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Community Letter - SVSA Incident

Content warning: This message references anti-Asian violence/racial violence

To our Vietnamese American and larger Asian American community,

We are writing to inform you of difficult news regarding a recent act of hate targeting the Stanford Vietnamese American community.  We share this message because the incident has had wide-ranging impact of harm for many within our community, and you deserve to have visibility to issues that may affect your overall sense of wellbeing and belonging. 

Between March 18-30, 2023, the Stanford Vietnamese Student Association (SVSA) received multiple, racially-charged hateful comments posted on their Instagram account from an unknown individual.  These included threats of violence directed at SVSA and a promise that anyone with a Vietnamese last name would die first.  The student group filed both a Protected Identity Harm (PIH) report with the University and a formal police report with the Department of Public Safety (DPS).  On April 6, a suspect, who is not affiliated with the university, was found and detained on Stanford's campus after a MBA student reported a threatening photo the suspect had posted on social media.  The individual, described as a Vietnamese male in his mid-20s, admitted to posting the hateful and threatening comments on SVSA and other Stanford social media accounts as well.  Out of concern for the suspect’s mental health, the individual was transferred to a nearby hospital for professional care.  The suspect was later released and is currently back under the care of his family on the East Coast.  The individual was issued a Stay Away Order banning him from the Stanford campus.

These events have had significant emotional, mental, and physical toll on our Vietnamese American student leaders and community.  As a direct result, SVSA’s Culture Night program was cancelled to allow for individual and collective processing and healing. 

The Asian American Activities Center (A3C) denounces these acts of hate and cowardice, and condemns racism and violence in all its forms.  We are angered and distraught by the harm this has had on our community, including provoked feelings of fear, anxiety, distress, and powerlessness that students are experiencing.  And we are heartbroken that students do not feel safe in their own skin, nor safe to celebrate their culture and identity.  We share in the deep pain and anguish of many in the community who are shaken and have had their sense of psychological and physical safety shattered. 

We recognize this community pain is situated within and exacerbated by the larger societal context of anti-Asian hate and violence that has surged in the last few years.  We understand too well from recent events in Monterey Park and Half Moon Bay that violence and harm can be perpetrated by those within our own community, which perhaps cuts and hurts even deeper.  It raises complicated and painful questions on whether and how internalized racism and hate, trauma, safety, and mental health needs are being addressed within our Asian American community.  And it may raise questions of how these are being addressed at Stanford.  Given this context, we know this recent act of hate has implications and impact on our broader Asian American community and can weigh heavily on all of you and your sense of safety. 

We know this information may be overwhelming and difficult to process.  Everyone is impacted differently by such incidents, so we urge you to prioritize compassion, understanding, and care for one another.  The A3C is committed to helping our community come together to heal and build a stronger sense of individual and collective safety—rooted in radical love and intention.  We are here and encourage you to reach out to one or all of us if you need care and support. 

Lastly, we extend deep awe and gratitude to the amazing student leaders in our community who have been holding space under daunting and extraordinary circumstances.  They have risen to the occasion during these trying times by providing essential guidance, support, and leadership to their fellow peers and the A3C—thank you.

We believe in the beauty of our community and stand united with all of you against hate.  May empathy, kindness, and healing guide us all forward.  In an ongoing partnership with Stanford Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), psychologists are also available to provide culturally sensitive counseling and resources through regular drop-in hours at the A3C or via bookable online appointments (  You can also call CAPS at 650.723.3785 for urgent or 24/7 mental health crisis assistance.  Further mental health resources are listed below.  

In care and solidarity,

- The Asian American Activities Center


Campus Resources 

CAPS at A3C -

  • If it’s not urgent, students can sign up with one of our counselors this quarter during their Let’s Talk sessions:
    • Dr. Helen Hsu - Thursdays from 2:30-5PM in the A3C
    • Dr. Christine Catipon - Thursdays from 2-4PM via zoom
    • Camara Chea - Thursday from 12:30-2:30Pm via zoom
    • Dr. Jade Seto - Thursday from 9-10AM and Fridays from 9-10AM and 12:30-1PM on Zoom
  • How to Sign Up for an Appointment with CAPS
    • Sign up for a  CAPS Counseling appointment at A3C with Dr. Helen Hsu. Using VadenPatient : select "Appointments" on the left-side menu; then "Schedule an Appointment". Choose Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) as the department and select "A3C Drop-In Counseling".
  • If you need immediate help, please check out the Vaden Website
    • For immediate mental health crisis assistance call Counseling and Psychological Services at 650.723.3785 any time, including evenings and weekends. A clinician will be available to speak with you, assess your situation and offer support and/or recommendations for follow-up.
  • After-Hours support page.
  • A3C Staff

Campus Resources

Well-Being @ Stanford - Talk with a well-being coach

Vaden Health: Well-Being at Stanford: A web page dedicated to providing various resources for general student wellness on campus. Their primary focus is to promote student well-being through coaching.

Bridge Peer Counseling - 24/7 peer support counseling and support on the phone

Grieving at Stanford - Stanford offers assistance and resources to help you and your community navigate this difficult time and find your way to healing and peace.

Confidential Support Team (CST):  Receive support for those impacted by sexual, relationship, and gender-based violence through confidential, trauma-informed consultation, counseling, and outreach. 

Office of Religious and Spiritual Life (ORSL): Receive non-judgmental listening support and guidance.

Stanford Against Hate

Vaden Flourishing Alliance Outreach Requests-To request a training or outreach workshop.

Other Resources

Coping Strategies

Coping with Anti Asian harassment and hate Part I 

Coping with Anti Asian harassment and hate Part 2

Butterfly Hug 

Coping tips for Anti Asian racism 

Asian American Health Initiative (AAHI) Resource Library: An online directory containing toolkits, photonovels, and videos spanning a range of topics, including stress management, self-care, and building resilience.

Off-Campus Therapy

Asian Mental Health Collective (AMHC): A list of organizations and hotlines dedicated to offering support in the AAPI community. AMHC also offers a directory of connected therapists, concentrated in the San Jose area for those seeking help near campus.

Heart2Heart Online - If you or someone you know is a BIPOC person experiencing distress related to experiences with discrimination, they might be interested in helping us test the Heart2Heart Online program. Check it out!

Community Conversation Guidelines

Agreements for MultiCultural Interactions-