Asians push for bill on minority funding

BY
BY ALISON GO
Daily Staff Reporter
Published December 3, 2003

A proposed bill lending financial assistance to higher education
institutions that meet a quota of Asian American and Pacific
Islander students is gathering steam on campus.

The bill, H.R. 333, will face Congress in its next session and
is a proposed amendment to the Higher Education Act of 1965. The
bill would add Asians to the list of minorities — including
blacks and Hispanics — that receive federal grants. Right
now, supporters say that Asians are the only minorities that are
not included under the act.

At the University, student groups are organizing letter-writing
campaigns and meeting with the administration to discuss the
bill.

“The student groups in the APA community are spreading
awareness about H.R. 333,” said SNRE senior Han-Ching Lin,
co-chair of the United Asian American Organizations. “(They
are encouraging) members to write to their representatives in
Congress to ask them to support the bill.”

A similar national campaign is also endorsed by the National
Asian American Student Conference.

If the bill passes through Congress in late January, it would
compel the Department of Education to allocate money to
institutions with an Asian student popular of 10 percent or more.
This semester, 13.7 percent of the student body is Asian.

Priority would be given to institutions that admit a certain
number of low-income Asian students each year.

“H.R. 333 is important because it addresses the model
minority myth, that Asians are doing as well or better than whites
and don’t need assistance,” said Ziehyun Huh, the Asian
Pacific American coordinator in the Office of Multi-Ethnic Student
Affairs. “There are underrepresented and low-income Asian
students that also need resources and opportunities.”

“People have a conception that AAPI aren’t in need
when in fact there are a lot of Asians that are below the poverty
line,” said LSA sophomore Stephanie Chang, external chair of
the UAAO.

The funds schools would receive would not be allocated from
money otherwise going to other minorities, Chang said. It is the
Department of Education’s responsibility to come up with the
money for grants.

The bill was proposed by Rep David Wu (D-Ore.).

“This will improve an institution’s capacity to
serve their students,” said Jilliam Shoene, the press
secretary for Wu.

The money schools would receive would go to purchasing
educational aids, establishing community outreach programs and
conducting research on Asian populations, according to the
bill.

“Recent budget cuts in the Office of Multi-Ethnic Student
Affairs have drastically decreased funding opportunities for the
many student groups in our communities, and the programs that they
sponsor each year,” Lin said.

“(The funds) would go to help ethnic studies to be more
responsive to these low-income and underrepresented AAPI
students,” Huh said. “H.R. 333 would work with
non-profit organizations to address these needs and bring the
student affairs office back to their roots and be more
community-based.”

Members of UAAO will meet Friday with Dean of Students Ed Willis
to discuss what would be done with the funds provided by the
grants.