Korean Students Prepare for Possible Backlash

By: Tony Tagliavia Email
By: Tony Tagliavia Email

The identification of the Virginia Tech shooter as a Korean-born student prompted the head of one of Michigan State University's Korean student groups to check in with others in his group.

"Just wanting to make sure my members were prepared," said Phillip Chang, a co-president of the Korean Students Association.

Prepared, he says, for possible retaliation from some who would lump the actions of one man with everyone who shares his ethnic identity.

That ethnic identity is shared by many on campus, whether it's American-born Koreans in Chang's group or Korean-born students. They're the largest group of international students on campus.

Joon Hwan Pae heads up a group of 1,300 Korean students. And like his counterpart for Korean-American students, he posted a message for his group in the wake of the shooting.

"If they have trouble, if anyone gets threatened, please let me know," Pae said, describing the posting.

The leaders of both groups tell us they haven't yet heard of any backlash on campus.

"I think it's not going to be a problem," Pae said.

But he says he's heard rumors about threats to Koreans at Virginia Tech after the shooting. And now the South Korean government has expressed concern about a backlash.

Still, Chang says after four years on campus without incident for him, he's not expecting a problem but he wants students prepared for one.

"Some people may feel without thinking, they say something," Chang said.

Both groups are advising members not to respond to a threat -- just to report it.


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  • by J Location: Jackson on Apr 18, 2007 at 02:15 PM
    I just read a article on MSNBC's web site about this guy and it said that he had been in a mental health facility in 2005 cause he might be suicidal well now that should have set off some flags that this dude was not stable and needed to be watched. Someone there did not do there job and he slipped through the cracks and now look what happened. The article also said that he has been accused of stalking two females. Now lets get to the part of guns, I think guns should all be taken away and the only ones who should have they if needed is police and the military. To many things happen when there are guns around like kids getting them and shooting themselves or someone else to people like this guy here and this is the kind of stuff that happens. To many people died there at the college and it may have been able to be prevented. I hope this is a wake up call and that everyone including law makers take a good hard look at this and do something about it instead of looking the other way and waiting for it to just go away.
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