Status of the Asian Studies minor Program at UBC
by Mary Kitagawa
We are very disappointed to learn that the Asian Canadian Studies minor course is not being offered at UBC this September. In a press release on November 16, 2011, the UBC Senate Tributes Committee announced that they voted for three measures as part of honouring the 76 Japanese Canadian who were summarily dismissed from UBC in 1942. The two other measures were to develop initiatives to educate future UBC students about this dark episode in its history and to have the UBC library preserve and bring to life the historical record in its possession.
On March 21, 2012 at a symposium held at the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, Dean of Arts Gage Averill announced that the new minor program on Asian Canadian Studies would be offered in the fall of 2013. The course was chosen as a minor to allow students from other faculties to access the course.
As a first step to implementing the course, two workshops were held in March 2013 at St. John’s College UBC, to gather ideas from the following communities: Japanese Canadian, Chinese Canadian, Filipino Canadian, First Nations and Indo Canadian. Also present were several academics from various universities. We assumed that the ideas and information gathered at these sessions would be forwarded to those who would be in charge of developing the curriculum. Unfortunately, the process did not continue as we had hoped and now we have learned that the Asian Canadian Studies minor program will not be offered until the second term in January of 2014. It will begin with a minimum of only one new introductory course and a Film and TV course examining Asian Canadian topics and perspectives. In order to make progress toward a more comprehensive course, Dean Averill agreed to appoint a broader committee to explore the range of suggestions already gathered and from future community engagement initiatives.
The proposed minor program cannot be implemented until the UBC Senate votes for it during their November 2013 meeting. We will need to keep pressure on UBC for its implementation so that we do not have to repeat the four year struggle that we experienced getting them to honour the 76 Japanese Canadian 1942 students who were expelled.