Abstract: Higher Education

AAPI Nexus: Higher Education Volume 7, Number 2 Fall 2009 Abstracts

“Not in Your Backyard!”: A Community Struggle for the Rights of Immigrant Adult Education in San Francisco’s Chinatown
By: L. Ling-chi Wang

ABSTRACT: This article is a case study of a protracted struggle to establish a branch campus of the San Francisco Community College in Chinatown for thousands of immigrants and working-class adults, focusing mostly on the period since 1997 when the community was slowly politicized and mobilized to fight for their educational rights. Although educational researchers continue to pay close attention to Asian American fights against discriminatory admission policies among the nation’s top colleges and universities, an urgent need to pay more scholarly and political attention to the neediest, poorest, and powerless among Asian Americans clearly exists. To this segment of the Asian American population, access to community college education is a matter of acquiring tools of survival in America. The study illustrates the equal significance of race and class in understanding the development of Asian American communities, how each can be used to obfuscate or disguise the other, and how both can be easily obscured by other issues, especially “progressive” issues or organizations. Asian American community activists and scholars need to pay more attention to class and class conflict with the communities and between the communities and the mainstream society.

Retention and Matriculation Obstacles and Opportunities for Southeast Asian Community College Transfer Students
By: Richard L. Wagoner and Anthony S. Lin

ABSTRACT: This qualitative case study of twenty Southeast Asian students at a flagship public research university suggests that it is illogical to view them as the “model minority” so often described in the literature. Their experience is not the same as that of students from other Asian ethnicities. They struggle with similar issues that challenge other students who come from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. However, the students in this study did discuss two issues that might be more unique to them: immigrant status and the importance of the ethnically based student organization as a means of support and belonging.

“Greasy Grinds” and “Quasi-Robots:” Rhetoric of Exclusions against Jewish and Asian American Students in American Universities
By: Jillian Liesemeyer

ABSTRACT: This study examines the historical comparison between exclusionary quotas against Jewish students in American universities and the recent similarities with the controversy over Asian American enrollment. Through an analysis of historical discourse from within the administration, in the public realm, and from students, parallels are seen between the two incidents. With a more complete understanding of the historical trends in exclusionary practices in universities, policymakers can recognize the current controversy with Asian American enrollment and take on the problem at the source.

AAPIs in the College Access Debate: A Case of Generational and Communication Gaps in the AAPI Education Agenda
By: Oiyan A. Poon

ABSTRACT: Through the presentation of a case study, this resource article argues for the establishment of a national, comprehensive Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) education organization to facilitate communication among educators, students, and community and institutional leaders in order to develop an education policy agenda based on community interests and research. It presents an analysis of the debate over a new University of California (UC) admissions eligibility policy. After discussing how Asian Americans are framed within admissions debates, the article summarizes the new UC policy and presents an analysis of the policy change, addressing concerns raised by two community leaders. This case study demonstrates the need to connect the diverse intergenerational, ethnic, and gendered voices among AAPIs in education.

Asian American and Pacific Islander Serving Institutions: The Motivations and Challenges behind Seeking a Federal Designation
By: Julie J. Park and Mitchell J. Chang

ABSTRACT: This article examines the development of legislation to create a federal designation for Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) serving institutions. Specifically, the article draws from interviews with nineteen policy makers, congressional staffers, and community advocates in order to address their motivations for establishing this designation and the related challenges that they encountered.  Besides the complexities of ushering legislation through Congress, one of the major challenges highlighted includes the lack of political infrastructure for advocating Asian American issues related to education. Recommendations for the future sustainability of federal support for AAPI serving institutions are also discussed.