Calif. College Professor Placed on Leave After Asking Asian-American Student to 'Anglicize' Her Name
(OAKLAND, California) - A professor at a community college in the San Francisco Bay Area was on leave after asking a Vietnamese-American student to "Anglise" her name because it sounds like meanness in English, school officials confirmed.
Laney College president Tammeil Gilkerson said that once the campus leaders learned of the comments, an unnamed faculty member was put on administrative leave pending an investigation, the East Bay Times reported.
Freshman Phuc Bui Diem Nguyen told KGO-TV last week that on her second day of college at Oakland College, she received an email from trigonometry professor Matthew Hubbard asking her to use a different name.
"On the surface, this incident is obviously troubling and comes after decades of debating and combating structural racism, xenophobia and violence," against the black and Asian-Pacific island community, Gilkerson said.
Hubbard said in an email to The Associated Press that he apologized for his mistakes "and the pain they caused so many". He refused to go into detail.
Approximately 30 percent of the college's more than 16,000 students are Asian-American students.
Nguyen said people would ask how to say her name if they didn't know how she grew up. "He is an ignorant person and doesn't try to find out my name," she said of the professor.
Hubbard wrote emails exchanged between Hubbard and Nguyen and shared on the social media show, saying their name "sounds like an insult in English."
Matthew Hubbard, a professor at Laney College, asks a Vietnamese student to "Anglicize" her name to include it.
00:12 - June 19, 2020
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Nguyen replied that his request "felt discriminatory" and warned the professor that if he refused to give her birth name, she would file a complaint with the school.
Hubbard wrote her back and repeated the request. He said he would change his name if he lived in Vietnam and it was insulting. "I understand that you are offended, but you have to understand that your name is an offensive sound in my language," he wrote.
After Thursday's emails went viral on social media, Hubbard tweeted an apology that read, "I apologize for my insensitive actions that caused my student pain and anger, and for a myriad of people who mean mine Reading, pain and anger caused two inappropriate emails on the Internet. “Since then he has deleted his Twitter account.
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