U.S. university does not renew contract of professor over COVID-19 racist email

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WASHINGTON, March 25 (Xinhua) — The University of Cincinnati (UC) in the U.S. state of Ohio did not renew a contract with a professor who called COVID-19 “the Chinese virus” in an email to a student, local media reported.

University spokesperson M.B. Reilly announced the decision following an investigation into adjunct instructor John Ucker with the College of Engineering and Applied Science, The Cincinnati Enquirer, a newspaper in America’s central city, reported Monday.

The university launched an investigation in September after third-year student Evan Sotzing emailed Ucker that he would not be able to attend an in-person lab because his girlfriend had tested positive for the coronavirus.

“For students testing positive for the chinese (sic) virus, I will give no grade,” Ucker responded.

The conversation went viral after Sotzing posted a screenshot of the email on social media. Ucker had been put on administrative leave through the end of the semester.

On Friday, Reilly told The Cincinnati Enquirer Ucker’s contract as an adjunct was not renewed.

UC President Neville Pinto released a statement in March regarding anti-Asian rhetoric nationwide, saying “Hate and violence against our Asian American communities is rising and reprehensible.”

The use of racist phrases, such as “the Chinese virus,” has led to a dangerous stigma against Asian Americans. Recent research has found that the use of such a phrase by former President Donald Trump sparked an increase in anti-Asian hashtags on Twitter.

From March 19, 2020 to Feb. 28 this year, Asian Americans in the United States reported nearly 3,800 hate-related incidents, according to a report released Tuesday by the Stop Asian American Pacific Islander Hate, a leading aggregator of incidents against Asian Americans. Enditem

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