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Re-examining Diversity Policy at University of California, San Diego : : The Racial Politics of Asian Americans


My research examines how Asian Americans at University of California, San Diego engage in a discourse around self- determination, internationalization, and diversity from 1960 to the present. In a post-racial era where colorblindness and meritocracy shape diversity policy at an elite California public university, the growth of Asian American college student continue to baffle university administrators and educators in how to create diversity policy that tackles their needs and concerns. From locating the first political Asian American student organization, movement to create the Lumumba-Zapata College and an Asian American Studies minor, to the student actions against the racist Compton Cookout incidents mocking Black History Month, I address how a university administration responded to the racial discourse around diversity at an historically white institution. Research results indicate that the university administration failed to recognize Asian American student needs and concerns in developing diversity policy. The university's narrow understanding of Asian Americans is rooted in a black-white framework of tackling the achievement gap, which allowed them to understand Asian American student experiences only in relation to white student success and black student struggles. Asian American racialization as model minorities and yellow perils erases their experiences as an undeserved minority group. The dissertation provides counter-stories and research data that challenges UC San Diego to re-examine diversity policy to consider Asian American student experiences and needs. Using a mixed-methods approach of ethnography, interviews, surveys, archives, and a discourse analysis, this study offers insights to creating a more transformative diversity policy that positively shapes the experiences of all students on campus

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