MSU tells students the 'correct term' for 'Chinese Virus'

The public university addressed the disease being called the "Chinese virus."

Michigan State University sent an email to students telling them how to refer to coronavirus.

It said the "correct term" for the virus is "novel coronavirus" and that "no other name is acceptable."

Editor’s note: This story first appeared on The Morning Watch. It has been republished with permission.


In an email sent by Michigan State University on April 2, eight recommendations were given to handle COVID-19. Staff, faculty, and students were encouraged to sign MSU’s “Hate Has No Home Here” pledge.

Sent by Residence Education and Housing Services (REHS), the recommendations will make “this process more manageable for all of us.” The term “novel coronavirus” was stated as the “correct term.” The school asserted that “no other names are acceptable.” 

Listed before the eight recommendations are multiple paragraphs advertising MSU’s “Hate Has No Home Here” statement. Included is a link where students, faculty, and staff can sign the pledge. MSU says that by signing students show “support of an inclusive and hate-free community.”

[RELATED: UC tells students ‘do not’ say ‘Chinese Virus’ and ‘do not allow’ others to say it either]

MSU encourages students to be an “upstander” by standing up to “racist, dog-whistle, ageist, xenophobic, classist or other speech that divides our community.” Further, the MSU community should, “especially stand up against the denigration of anyone in our Asian, Pacific Islander, Desi American (APIDA) community at this time and in the future days... because we are seeing a rise in anti-APIDA racism.”

Cited in this recommendation is the racist incident reporting website “Stop AAPI Hate” for acts against the “APIDA community.” MSU’s email further says “words matter. This disease does not discriminate.”

Other recommendations are listed, including to “share financially,” “be kind and patient with one another,” and “take care of yourself.”

[RELATED: Profs: Trump is ‘racist’ for calling coronavirus the ‘Chinese Virus’]

Previously, The Morning Watch reported on a statement by the Asian Pacific American Student Organization (APASO) of MSU. It cited coronavirus disinformation, unnecessary panic, and “decontextualized videos and memes” as “intolerable acts” leading to discrimination of Asian students at MSU.

Similarly, Lyman Briggs College of MSU released an email saying coronavirus has caused fear and anxiety. Furthermore, “this epidemic may be new, [but] the racist and xenophobic discourse and images on the news and social media are all too familiar.”

MSU’s campus remains open and some students still reside on campus. Classes have been moved online and finals will be in virtual formats. MSU has announced that summer classes will also be online. 

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @Watch_Morning