Syracuse University put a professor on administrative leave for derogatory racist language used in a course syllabus.
The announcement came after a course syllabus that referred to the coronavirus as "Wuhan Flu" and "Chinese Communist Party Virus" was widely circulated via social media, according to the campus newspaper.
On numerous occasions, experts on Asian American culture have pointed out that referring to coronavirus with terms that target the Asian American population, such as "the Chinese Virus," could perpetuate harassment and stigmatization.
A professor at Syracuse University was put on administrative leave for using derogatory racist language in a course syllabus, the school announced.
The announcement came after social media posts that said a course syllabus referred to the novel coronavirus as "Wuhan Flu" and "Chinese Communist Party Virus," according to the campus newspaper.
The University declared the incident as "damaging to the learning environment for our students and offensive to Chinese, international and Asian-Americans everywhere who have experienced hate speech, rhetoric and actions since the pandemic began."
"We will not allow any member of our community to violate the University's commitment to a safe, inclusive and welcoming learning and living environment," read the statement, which said an official complaint has been filed.
—zoe 🍥 (@zoeselesi) August 25, 2020
The student newspaper reported that the course syllabus came from Jon Zubieta, a distinguished professor of chemistry at Syracuse. Zubieta is on administrative leave, according to the university website. Insider reached out to Zubieta for comment and received an automatic reply that he was on administrative leave. He has not responded to additional requests for comment.
Zero Lin, who is an international student from China and currently a senior at Syracuse, told Insider that although he is not enrolled in the course, he found the incident "definitely depressing."
"We've been hearing the Trump administration call COVID-19 as China virus," Lin added, referencing Trump using terms like "Kung Flu" and "Chinese virus" when talking about coronavirus.
The president's "language normalizes the racist association between Asian bodies and disease, and emboldens violence against Asian Americans," Michelle N. Huang, an assistant professor of English and Asian American studies at Northwestern University, previously told Insider.
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