ASM endorses HMoob American Studies certificate program
Associated Students of Madison passed legislation to endource efforts of the HMoob community, to ensure better representation within the university and community.Image By: Téalin Robinson
The Associate Students of Madison endorsed the HMoob American Studies Certificate Program (HMASC) — a new initiative dedicated to academic and social awareness of HMoob students — Wednesday.
The HMoob American Studies Committee represents the Hmong community. Recently, HMoob individuals have shifted to the spelling “Hmong” in order to be more inclusive of the various dialects and culture of the community.
The current HMoob population is a little over 50,000 in Dane County, making it the largest Asian American population in Wisconsin, HMASC said in their presentation.
HMASC met weekly throughout the past few months to discuss emerging themes and data focusing on the Hmong American college experience at UW-Madison. These meetings uncovered the racial problem HMoob students face at the university.
“Most of our participants say they have experienced or know others that have experienced macroaggressions while in school,” said HMASC member Lena Lee.
These often include vandalizations of spaces designated for students of color and other students using racialized stereotypes toward HMoob students.
The number of HMoob students applying to UW-Madison have been decreasing, “because, as HMoob Americans, we fear we do not have the support we need to go to college, excel and graduate.” said UW-Madison student Kia Vang.
The goal of HMASC is to shape UW-Madison into an inclusive environment for college-age students of the MHoob community.
One request they have made to the university? Establish the HMoob American Studies Certificate Program. This program aims to encourage academic and social involvement by creating a 15-credit certificate and obtaining physical spaces.
“Our initiative is in part academic, because we want a certificate. But it's also in part student life, because we imagine a space that is welcoming to students that are in the program, but also emphasize how to utilize that space.” said HMASC Chair Myxee Thao.
HMASC has been trying to establish this program in the College of Letters and Science for the past four years with little success, which raised the question whether the HMoob and campus community was not supportive of this course.
According to HMASC members, turnout at educational events held on campus attract many faculty and students. A petition circulated a couple of years ago to ignite support of the program, gaining nearly a thousand signatures with in the first hour, but had not gain traction with administration.
The lack of progress in this initiative is not due to the absence of student desire, but red tape within the institution — specifically from the College of Letters and Science.
“Progress has been really slow, throughout all of the back and forth we have been directed to people and than they direct us back to the people that directed us to them,” Thao said. “We have been pushed to student life and have been pushed back to Letters and Science because that's where we envision our certificate to be.”
Yet, they have received support from the students life on campus, notably ASM.
”Now everyone is educated about this thing that is happening right now, because they have been fighting for this for four years even though a legislation like this was passed before,” said Equity and Inclusion Chair Agalia Ardyasa. “But educating the 25th session of ASM is a huge win for me.”Subscribe to The Daily Cardinal Newsletter