Center for Asian Pacific American Students

academics

2001-2011 Timeline

2001

In the fall, the Center for Asian Pacific American Students (CAPAS) is formed as a space with work-study students in Mead Hall, Y Tower. Pitzer alumna Laura Tamashiro was a driving force in the creation of a center. With the help of students, a proposal for the center was drafted by Pitzer staff.

2002

CAPAS received seed money from the Irvine Diversity Grant to fund one full-time Coordinator and support programming over the next two years. The grant was managed by Pitzer Professor and Associate Dean of Faculty Linus Yamane. Stephanie Velasco was hired as the inaugural staff person.

2003

CAPAS hosted a focus group and launched its website and "Voices from the Margin" newsletter. Programs such as Open House, Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month, Pilipino American History Month and the Asian Pacific American Alumni and Senior Recognition Dinner were established.

In the spring, a group of intoxicated students entered the CAPAS patio and disturbed, intimidated and harassed four students inside the center, yelling insensitive comments related to Asian ethnicity. An identified individual was held accountable and is no longer a member of the Pitzer community.

2004

CAPAS is relocated by a majority vote to a more central and visible space in Mead Hall, Little X Tower. Students and staff felt it was important to include amenities similar to the last space. The center and programs were developed and staffed by thirty interns and volunteers from all Claremont Colleges.

A series of hate crimes took place throughout the Claremont Colleges, including staged car vandalism by CMC Professor Kerri Dunn. Students and staff at CAPAS held discussions and issued a formal statement regarding these incidents.

2005

Following the Irvine Diversity Grant, CAPAS received Pitzer funding for one year. To be considered for full funding, CAPAS was placed under review. As a result of the evaluation process, which included a 100+ page self-study and other data, the review team recommended that "CAPAS continue to operate at Pitzer," stating that "CAPAS not only provides a tremendous benefit to Pitzer's Asian American students, but to the entire Pitzer community."

In March, CAPAS was successfully institutionalized.

The Coordinator position held by Stephanie Velasco was converted to a Director position and a Program Assistant position was created. Ka Yee Chiu, a CGU student was hired for two years. The Program Assistant position was discontinued in 2009 due to budget cuts.

In the winter, CAPAS partnered with World Vision to help raise funds for victims of the December 26 tsunami in Southeast Asia. The center also partnered with Kid Works International and the American Red Cross to help raise over $25k for survivors. An article was featured in the Claremont Courier.

In the spring, alumnus Charlie Mok installs a CAPAS mural on the outside wall of the center during Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage month. The artwork features two dragons that spell out "CAPAS."

2006

CAPAS hosts a discussion for an Asian Pacific Student Union. Members of BSU and LSU and OSA were invited to share about their existing organizations and students discussed the possibility of an Asian American Student Union. APAC, the Asian Pacific American Coalition, is later formed in 2009.

2007

In the fall, students voted to combine the staff and steering committees into one based on the participation levels of students, faculty and staff. A list serve of active faculty and staff was sustained.

In the spring, CAPAS and OSA hosted a Strategic Planning Workshop open to all community. Participants, led by a consultant, developed a shared Visioning Document for the future.

On the campus of Virginia Tech, an Asian American student Seung-Hui Cho, killed and wounded many before committing suicide. CAPAS co-signed a written collective response to 5C Presidents and Deans with other Asian American entities on campus over concern for Asian Pacific American backlash.

2008

CAPAS hosted "Fil-I-Am: Filipino Americans in Hip Hop" featuring Asian American artists in mainstream media and the "B-box project," where donations of clothing, educational materials and toiletries were collected and sent to needy families in the Philippines through a non-profit organization.

CAPAS staff voted to restructure its unlimited positions to five student internships and the center goes "green" (i.e. implementing fresh plants, eco-friendly eatery and encouraging recycling).

In the spring, CAPAS was vandalized by unidentified persons. A door leading to CAPAS was unlocked and the incident was investigated. The Dean of Students issued an email stating that the act was "harmful and disrespectful to the Center, the students who utilize this space, and our entire campus community."

In the summer, alumna Cindy Pujayana paints a CAPAS mural on the inside wall of the center. The artwork features bamboo to reflect the space. She also designed an Asian garden for the patio.

2009

CAPAS hosts an open forum to discuss current issues such as programs, funding, and community.

CAPAS partnered with over twenty-five Claremont College organizations and community-based organization Search to Involve Pilipino Americans (SIPA) to host the second "Fil-I-Am" as a benefit showcase for typhoon survivors in Southeast Asia. The event helped rise over $2K for the Philippine Red Cross.

Pitzer College was named in "Top Ten Best College for Asian American Pacific Islander Students" in a national search by Asian Pacific Americans for Progress and Angry Asian Man. The article lauded CAPAS for building community programs on and off campus and mentions how students "benefit from the services and resources offered by [the center]."