February 16, 2023
Building on decades of advocacy by members and allies of the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AA&PI) campus communities, I am proud to announce that UC Berkeley is pursuing federal designation to become an Asian American and Native American* Pacific Islander-Serving Institution (AANAPISI). This historic commitment to creating a thriving campus climate that addresses the diverse and complex needs of AA&PI students, faculty, and staff speaks to the heart of responsive, transformative work taking place to support our whole campus community, and I’m so thrilled to share the good news with you.
Pursuing AANAPISI status draws inspiration from and contributes momentum to UC Berkeley’s ongoing efforts to obtain a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) federal designation–as well as our efforts to become an anti-racist campusTo be supportive of Asian American & Pacific Islander campus communities is to be supportive of anti-racism work. And, just like seeking HSI designation is a part of a broader ecosystem advancing us to become a Latinx Thriving Institution, pursuing AANPISI designation will be part of a similar ecosystem advancing us to become an AA&PI Thriving Institution.
I want to extend my gratitude to Eunice Kwon, Director of Asian Pacific American Student Development (APASD) and UC Berkeley’s AANAPISI Designate; and Panos Vagenas, the Deputy Director of the Berkeley Development and Research Office. Together, they have coordinated a tremendous team of campus partners who have helped us arrive at this moment including, among others, Andrew Eppig, Liliana Iglesias, Cristian Elizabeth Almonte, and Carlos Mauricio Gonzalez.
The AANAPISI program is one of eight federally designated Minority Serving Institution programs. Congress established it in 2007 as part of the College Cost Reduction and Access Act, then expanded it in 2008 under the Higher Education Opportunity Act. AANAPISI designation gives institutions the opportunity to apply for grants and related assistance that help them improve and expand their capacity to serve Asian Americans, Native American Pacific Islanders, and low-income individuals. For example, UC Berkeley could use AANAPISI grant dollars to build or renovate instructional facilities, purchase educational materials, or support faculty and staff with professional development opportunities.
Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are two of the fastest-growing populations in the country. Here on campus, AA&PI undergraduate students make up about 40% of the overall student body. As we pursue efforts to build an AA&PI Thriving ecosystem, we embrace our collective and the voices and perspectives we need to co-construct a campus climate that benefits all of us. I’m proud to lead the Division that supports the APASD office and serves as executive sponsor for the Asian American and Pacific Islander Standing Committee. Later this semester, thanks to a deep partnership with the Division of Student Affairs, VCSA Sutton and I will be announcing a new position that will support an emerging AA&PI Thriving Initiative framework, vision, and strategy.
I look forward to sharing updates as we make progress toward becoming a genuinely welcoming and culturally responsive campus for all students, staff, and faculty where we can all thrive.
In community, and with excitement,
Dania Matos, JD
Vice Chancellor for Equity & Inclusion
* The term "Native American Pacific Islander" used by the federal government in this context means any descendant of the aboriginal people of any island in the Pacific Ocean that is a territory or possession of the United States. For more information, see federal definitions here.