A University of Cincinnati instructor is reportedly under investigation after calling COVID-19 “the Chinese virus” in an email to a student who told him he’d been potentially exposed and needed to skip a lab session while he quarantined. In response, adjunct instructor John Ucker wrote, “For students testing positive for the chinese virus, I will give no grade. You can read the info I sent to the class re: the torsion test.” The student, Evan Sotzing, said he wasn’t sure if that meant he would receive a zero for missing the session or just wouldn’t be graded on it. Sotzing had explained in the email to Ucker that his girlfriend had tested positive for COVID-19, and while his test came back negative, the school had advised him to quarantine for two weeks. “I think that the school should take disciplinary actions against the professor because (his) actions completely violate the school’s values,” the third-year engineering student told the Cincinnati Enquirer.
UC’s Dean of Engineering and Applied Science John Weidner told the newspaper that he’s “looking into it,” and referred the issue to the Office of Equal Opportunity and Access to review. “These types of xenophobic comments and stigmatizations around location or ethnicity are more than troubling,” Weidner wrote in a statement.