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The Dartmouth
April 20, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Pan-Asian Community Room found in ‘disarray’ between summer and fall term

PAC members did not report the incident to the Department of Safety and Security or other College officials.

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On Aug. 28, between summer and fall term, members of the Pan-Asian Community Lin Lin ’26 and Lance Paul Sunga ’26 discovered the PAC Room in “disarray” and said they believe it may have been vandalized. According to Lin, the room, which is located on the first floor of Robinson Hall, had “trash everywhere,” with Sunga adding that several personal items were stolen and broken.

Sunga added that PAC has not filed a report on the alleged break-in or vandalism to either the Department of Safety and Security nor other College officials. DoSS director Keiselim Montás declined to comment on the matter because no report has been filed. 

According to Sunga, the Dartmouth Asian American Studies Collective chose not to make any reports because they did not want to create a “police state” where the room was constantly being “watched over.” Sunga added that they did not notify Office of Pluralism and Leadership director Jimmy Hyunh, the person responsible for overseeing the room, because he is planning to soon leave his position at OPAL. 

The stolen items included personal books, mugs bought for the room and a mushroom figurine signed by graduated DAASC  seniors, Sunga said. The Community Advocate award given to DAASC for their social justice work in the Pan-Asian community in 2023 was hidden under a tote bag with its frame broken, Lin added. Various archival posters were damaged from food and drink stains. 

“If it’s trash, I can clean after it,” Lin said. “But seeing [the award] broken and being hidden this way and no one reporting it really upset us.”

In response to the incident, Lin said that Huynh contacted the Outdoor Programs Office, which also has spaces on the first floor of Robinson Hall, and that he has scheduled meetings with the Dartmouth Outing Club to discuss the matter. 

DOC leadership confirmed that the PAC Room was used for outdoor gear storage for First-Year Trips at the end of the summer, and the gear was immediately removed after. 

First-Year Trips leadership declined to comment. 

The DAASC and OPAL hold meetings and events in the PAC Room, according to OPAL student staff member Deborah Jung ’24. She emphasized that the PAC Room primarily serves as a social space for the Pan-Asian community.

According to Hyunh, the PAC Room can be accessed as long as Robinson Hall is open, which is  24 hours a day, with “no restrictions” in place. 

“It’s kind of hard to balance wanting to keep the space nice and keeping it secure and making sure that stuff there doesn’t get stolen for the people who use it,” Jung added. Moving forward, Jung said the student staff at OPAL is going to try to keep the room in good condition through voluntary weekly cleans. 

Jung said that she was “upset” by the mess found in the PAC Room, particularly due to a lack of other spaces for the Pan-Asian community. 

“This kind of just represents the lack of institutional effort towards serving the Asian American student population,” Jung said. “Even just for that small room, students have been fighting to keep it alive.” 

Previously, in 2018, the College announced that the PAC Room and the Rainbow Room, dedicated to queer students, would be moved to the OPAL Student Resource Center and Triangle House, respectively. Following a petition opposing the decision, signed by 900 individuals, the College announced that both rooms would stay in Robinson Hall, but become open, reservable spaces, according to previous coverage by The Dartmouth.

While certain communities have their own living space — such as the Chinese Language House — the Pan-Asian community, which represents individuals from across the entire Asian continent, only has a Living Learning Community in the form of “a few” rooms in the Mclaughlin cluster, Jung said.  According to Jung, the PAC room is “the only dedicated” physical space for the Pan-Asian community on campus.

She added that the “pipe dream” would be to have a standalone LLC house to provide more spaces specifically for the Pan-Asian community at the College. 

“We don’t have an LLC,” Jung said. “A lot of other identity communities will have a standalone house that they can use to conduct activities and have control over. The PAC room is basically the only space like that dedicated to Asian American students.” 

Lin emphasized the need for more Pan-Asian spaces across campus.

“It’s a 250-square-foot room — that is not going to cover the entire Pan-Asian community on campus,” Lin said.