UC places instructor who called COVID-19 ‘the Chinese virus’ on administrative leave

‘These types of xenophobic comments and stigmatizations around location or ethnicity are more than troubling’

UC places instructor who called COVID-19 ‘the Chinese virus’ on administrative leave
University of Cincinnati (Source: Courtesty of UC Creative + Brand)

CINCINNATI (FOX19) - The University of Cincinnati has placed an adjunct instructor who wrote an email to a student calling coronavirus “the Chinese virus" on administrative leave.

John Ucker wrote the email on Sept. 8 to Evan Sotzing when he missed a lab because he was instructed by UC’s Health Department to quarantine as a precaution when his girlfriend got coronavirus.

Sotzing called him out about it in a social media post that has gone viral and resulted in UC’s investigation.

Ucker has been placed on administrative leave with pay pending the outcome of a review from UC’s Office of Equal Opportunity and Access, according to university spokeswoman M. B. Reilly.

“We immediately looked into this matter on behalf of the student to ensure that our Return to Campus guidelines were followed,” said John Weidner, Dean of UC’s College of Engineering and Applied Science.

"The adjunct instructor involved has a routine policy of allowing any student to forego one of the lab tests so that grade will not be recorded. Academic accommodations are necessary to safeguard the health and safety of our students, and faculty are encouraged to be flexible with attendance policies and other aspects supporting academic progress – particularly for students in isolation and quarantine.

“I have also referred this matter for review to our Office of Equal Opportunity and Access. 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.”

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