Fasting Students Seek Ethnic Studies Dep't.

Students from Harvard's Ethnic Studies Action Committee (ESAC) will forgo meals and gather on the steps of Widener today to call attention to Harvard's lack of an ethnic studies concentration.

The day-long fast is intended to express solidarity with students at Northwestern University and Princeton University and also to protest Harvard's refusal to meet student demands for permanent ethnic studies courses and faculty, said Jennifer Ching '96, a member of ESAC.

About 10 to 15 people will be present at the fast, estimated Irene C. Cheng `97, a member of ESAC and president of the Asian American Association.

While dressed in black with white armbands to symbolize unity, students plan to carry signs, answer questions from passers-by and possibly gather signatures for a petition, said Julie C. Suk `97, a member of ESAC and managing editor of Perspective.

"This gesture is not so much to affront Harvard as it is to show our support for a nationwide network fighting for ethnic studies," Ching said.


A group of 17 students at North-western began conducting a hunger strike on April 11, according to a an e-mail sent out by the Ethnic Studies Action Committee. Since then, at least seven have dropped out due to fatigue.

Camped out in three tents in front of Northwestern's University Hall, the remaining students say they plan to stay until the university agrees to create a program in Asian American studies.

At Princeton, 17 students staged a 36-hour sit-in beginning last Thursday in front of the president's office, according to ESAC e-mail reports. They remained until the administra- tion agreed to hire between four and seven newfaculty members for the Asian and Latino studiesprograms. Princeton also agreed to expand thecollection of library books in the fields of Asianand Latino studies.

At Harvard, an ad hoc faculty committee onethnic studies headed by Thomson Professor ofGovernment Jorge I. Dominguez has been created byDean of the Faculty Jeremy R. Knowles toinvestigate the issue. The Faculty Council,however, has voted down a proposal to make it intoa permanent standing committee three times.

"We've been issuing demands for many years, andthere has been little response from theadministration," Suk said. "They've showedconcern, but they haven't done much."

Suk said she believes the administration ishypocritical.

It has "ignored every other aspect of ethnicstudies besides African-American studies," Suksaid. The ESAC supports course and faculty forAsian, Chicano and Native American Studies, Suksaid