The University of Cincinnati has declined to renew a contract for an adjunct professor accused of calling COVID-19 “the Chinese virus” in a September email to a student. John Ucker, who worked in the school’s College of Engineering and Applied Science, made the racist statement in an email to a student who said he would have to miss an in-person lab after a possible exposure to COVID-19. “For students testing positive for the chinese [sic] virus, I will give no grade,” Ucker said in the email that went viral on social media and spurred an investigation by the university. The adjunct professor was put on administrative leave with pay in September. “These types of xenophobic comments and stigmatizations around location or ethnicity are more than troubling. We can better protect and care for all when we speak about COVID-19 with both accuracy and empathy—something we should all strive for,” UC Dean of Engineering and Applied Science John Weidner wrote in a statement at the time.
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