Both regional and national Asian American groups are calling for the firing of Purdue Northwest Chancellor Thomas Keon.
Keon sparked a firestorm when he mocked an Asian language with an offensive accent during a recent graduation ceremony. The University’s Board of Trustees reprimanded him, but continues to back him.
“So, they had to take some action. However, they really did almost sweep it under the rug. I would say this is not really a resolution,” Rupal Thanawala, president of the Asian American Alliance, told WISH-TV.
Asian American groups fear the consequence of Keon’s action goes beyond his comments.
“Anti-Asian racism can take a lot of different forms, and, as I said last time and I’ll say it again, it can take the form of a vicious act of violence — a hate crime — but they can also take these casual forms of racism,” said Melissa Borja, co-chair of the National Asian Pacific Islander Women’s Forum of Indiana.
In separate statements, numerous Asian American groups have also called for Keon’s firing.
“If we cannot rely upon an honorable institution such as the Purdue University system to say no to such racist acts, those acts will remain acceptable with the tacit endorsement of the university,” said the Japanese American Citizens League in a statement sent to AsAmNews. “A denouncement of Chancellor Keon by the trustees while allowing him to remain in his position is unacceptable.”
“This type of behavior only contributes to the vicious cycle of hatred, bigotry and violence directed at Chinese Americans and the AAPI community,” added the Committee of 100, an organization of Chinese American leaders.
The Japanese American National Museum called on Keon to resign.
“Bigotry and prejudice have no place in public life and especially not in centers of learning. We add our voice to calls for his immediate resignation,” said Ann Burroughs, President and CEO.
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