HomeAsian AmericansSyracuse Professor Placed on Leave for Syllabus Calling COVID-19 'Wuhan Flu'

Syracuse Professor Placed on Leave for Syllabus Calling COVID-19 ‘Wuhan Flu’

Syracuse University announced on August 25 that it has placed a professor on leave after the professor published a class syllabus which referred to the coronavirus as “Wuhan flu,” among other uses of xenophobic language, Syracuse.com reports.

Screenshots of the syllabus identified the professor as Jon Zubieta, a distinguished professor in chemistry.

A joint statement by Karin Ruhlandt, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and John Liu, Interim Vice Chancellor and Provost, condemned his language.

“The derogatory language used by a professor on his course syllabus is damaging to the learning environment for our students and offensive to Chinese, international and Asian-Americans everywhere who have experienced hate speech, rhetoric and actions since the pandemic began,” the statement read.

According to Ruhlandt and Liu’s statement, a complaint was filed against the professor, leading to the administrative leave. It entails a ban from teaching at the school and removal from classroom.

They further wrote the incident will be “investigated and addressed” according to procedures in the college’s faculty manual.

In addition to referring the coronavirus as “Wuhan flu” in the syllabus, the professor called the virus a “Chinese Communist Party Virus,” The Daily Orange reports.

Social media posts depicting the syllabus and criticizing the rhetoric circulated on Tuesday.

“Syracuse University unequivocally condemns racism and xenophobia and rejects bigotry, hate and intolerance of any kind,” the university statement read.

Both Syracuse.com and The Daily Orange stated Zubieta did not respond to requests for a comment.

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