Sexual Assault, Discrimination, and Hate Against Asian Americans at Dartmouth
By Emma Nguyen '25, Rachel Kahng '25, Helen Deng '26, & Lance Paul Sunga '26
"Back in '99, we didn't have the word microaggressions. That wasn't in the mainstream. I always used the words 'a thousand cuts'... So, I think the 'thousand cuts' stories were more prevalent and more evident, and in some ways, the lack of validation that those experiences were real, are real, were happening, was damaging to folks."– Nora Yasumura, Assistant Dean of Student Life and Advisor to Asian and Asian American Students (1999 - 2012)
The model minority myth perpetuates the stereotype that Asian and Asian Americans are the ideal worker–polite, law-abiding, and financially successful due to inherent racial and cultural characteristics. As a result, Asian and Asian Americans have been falsely characterized as an apolitical monolith that do not face bias or discrimination due to their relative "success” compared to other racial groups.
At a glance, the condition of Dartmouth’s Asian and Asian American population seems to corroborate this myth. However, after searching the College’s archives for histories that would be more conveniently forgotten, it is clear that anti-Asian racism occurs and has always occurred on campus.
Exploring the records in Rauner Library and pulling from various alumni interviews, we compile incidents of sexual assault, hate, and violence against the Asian community at Dartmouth. We look at the responses to these cases of discrimination from students and the administration, highlighting the ways in which the College dismisses and renders invisible acts of anti-Asian hate.
Understanding the intersectional subjectivities of gender and race, we place special emphasis on the elevated rates of racialized sexual violence against Asian and Asian American women at Dartmouth. Analyzing statistics collected by the College, archived reports, and student publications, we contextualize this struggle within the larger frames of Orientalism and the hypersexualization/fetishization of Asian women.
A Statement on Potentially Harmful Content adapted from statements from the Digital Public Library of America and Digital by Dartmouth Library (DxDL):
This project is ultimately meant to serve two purposes: 1) it should be a reference point for students and scholars to access incidents of bias towards Asian and Asian Americans at Dartmouth that were previously difficult to access and 2) it should allow the public to engage with ways that Asian and Asian Americans resisted against sexual assault, racism, and discrimination at Dartmouth college. Some items may be harmful or difficult to view on account of their hateful and discriminatory content. We recognize that making these sources widely available could potentially lead to their use in harmful ways. However, by publicizing these documents, we contest the invisibilization of Asian and Asian American struggles. This project does not endorse the perspectives represented in these materials, but instead turns a critical eye to Dartmouth’s complicit past, opening the door to social change in the present and future.
The process of contextualizing harmful materials is necessarily iterative, collaborative, and aspirational. This project is but one step in this process.