HomeAsian AmericansCalls for Purdue Northwest chancellor's resignation increase

Calls for Purdue Northwest chancellor’s resignation increase

A petition calling for Purdue University Northwest Chancellor Thomas Keon’s resignation is circulating after his racist impression of Asian languages went viral on Twitter.

Keon was filmed mocking Asian languages during the university’s commencement ceremony on Saturday. A previous speaker mentioned a made-up language he used to speak with his family. After his speech,Keon said “Well, all I can say is,” before making several noises.

“That’s sort of my Asian version of his,” Keon said, laughing. 

The video was shared widely and went viral on Tuesday. The chancellor issued an apology on Wednesday saying he was “truly sorry for my unplanned, off-the-cuff response to another speaker.”

A change.org petition calling for Keon’s resignation was created on Wednesday. As of Saturday it had over 3,200 signatures. WFYI reports that the university’s faculty Senate and the Purdue Northwest chapter of the American Association of University Professors released separate statements calling for his resignation on Friday.

The faculty’s frustration comes after the Purdue university Board of Trustees announced that they had accepted Keon’s apology.

“The fact they [the Board of Trustees] accepted the apology is almost as bad as what he said in the first place,” Thomas Roach, chair of the faculty senate told WFYI. “The Asian community has been saying for years that they are being discriminated against, and they’ve also been saying everybody tolerates descrimination against Asian Americans. Here we have this discriminatory remark and the Board of Trustees saying ‘no big deal.’”

Many faculty members were dissatisfied with Keon’s leadership before his racist behavior.

“Last year we wanted him to resign because of poor leadership,” Roach told WFIY. “This year it’s because he’s embarrassed the institution and offended members of our faculty and student body.”

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