Syracuse puts prof who used 'Wuhan flu' in syllabus on leave
- Syracuse University placed a professor on administrative leave after his course syllabus reportedly used the phrase "Wuhan flu."
- The university made the announcement in a statement, in which it also condemned "racism" and "xenophobia."
Syracuse University has placed a professor on administrative leave after he referred to COVID 19 as “the Wuhan Flu” and the “Chinese Communist Party Virus” in his course syllabus. A complaint against the professor is now being investigated under the university’s Office of Equal Opportunity, Inclusion, and Resolution Services.
The announcement came on the same day that student-run social media accounts posted screenshots of a course syllabus that was reportedly distributed to students by Distinguished Professor of Chemistry Jon Zubieta. According to those accounts, Zubieta distributed the syllabi to students in his course titled, “Inorganic Chemistry." In the syllabus, Zubieta included a section titled "Special Notices Related to the COVID19 Pandemic" where he also referred to the virus as the “Wuhan Flu” and “Chinese Communist Party Virus."
In an email to students and an official announcement posted to the university's website on Tuesday, the university condemned the professor's “derogatory language” as “damaging” to the student learning environment and “offensive to Chinese, international and Asian-Americans everywhere who have experienced hate speech, rhetoric and actions since the pandemic began.”
The university said that it has “removed” the professor from the classroom and placed him on administrative leave“pending the outcome of a full investigation.”
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The university asserted its commitment to being an “anti-racist” community, promising to take “swift action to confront bias and hate.”
“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. Professors are expected to be especially mindful of these goals, as they are the individuals entrusted to cultivate productive, professional and supportive classrooms for our students.”
Students took to social media platforms to condemn the professor, sharing Zubieta's information as it appeared on the syllabus.
Campus Reform reached out to Syracuse University but officials declined to comment further.
Campus Reform also reached out to Zubieta but did not receive a response in time for publication.
The Tab published anonymous replies to the syllabus from users calling for the professor to be fired.
"Fire him immediately what the actual f**k. blatantly racist and willfully ignorant," one person wrote.
"Fire their racist ass. We don't have time for that sh*t," another said.
"Ignorant and xenophobic. No place for that here," yet another asserted, while one more person said "calling it the 'Wuhan flu' is insensitive."
Earlier Tuesday, Campus Reform reported on a University of Missouri professor who was "assigned to other duties" after he directed a Wuhan joke toward a student in the online class who lives in Wuhan, China, where the coronavirus pandemic originated.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @Justine_Brooke