Syracuse University placed a professor on administrative leave Tuesday after students complained his class syllabus included alternative names for COVID-19.
Professor Zubieta is a “distinguished professor” at Syracuse University in the College of Arts and Sciences. Like many professors, Zubieta included a section in his syllabus titled “Special Notices Related to the COVID-19 Pandemic” where he also included alternative names to the virus, calling it the “Wuhan Flu or Chinese Communist Party Virus.”
Social media posts of the syllabus began circling Tuesday and included a call to report the professor to the Office of Diversity and Inclusion within Syracuse University.
University officials Karin Ruhlandt and John Liu released a statement confirming a complaint was filed against Zubieta, and denouncing his syllabus as “derogatory language.”
“Syracuse University unequivocally condemns racism and xenophobia and rejects bigotry, hate and intolerance of any kind,” the statement reads. “The derogatory language used by a professor on his course syllabus is damaging to the learning environment for our students and offensive to Chinese, international and Asian-Americans everywhere who have experienced hate speech, rhetoric and actions since the pandemic began.”
University officials said Zubieta “has been placed on administrative leave from teaching and removed from the classroom pending the outcome of a full investigation.”
— Syracuse University (@SyracuseU) August 25, 2020
Zubieta did not immediately respond to The Federalist’s request for comment.
The naming of a new disease after a population or the site of its first major outbreak is a common practice, such as West Nile Virus, Lyme Disease, German Measles, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and many other examples.