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Ohio University launches new Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander employee affinity organization

Global diversity is integral to the OHIO experience as the University boasts a diverse body of students, faculty, and staff from around the globe, which provides unique and engaging opportunities for learning and growth.

During the fall of 2021, the international student population represented 115 different countries, and although exact data is unavailable, the University faculty and staff demographics similarly identify with numerous countries and cultures, with a significant portion identifying as Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander (AAPI).

The Real Talk About Big Questions spring lecture and discussion raised the question: "How can the Ohio University community stand with, and support, Asian and Pacific Islander populations?” Following this event, which addressed ongoing anti-Asian violence, members of the University community, specifically stakeholders with special interest and experience regarding the AAPI communities, sought the opportunity to form an employee affinity organization through the Division of Diversity and Inclusion and Human Resources.

In the summer of 2021, AAPI-LEAD (Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islanders: Leadership, Education, Advocacy, and Development) was launched, welcoming all OHIO employees who seek opportunities to foster networking, professional development, awareness, and support for AAPI at OHIO. Similarly, two other organizations were formed independently in the summer: Athens Asian American Alliance (a community organization) and the Asian American and Pacific Islander Student Union (AAPISU).

“We are thrilled that the AAPI-LEAD employee affinity group has launched,” said Dr. Gigi Secuban, vice president for Diversity and Inclusion. “The creation of and expanded support for OHIO’s employee affinity organizations is one of the Inclusive Excellence Strategic Plan 2021 action items. The employee affinity organizations are a crucial fixture at the University and are just one of the ways we strive to create a sense of belonging for our faculty and staff from diverse backgrounds.”

Through collaborative and bridging support between the AAPI OHIO employee community, student populations, and broader Athens and regional higher education campus communities, AAPI-LEAD seeks to elevate awareness and advocate for the diverse needs of its members through educational, cultural, and social activities.

The organization aligns with OHIO’s Inclusive Excellence Strategic Plan goals and provides leadership on OHIO AAPI faculty, staff, student, and alumni issues. With its inaugural President, Dr. Yuqiu You, associate professor of engineering technology and management in the Russ College of Engineering and Technology, AAPI-LEAD envisions itself to be a leading organization at OHIO to foster an inclusive, just, and equitable community at both the University and the larger Southeast region of Ohio in which AAPI members are valued, connected, supported, and empowered to reach their fullest potential.

“Our OHIO community has made the desire for more robust connections and support for AAPI engagement known. We are very happy to launch this employee affinity organization to serve this need and foster many exciting opportunities for increased understanding and community support,” You said.

A welcome reception will be held on Tuesday, Sept. 14, between noon and 1 p.m. at Baker University Center’s third floor atrium for those who want to network and learn more about AAPI-LEAD.

Those interested can learn more and sign up to attend at

For more information about AAPI-LEAD or the gathering, please contact or visit

September 8, 2021
Staff reports