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Are these examples of programs
currently at the Wang Center that
honor the donor's vision of
uniting East and West?

 

 
Hurricane Sandy Symposium
4/10/2013   /  1pm - 4pm
Location Information:

West Campus - Wang Center
Guest speakers include: Malcolm Bowman, Steven Englebright, Charles Flagg, Ann Siders, Michael White
 
College of Business MBA Info Session
4/10/2013   /  6:30pm
Location Information:

West Campus - Wang Center
 
Music, Language and Emotion Workshop
4/12/2013  /  10am - 6pm
Location Information:
West Campus - Wang Center
Guest speakers: Nicole Calma (SBU), Arnie Cox (Oberlin), John Drury (SBU), Carol Krumhansl (Cornell), David Pesetsky (MIT), Michael Schober (New School), Robert Slevc (Maryland), Neta Spiro (Nordiff-Robbins) 
 
Earthstock Keynote Lecture
4/19/2013   /  7:30pm
Location Information:

West Campus - Wang Center
Wally Broecker, Newberry Professor of Geology, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Columbia U. Broecker's studies... the influence of climate change on polar ice...
 
Hillel Foundation for Jewish Life Hosts Jewish University For A Day
4/21/2013   /  10am - 5pm
Location Information:

West Campus - Wang Center
 
University Senate: Spring 2013 Senate Meeting Schedule
February 4 - Wang Center, Lecture Hall 2
March 4 - Wang Center, Lecture Hall 2
April 1 - HSC, Level 2, Lecture Hall 3
May 6 - Wang Center, Lecture Hall 24/21/2013   /  10am - 5pm
 

Wang Centerís Tangled Web

Part 2

What Is
the Future
of Asian and
Asian American
Programming?

What Was
Wang's Vision?

What Should
the Wang Asian / American Center
Be Now?


April 2013

To Stony Brook Press Readers: In the March 5, 2013 issue, SBU AA E-Zine discussed what was happening in the Charles B. Wang Asian American Center: the Director of Asian and Asian American Programming had been relieved of her responsibilities, a petition to restore her position was created on change.org, the University responded to the petition, there was a response to the University's response, Statesman and SB Press wrote articles about what was happening, and SBU AA E-Zine updated what was known, commented on those articles, and clarified some of what was being said. Some of what is below refers back to that and it can be read at
www.aaezine.org/articles/vol30/30n2-wang-aac-saga-03-2013.shtml

Now we would like to turn to the other aspect that the University is telling reporters, and which no one is challenging - what the Wang Center was supposed to be, and what they have in mind for its future. It's frightening. For all of the rhetoric, it appears that we are going from bad to worse.

In 1996, Charles Wang was asked to fund a small Asian American Center Bridge between Harriman and Physics because at the time, this growing community had literally no resources. Although the highest rate of suicide is Asian American girls aged 15 - 24, SBU did not have a single Asian counselor. Black and Latino students had the then Uniti Cultural Center in Roth; Asian students used whatever space they could find. (Note, the original Uniti Cultural Center was a large, basically student run space. The current space is not similar or equivalent, but that is another issue.) There was a multitude of problems.

Charles asked, "Why a bridge, why not a building?" He funded the Bridge and also sent his personal architect, PH Tuan, to campus every other week for months to discuss the future. That future started out as a $25 million dollar donation for an Asian / American Center but by the time it was finished, had cost well over $60 million. And Charles was not the only donor. The magnificent black stone floors imported from India, and the bamboo and trees in the chapel and back garden, were a gift from the Wang Center's architect, PH Tuan.

What was Charles Wang's vision? Let's start by saying one thing about what Charles Wang was. In college, he was the President of the Chinese student club. So he had that student club president perspective when he said, "I want it to be a boy meets girl place of parties and dances." And that was also in his mind when he said it was not to be an academic building because, "I don't want it to be any department's fiefdom."

That's not to say he wanted it to be solely for students. One of the lecture halls was specifically designed with the then latest technology so that a course could be taught to students here and in Asia. We take that for granted now but 17 years ago that was a cutting edge idea.

Wang's proposal to the University is on the AA E-Zine website. Here's what it said on the page titled Activities:

The Center will be open all year round, including weekends. Some students, especially those who are Asian and Asian American, may come to think of the Center as a "home away from home."

Sub-heading: Learning and Communication
 
Learning Communication Skills
Improving English Writing Skills
Learning Special Computer Skills
Participating in Non-Academic Classes
Reading Asian Periodicals and Other Materials
Internet Access
Translation Services

Sub-heading: Culture and History
Art Exhibits
Theatre and Music Events
Movie screenings
Lectures and Conferences
Oral History Audio/Video Access
Live and Taped Asian TV Broadcasts

Sub-heading: Social Activities
Meeting and Hanging Out with Friends
Dances and Parties

Sub-heading: Food and Shopping
Asian Foods
Asian Gifts and Books

Sub-heading: Special Events

Incoming Asian and Asian American Students Reception
Graduation Receptions
Food Festivals
Club Fairs
Weddings

The end of that page. So, when was the last student dance or party at the Wang Center? When was the last Asian interest conference? Our international student population has exploded but where are the all those learning and communication facilities that were supposed to exist for them?
 

nd no one is c - without any real discussion of what was or what should be.


Many complain the Wang Center does not have enough professional programming now. When there should be events every week at a minimum, there are only on average of 8 to 10 per semester. When the art alcoves should be filled with 3 shows each semester, there is generally one per year. 

While some disagree on how far west the Wang Center should cover, even where there is total agreement - how do you show the breadth of Asia - Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burma/Myanmar, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Taiwan, Tibet, Vietnam, How do you show the breadth of Asia and cover all genres - art, films, music, dance, theater,
While the University is claiming a new Associate Director will be hired whose sole responsibility will be Asian and Asian American programming, but it is cutting the budget to only allow for 6 to 8 events per year,  what does that mean?

Does it mean that if in these hard economic times, outside funding is not found, oh well?

Does it mean that Wang becomes another Staller, where all performances are so expensive most students never go, and the Director caters to the old, white haired or balding crowd that can afford the tickets?

- Wilson Jiang, SBU AA E-Zine Editor-in-Chief
- Ja Young, AA E-Zine Alumni Editor
 

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