Free Speech

Syracuse U. Professor Put on Administrative Leave for Referring to "Wuhan Flu" and "Chinese Communist Party Virus"

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

Syracuse.com (Chris Carlson) reports:

Syracuse University has placed a professor on administrative leave, saying they used derogatory and offensive language toward Chinese students on a course syllabus….

The Tab Syracuse, a social media account that covers Syracuse University news, posted a photo of a syllabus that references the coronavirus as both the "Wuhan flu" and "Chinese Communist Party Virus."

Screenshots of the syllabus show that it was for a chemistry class taught by Jon Zubieta, who the school lists as a distinguished professor of chemistry who won the Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Research in 1988.

Here's the Syracuse University statement:

Syracuse University unequivocally condemns racism and xenophobia and rejects bigotry, hate and intolerance of any kind.

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.

As a result, a complaint has been filed against the professor with the Office of Equal Opportunity, Inclusion and Resolution Services. The complaint will be investigated and addressed according to procedures set forth in the Faculty Manual. The professor has been placed on administrative leave from teaching and removed from the classroom pending the outcome of a full investigation.

We will not allow any member of our community to violate the University's commitment to a safe, inclusive and welcoming learning and living environment. Professors are expected to be especially mindful of these goals, as they are the individuals entrusted to cultivate productive, professional and supportive classrooms for our students. Syracuse University is committed to being an anti-racist community and will take swift action to confront bias and hate.

Well, I unequivocally condemn Syracuse University for punishing faculty expression of viewpoints that in context are clearly condemnation of a country and its rulers—China and its Communist Party—and not of an ethnic group. Asian-Americans should certainly not find this to be an attack against them, just like we Russian-Americans shouldn't find criticism of Russia and Putin's ruling elite to be an attack against us.

Chinese students, namely students from China, might be offended by criticism of the Chinese Communist Party, and the implication that China is responsible for the spread of the virus. Tough. You are no more entitled to be shielded from criticism from your country than Americans are to be shielded from criticism of the U.S. in other countries (or for that matter the in the U.S.).

Now one could object to the syllabus on other grounds: Professors, it seems to me, shouldn't use a syllabus as a place for including political spin, especially spin that's unrelated to the subject of the class—whether it's political spin against the Chinese government, or against President Trump, or whatever else. That hasn't generally been seen as a basis for discipline of university faculty members, though it might be a basis for a mild rebuke.

But obviously Syracuse isn't trying to enforce any viewpoint-neutral policy of that sort. They're trying to suppress a particular set of viewpoints—whatever they choose to label "racist," including certain kinds of criticisms of China and the Chinese Communist Party. And of course the very malleability and potential breadth of the term "racist" will deter a wide range of speech that professors might fear might be labeled by critics and the administration that way. I expect that's the goal.

Thanks to Mike LaChance (Legal Insurrection) for the pointer.

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  1. Sorry but no. Those terms are considered racist and the university is right to enforce consequences on him. Expression of viewpoints does not extended to making racist statements on an official course syllabus. The course had noting to do with covid and he put the terms in there just to be a racist. He used university resources to be a racist. The university is now on notice that he is a racist and they would have liability if they ignored this. Also, on another note, hard sciences are generally havens away from politics and culture wars, and the professor violated that.

    1. “Sorry but no. Those terms are considered racist…”

      Lol yeah those racist Taiwanese.

      1. Yeah. Mrs Moore reads the Chinese language HK newspapers online.

        It’s never called anything except the “Wuhan virus.”

        1. Yes, ‘Wuhan virus’ seems pretty straightforward. “Chinese Communist Party virus” seems a little over the top, especially for a chemistry syllabus. But racist? Siding with Prof. V on this one.

    2. 1. But there isn’t anything racist about the terms; indeed, the implication that anyone of Chinese or Asian heritage should be offended by (justified) criticism of the Chinese Communist Party strikes me as the actually racially inflammatory position.

      2. Although the cropping makes it hard to say for sure, it appears that the syllabus contains a section on how the class will adhere to the school’s COVID response protocol, which seems entirely appropriate for inclusion.

      1. Thew CCP is racist in a way that the Nazis never were — the CCP claims the sole governance right over all persons of Chinese ancestry, regardless of nationality. Accordingly, anything that offends the CCP inherently (by its fiat) offends its subjects as well.

        1. I don’t claim to be an expert, but I thought the Nazis were big on the idea of Volk Deutsch – ie if you’re an ethnic German, you’re German, and entitled to Reich citizenship, wherever you grew up.

    3. ‘Considered racist’ by the illiberal mob. The same media who originally tagged it ‘Wuhan’ changed it after the whiny liars from the CCP complained and the media obeyed like good little comrades.

      Calling it the Wuhan virus is NOT racist. Naming a virus after its place of origin has been pretty common throughout history (referring to them by its official medical term is not as catchy).

      Heck, Justinian had a plague named after him!

      1. Ebola is a river in Africa….

        Why is that not racist????

      2. “Calling it the Wuhan virus is NOT racist. Naming a virus after its place of origin has been pretty common throughout history”

        You made an assumption and didn’t document it. You’re assuming that the virus’ place of origin is Wuhan. Actually, the first known victims lived in Wuhan, which is not the same thing.

      3. “Heck, Justinian had a plague named after him!”

        I bet St. Vitus is all up in arms over that!

    4. “racist…racist…racist…racist”

      No, racist would be the Chinese Communist Party persecuting a specific ethnic group.

      racist racist racist racist

      1. Seriously, my understanding is that the Chinese Communist Party is a Han Supremacist organization – at least it looks that way from their treatment of the Uighurs.

        So he insulted a bunch of racists – maybe they deserve it.

