Prof under investigation for calling COVID-19 the 'Chinese Virus'

  • An Ohio professor is under investigation after using the phrase "Chinese Virus."
  • The school's dean called the professor's language "xenophobic."

University of Cincinnati Professor John Ucker has garnered negative attention on social media after one of his students posted a screenshot of an email that was allegedly sent by Ucker. The university required Sotzing to quarantine for fourteen days after his girlfriend had tested positive for COVID-19, even though his test came back negative.

During the time that Evan Sotzing would have to be quarantined, he wouldn’t be able to attend an in-person lab for a class that Ucker teaches. Sotzing emailed Ucker explaining the situation and his inability to attend the scheduled lab, to which Ucker didn’t respond until after the in-person lab had already occurred. Sotzing then tweeted a picture of Ucker’s response, which has now gone viral.

"These types of xenophobic comments and stigmatizations around location or ethnicity are more than troubling."   

“My girlfriend tested positive for COVID and the University of Cincinnati's Health Department instructed me to not attend my in-person lab. Not only did my professor give me a zero for not going, but this was his response," Sotzing tweeted. According to Sotzing's screenshot, Ucker's email stated, “For students testing positive for the Chinese virus, I will give no grade. You can read the info I sent to the class re: the torsion test."

[RELATED: Syracuse puts prof who used 'Wuhan flu' in syllabus on leave]



 



Sotzing commented on the incident stating, “I don't want to infect anyone else, if I do have it, but I also don't want to fail school.” 

Sotzing has since stated that he wants an apology from Ucker not for giving him a zero on the assignment but for calling COVID-19 the “Chinese virus.” The student says that it was “xenophobic” and “racist” for Ucker to use the term, “Chinese virus.”

Dean of Engineering and Applied Science John Weidner said the school is now “looking into” the incident of Ucker saying “Chinese virus."

Weidner stated, "These types of xenophobic comments and stigmatizations around location or ethnicity are more than troubling. We can better protect and care for all when we speak about COVID-19 with both accuracy and empathy – something we should all strive for.”

The investigation has since been turned over to the Office of Equal Opportunity and Access.

Requests for comment have been sent to Stozing, Ucker, Weidner, the Office of Equal Opportunity and Access, and UC. 

Campus Reform has not received any responses.



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Haley Worth
Haley Worth | Minnesota Campus Correspondent

Haley Worth is a Minnesota Campus Correspondent with Campus Reform. She is a junior at Saint Cloud State University, majoring in Political Science. On campus, Haley was the President of the Turning Point USA chapter. She was also the Grassroots Youth Director of Matt Gurtler’s Congressional Campaign for the primary runoff election in Georgia. Haley is a Fall 2020 Campus Reform intern.

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