Frank H. Wu
|Born||August 20, 1967|
Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.
|Occupation||Law professor, author, academic administrator|
|Education||B.A., Johns Hopkins University|
J.D., University of Michigan
|Spouse||Carol L. Izumi|
Frank H. Wu (Chinese: /; pinyin: ) is a law professor and author. He currently serves as a Distinguished Professor at UC Hastings. He previously served as Chancellor & Dean, receiving unanimous and early renewal for a second term. In November 2015, he announced he would return to teaching. In 2013, the National Jurist ranked Wu as the most influential dean in legal education and the third in the nation among legal educators and advocates influencing the ongoing debate about legal education. He was the first Asian American professor to teach at Howard Law School, as well as the first Asian American to serve as dean of Wayne State University Law School in Detroit, Michigan. Wu is the author of Yellow: Race in America Beyond Black and White, which was immediately re-printed in hardcover. Arguing for a new paradigm of civil rights that goes beyond a black-white paradigm, while also addressing subtle forms of racial discrimination, the book has become canonical in Asian American Studies and is widely used in classes on the subject. Yellow appears in both the film Americanese, an adaptation of American Knees by Shawn Wong, and the book Secret Identities: The Asian American Superhero Anthology. Wu himself has appeared as a character in Asian America: The Movement and the Moment.
In addition, Wu received the largest grant issued by the federal Civil Liberties and Public Education Fund, to co-author Race, Rights and Reparation: Law and the Japanese Internment, now the leading textbook on Asian Americans and the law. He has contributed to Fanfare Magazine, reviews for ATPM.com (About This Particular Macintosh), and regularly publishes in various law reviews, newspapers, and online journals. He maintains a blog with the Huffington Post and writes as part of the LinkedIn Influencers program. He has published an op-ed article "Why Vincent Chin Matters" in the New York Times  and is currently writing a follow-up book to Yellow about the Vincent Chin case. Wu has appeared in Investigation Discovery's televised documentary program "Fatal Encounters" discussing the events and background of the Vincent Chin case.
The son of Chinese immigrants from Taiwan to the United States, Wu was born in Cleveland, Ohio, on August 20, 1967. In his youth, Wu's parents moved to Detroit, Michigan, where his father worked as an engineer at Ford Motor Company. In his book Yellow and other writings, Wu claims that his childhood experience of being the only Asian American among his classmates and the schoolyard taunting he endured as a result of his race alerted him to racial inequalities at an early age. He further describes how his attempts to assimilate and reject what was "Asian" only seemed to reinforce his marked difference to his peers.
When Wu was a teenager, a Chinese American man, Vincent Chin, was killed by two white autoworkers in Highland Park, Michigan. The multiple criminal and civil cases that ensued throughout the 1980s have been recognized as birthing the Asian American victims and Asian American movement, and were marked as the 34th Michigan Legal Milestone in 2009. It was the Vincent Chin case that inspired Wu to pursue an active role in civil rights advocacy and the law.
Wu served as chancellor and dean of the University of California, Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco from July 2010 through December 2015. In 2012, Wu gained national publicity for rebooting legal education, by announcing that his school would be voluntarily reducing its enrollment by 20 percent over the next three years.
Wu was formerly a law professor at Howard University, resuming a role he held from 1995 to 2004, and visiting professor at Johns Hopkins University, where he taught Asian Americans and the Law. He also was a CV Starr Foundation Visiting Professor at the School of Transnational Law at Peking University, in its English language JD program, in summer of 2009. He has previously taught at Stanford, Michigan, Columbia, Maryland, George Washington University, and Deep Springs College.
From 2004-2008, Wu served as the ninth dean of Wayne State University Law School in Detroit, Michigan, succeeding the law school's first female dean, Joan Mahoney (1998-2003). Along with Harold Hongju Koh of Yale Law School and Jim Chen of the University of Louisville School of Law, Wu was one of only three Asian American law school deans in the United States. In April 2007, Wu announced he would resign as dean in May 2008, a year before his appointment was to end, citing his wife's health problems as the leading cause of his resignation. In 2008, he was one of two recipients of the Asian Pacific Fund Chang-Lin Tien Award, given for leadership in higher education. Named for the first Asian American to head a major research university, the award comes with a $10,000 honorarium. He also has received the Trailblazer Award from the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association.
Wu earned his bachelor's degree from Johns Hopkins University in 1988 and his law degree from the University of Michigan Law School in 1991. In 2006, he completed the Management Development Program at Harvard University Graduate School of Education. Prior to his academic career, Wu held a clerkship with the late U.S. District Judge Frank J. Battisti in Cleveland, Ohio. He then joined the law firm of Morrison & Foerster in San Francisco, concentrating on complex litigation and devoting a quarter of his time to the representation of indigent individuals.
Wu accepted the trustees of Deep Springs' invitation to serve as a member of the college's governing board; he later was academic affairs chair and vice-chair. Wu previously served as a trustee of Gallaudet University, the school for the deaf and hard-of-hearing, from 2000-2010. As a board member, Wu emphasized the significance of shared governance, asserting that decision-making authority at a university leads by serving its many stakeholders, the most important of which are the students. He became vice-chair of that board following the protests over the appointment of Provost Jane Fernandes as president, in 2006.
Wu is a board member of the Leadership Conference for Civil Rights Education Fund, and chairman of the Committee of 100 (United States), the non-profit group of Chinese Americans seeking to promote better US-China relations and the active participation of Chinese Americans in public life, and has chaired its many research projects. He was the Project Advisor for the Detroit Historical Museum exhibit on Chinatown, which opened in spring 2009.
Wu is a commissioner of the Military Leadership Diversity Commission, an organization created to find ways to eliminate any barriers to advancement of minority Service members. Wu is also one of the 18 current members of the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity, an organization that advises the Secretary of Education on matters related to postsecondary or higher education accreditation and the eligibility and certification process for higher education institutions to participate in the Federal student aid programs.
In 2008, Wu testified before the Detroit City Council regarding governmental reforms following the controversy regarding Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick. He also has testified before the United States Congress and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and he appeared as an expert witness on behalf of students who intervened in the historic University of Michigan affirmative action case.
Wu frequently appears in the media and on the college lecture circuit. He has debated Dinesh D'Souza and Ward Connerly, among others, on affirmative action and has appeared on both the O'Reilly Factor and Oprah discussing the same. Wu is represented by the American Program Bureau.
In 2017, Wu wrote an article "A Private Note To Asian-American Activists About New Arrivals" in Huffington Post that went viral. Although the essay argued it was important for Asian Americans to "build bridges" to new Chinese immigrants both for principled reasons of inclusion and pragmatic reasons of demographic change, it was interpreted negatively. The Chinese language internet reacted negatively to what they perceived as criticism.  Wu then published a follow-up article "A Public Letter To New Chinese Immigrants", saying "I have learned a profound lesson. I will never forget it."