Neighbor of SU Responds to “Former Student Demands Accountability After Alleged Mishandling of Discrimination Case”

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I am writing to voice my support for HuiLing Yang in her efforts to be justly acknowledged and have her grievances toward Seattle University, its faculty, and their bias treatment towards her, appropriately and wholly addressed. HuiLing is as an outstanding nurse, community member and former student. I have known her for her entire time as a Masters in Public Health Nursing Candidate and, as a neighbor to Seattle University for 31 years, I have known the school, its image, and its public message for a long time too.

As a community member I attended HuiLing’s Masters presentation. I was completely in admiration of the depth, clarity, compassion and dedication she displayed. The enduring thought I left with was that she is the type of nurse we need in our community, at the ground level working with people in need, and at the policy level making broad decisions that impact the health and livability of our city. She outlined a history of the International District community, tied that history directly to present day health issues, and advocated for clear adjustments in policy and action that would have sound impacts on people’s real lives. She broke down the complexity of the systems at play in a provoking and brilliant way and navigated through them towards the answers that are demanded by the severity of the problems. It is exactly this type of thinking that is so needed and so absent from our city at present and it is this exact remedy that can provide the pathway through the health crises that exist on the streets of Seattle every day. I know that the thoroughness HuiLing applied to this presentation she applies to her care for her clients and her attention to the needs of her community. It heartens me that she stands up for herself with just as much diligence; would that we all could do the same.

Seattle University prides itself on its commitment to justice, inclusion, and equity. They profess to put the good of the students first and to value diversity within their institution. Year after year Seattle University touts these values to prospective students, community members, and the city at large. Yet this public image simply does not hold true with their treatment of HuiLing. How many others without the diligence to stand up for themselves, without the energy or the ability to do so, go unheard? How many others have experienced the dismissal of their right to be treated equitably by Seattle University? I believe firmly that HuiLing represents many unheard voices. I am grateful to her for showing us all a glimpse of her un-pretty and un-glamourous treatment from Seattle University – her real lived experiences of oppression, racism, bias and bigotry. It is through her leadership that much needed change can come about.

It is not for me to go into any part of what occurred during her time as a student there, HuiLing does so in detail here: https://tinyurl.com/y2dzhozp, but I firmly believe that Seattle University owes HuiLing a great debt to come into accountability with her as a former student, and with their own values as a Jesuit institution of higher education. Accountability would mean acknowledging the wrongs committed in the bias and racist treatment of HuiLing in the classroom by her teacher, and by the administration throughout her grievance process. Accountability would be addressing those wrongs by taking action to apologize and actively working to repair the harm done by making real concrete changes in policy and staffing. Accountability is hard to come by these days. Hypocrisy is easy to find. HuiLing is accountable to those she serves; can Seattle University be? I sincerely hope so. I fully support HuiLing in her statements and her process of seeking justice from Seattle University for what she experienced while she was a student there.

— Andrew Green, Community Member & 31 Year Neighbor of Seattle University