I’m an Asian American Student at Columbia University — and Nimesh Patel’s Mic Needed to be Cut

Two models perform at the 2017 Columbia University cultureSHOCK event. (Photo credit: courtesy of Isabelle Lee / Columbia Asian American Alliance)

By Guest Contributor: Isabelle Lee

Editor’s Note: On November 30, 2018, Saturday Night Live writer Nimesh Patel was performing at Columbia University Asian American Alliance’s cultureSHOCK event. Part-way into a set that contained offensive and harassing material, Patel was asked to leave the stage by event organizers. Patel published his version of events in The New York Times. This is what really happened, according to the former president of Columbia University’s Asian American Alliance.

By now, you may have heard that Saturday Night Live writer Nimesh Patel was asked to leave the stage at cultureSHOCK, an annual charity showcase organized by Columbia University’s Asian American Alliance. By now, you’ve read the public coverage of the story which invoked right-wing outcries over PC culture to blame students for being over-sensitive.

Most likely, what you’ve read thus far about Patel’s performance at cultureSHOCK has been wrong; or, at least, it paints a totally incomplete picture. Here’s what really happened.

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Anti-Affirmative Action Group Files Another Complaint — This Time Against Cornell and Columbia

Cornell University's beautiful campus.
Cornell University’s beautiful campus.

Yesterday, guest writer Felix Huang (@Brkn_Yllw_Lns) wrote an incredible essay for this blog suggesting that in talking to Chinese American opponents of affirmative action, we must reframe the conversation away from self-interest and towards collective morality.

This seems a timely observation since something else also happened yesterday: the Asian American Coalition for Education (AACE) — which describes itself as “the proven leader in fighting for Asian-American children’s equal education rights” — announced that it has filed a third complaint against Ivy League universities alleging that the schools’ use of holistic review during college admissions discriminates against Asian American applicants.

Describing the complaint lodged with the Office of Civil Rights at the US Department of Education at the beginning of August, AACE alleged that Cornell University and Columbia University had discriminated against applicant Hubert Zhao when they did not offer him an acceptance to their schools this past spring. The complaint speculates that Zhao was either the victim of racial discrimination, or of political retaliation; Hubert also happens to be the son of AACE president, YuKong Zhao.

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