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In solidarity with Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander Communities

Dear Faculty, Staff, and Student Colleagues

I write to you at a time of increasing violence and harassment directed toward people in Asian communities, with the latest example being the recent brutal murders in Atlanta. On behalf of the Department of Geography, I would like to express solidarity with Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander communities.

I join a large group of Department Heads in the College of Arts & Sciences in expressing unequivocal condemnation of the violence, intimidation and xenophobia that has become increasingly evident across the nation since the start of the pandemic. Tragically, discrimination against Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander communities has a long history in our country, but these recent attacks bring to light a new level of racism and hate.

Our program is concerned about the physical and emotional well-being and safety of our Asian faculty and student colleagues. Please know that I and other departmental leaders stand ready to lend assistance and strong support to Asian, Asian-American, and Pacific Islander communities at the University of Tennessee and across the state and region.

I encourage all members of our Geography and Sustainability community to extend solidarity and aid to those impacted by racism—not just at this moment but far into the future and across a wide array of diverse groups who contribute much to our department, university, and society.

I also hope we will use our individual and collective voices as citizens and our special skills and arenas of interaction as social, geospatial and environmental scientists to oppose violence, discrimination and scapegoating in the strongest possible terms.


Derek H. Alderman, PhD

Professor of Geography & Interim Head

Department of Geography, University of Tennessee