Textbook. Read more about it here.

In LA, Asian Americans Can Sway Elections But Can’t Decide Them

Natalie Masuoka, chair of UCLA’s Asian American Studies Department, discusses her new co-authored report that provides the first detailed look at the role Asian Americans have played in recent city elections. Click here to read more.

UCLA Newsroom: Bringing migrant and refugee stories – and connections – to light

UCLA Newsroom recently published an article on UCLA Asian American Studies Department Professor Evyn Lê Espiritu Gandhi’s relational approach to Asian American studies. Read more about it here.

Undergraduate Leadership Committee Applications Now Open

King-Kok Cheung Honored With Lifetime Achievement Award

King-Kok Cheung, professor emeritus of English and Asian American Studies at UCLA, was recognized with a lifetime achievement award by the Association for Asian American Studies for her lifelong contribution to advancing the field of Asian American and Pacific Islander studies. Click here to read more about Cheung’s achievements.