At its Feb. 22 meeting, the University of Illinois Student Senate passed a resolution encouraging Facebook users to avoid posting racially insensitive material on a memes page associated with the school. The page administrators voluntarily removed the posts deemed offensive, but the debate continued in the Opinions section of the Daily Illini, a student newspaper. Few of the racially charged memes referred to African-Americans or Latinos; most referred to students of Asian heritage.

The memes controversy exemplifies the type of issues that are the focus of the American University Meets the Pacific Century Project – a social science research laboratory guided by U. of I. professors Nancy Abelmann (anthropology, Asian American studies, East Asian languages and cultures), Soo Ah Kwon (Asian American studies, human and community development), Tim F. Liao (sociology, statistics) and Adrienne Lo (anthropology). Started in the spring of 2010, the AUPC Project is hosting the first conference to address this topic on March 9-10 (Friday and Saturday), with speakers from colleges in the U.S. and Canada as well as Yonsei University, the oldest private university in South Korea.

The conference will focus on the fastest-growing segments of international students – Asian undergraduates – with presentations on topics ranging from the social conditions in China and South Korea that drive education migration to the ways these students are changing American colleges and universities.

Read full article in University News.