Racial Challenges of Olin

Dear Olin community,

I’m writing you to express my concern with the way Olin’s culture addresses race. In the two years since graduating in the class of 2012, I’ve been living and working in New York City. I have also spent a lot of time reflecting on my college experience, including the role that race played on the Olin campus. To avoid being verbose, I’ve summarized my concerns in the following three key points.

1. As a Chinese-American student, I felt like I had to tone down my “Asianness” in order to fit in and be successful at Olin. Since its inception, Olin’s student body, administration, staff and faculty have always been predominantly white. Although I never experienced any overt racism against me on campus, I believe that Olin’s “white” culture made it difficult for me to fully embrace and express my lived experience as an Asian-American student. Olin’s curriculum emphasizes empathy for others, but for whatever reason, I found that many Oliners seemed to completely overlook the fact that I was Asian. It wasn’t until I moved to New York City that I began to truly understand and embrace my identity.

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