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Two paper signs bearing racist slurs were posted on the door of Undergraduate Council President Michael Y. Cheng ’22 on Monday morning, sparking condemnation from Quincy House faculty and students.
Cheng said he first became aware of the flyers — which called him an anti-Asian slur and included the phrase “SAVE THE UC” — when he left his dorm in Quincy House on Monday morning. Another Quincy resident reported the flyers to House administrators shortly after, according to Cheng.
Cheng called the act disheartening but “not that surprising” and linked the incident to previous criticism of his political platform.
“It’s disappointing that I feel desensitized to all this noise, even though this is just objectively racist,” he said.
“It’s right after the UC midterm elections," Cheng added. "There are some people that are frustrated by decisions we’ve made."
Cheng was elected UC president in November after pledging during his campaign to “defund” the body and rewrite its constitution. His inauguration was marred by hostility between his administration and other general members of the UC.
In an email to Quincy residents on Monday, Cheng requested an apology from the perpetrator and for previous “exaggerated attacks” on his character.
“I don’t care about punishment, I would just appreciate a personal apology,” he wrote.
Quincy Faculty Deans Eric Beerbohm and Leslie J. Duhaylongsod condemned the flyers and offered their support to Cheng in an email to House residents that denounced the slurs as "deplorable."
“We want to say in the strongest possible terms that this is absolutely unacceptable; none of these actions is consistent with Quincy’s focus on a safe, respectful, and inclusive community,” they wrote. “Hate has no place at Quincy House.”
The Harvard-Radcliffe Asian American Women’s Association released a statement co-signed by 11 other student groups Monday rebuking the “act of direct racism” and calling on the College to take concrete steps to respond to the incident.
“We actively strive to fight injustices across an intersectional network of issues that affects all of us as students,” the statement reads. “We must not let these actions go unrecognized without consequence.”
Cheng said he was heartened by the messages of support he received.
“I’ve gotten emails and messages from a lot of people,” he said. “It’s definitely great to hear that people care about me.”
In their email, the Quincy faculty deans also solicited information about the incident.
On Monday, Cheng speculated that the vandalism was committed by one of his political opponents.
“I presume if you care enough to do something like this, you’re probably on the UC,” Cheng said.
—Staff writer Mert Geyiktepe can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
—Staff writer J. Sellers Hill can be reached at email@example.com.
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