      2. The fact that a group does racist things does not change the fact that treating all of them as having the same personality traits based on being the same race is still racist.

    5. A. I never heard of a race called Wuhan or Chinese Communist party. How is it racist unless you are going by the racist is whatever x says it is theory? Maybe you have a preexisting racist connection in your mind associating chinese with disease and thats why you jumped to the conclusion thats what they are doing here.

      B Apparently you don’t browse r/science

      1. /r/science is the same as /r/politics

        The Left politicizes everything and turns it into trash.

        1. “The Left politicizes everything and turns it into trash.”

          Whereas the right politicizes everthing and turns it into treasure.

    6. Great. Let them start firing all their Marxists academics in a similar vein. Every professor who condemns Trump or the US in general.

      We know they won’t. You do too.

      1. You know Marx never said anything bad about Trump, right?

    7. Molly, The Fuhrer would be proud of you.

    8. Just as “racist” as Ebola virus and Legionnaires’ Disease.

    9. “Considered racist” has to be one of the most disingenuous power grabs out there. The terms are either racist (which they obviously are not, as anyone familiar with the Spanish Flu, Lyme disease, Ebola, Zika, or Legionnaire’s would know), or they are not racist but you want them to be “considered” so.

      What you are saying is that good and proper people – whomever they are – do not say these things and therefore, only bad people do. That’s not how it works.

    10. If you’ve become the bad guys in Fahrenheit 451, you need to rethink your life.

      1. These people think Montag was the bad guy.

    11. “Sorry but no. Those terms are considered racist”

      If you consider an accurate description to be “racist”, you are an idiot if not associated with a university or other school, or if you are thus associated, a menace to scholarship and truth who ought to be fired and blackballed. Such positions are antithetical to the free inquiry that is the highest value of universities and other institutions of learning.

      1. An accurate description? Is your Chinese Communist Party virus named because it only infects Chinese Communist Party members?

    12. Those terms are not “considered racist” by anyone with a rational definition of racism. Describing diseases by their geographic origin is commonplace. And criticizing a government is completely disconnected from criticizing a race.

      Okay, I have no idea why a chemistry professor would put his political views on the syllabus but there’s a world of difference between inappropriate politics and racism.

    13. Considered by whom on what grounds, and why should we take them seriously?

      (Also, there is no legal liability for “keeping a racist employed”, even if he is one, which is hard to show, as “considered” shows, by not arguing it at all, just asserting it.)

    14. In what way, exactly, is naming a city and a political party “racist”?

    15. I am unalterably opposed to your opinion that Wuhan Flu or Chinese Communist Party Flu is racist. Where is your thinking? Frankly, I associate the 5-pointed RED STAR of the CCP with the Swastika. Those symbols represent the losses of millions of lives. If your tolerance involves the CCP, you are no different than those cretins in Germany 90 years ago. Shame on you.

  2. Chinese Communist Party Virus is perfect.

    1. If your goal is to deflect any stink of failed handling of the virus by President Trump.

      1. You are one of the hateful ones, with lies and untruths. Tell me. Which is worse? hatred or racism? For shame on you too! From someone well into the ninth decade.

  3. You can’t expect the University to allow their masters to be insulted. Investigate Syracuse U’s funding, I expect you’ll find interesting, and likely illegally unreported, sources.

    1. After watching last night’s convention, I think that Trump’s won — and that places like Syracuse will find themselves being investigated.
      See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=skqTx1IyVS4

      1. “After watching last night’s convention, I think that Trump’s won ”

        What? Propaganda works?

  4. Racist? Perhaps. Reasonable people can disagree.

    Inappropriate use of politically inflammatory language in a situation where it’s not necessary or appropriate? Absolutely.

    Maybe a “mild rebuke” is the right response. Or maybe administrative leave is more appropriate. I’m just glad that I don’t have to make these calls.

    1. I should say appropriate use of politically inflammatory language. If you can’t mildly insult a totalitarian state at a time when they’re conducting a genocide, who can you insult?

    2. Well, if Syracuse’s rationale was that this was “use of politically inflammatory language in a situation where it’s not necessary or appropriate,” and Syracuse was prepared to apply that to all such unnecessary and inappropriate politically inflammatory language, then this would have been a very different blog post.

      1. Wonder if the “unnecessary political inflammatory language” is applied to faculty that probably use it against Trump and conservatives on a daily basis. The virtue signaling crowd can’t let a minute go by where they aren’t referencing something about how Trump is literally Hitler.

        1. The only person I ever see saying “Trump is literally Hitler” is you. Hitler was efficient and effective. He got his whole country behind him. Trump is Trump.

      2. I dont know the composition of the student body at syracuse, but like many universities, I would suspect that large source of the schools revenue is from Chinese students. UTD for example has approx 1/3 of the student body is foreign students, with approx 15-20% chinese.

        Maybe Syracuse is really just trying to keep a professor/employee from pissing off their customer base.

  5. Pish posh! I’m repeatedly told liberal bias does not exist on college campuses just like the riots are peaceful protests!

    It was obvious back when I was in University in this Dominion of Canada, the entire system was left-wing. But, I think, what’s different today is back then the professors were pretty fair when you challenged them. As long as you backed up your argument with facts and didn’t sound like a blathering Corn Pop, they graded accordingly in my experience.

    We even hung out students and faculty. While things could get heated and PC culture was around, it wasn’t as toxic as it is today.

    And you certainly never saw professors fired for their thoughts o opinions. If you can’t express them in a university where can you?

    One professor I had was German. If he were teaching today, I think he’d be cancelled after one class he was so ruthlessly blunt and unapologetic. I loved him.

    1. “Pish posh! I’m repeatedly told liberal bias does not exist on college campuses just like the riots are peaceful protests! ”

      Reality is reality, and your imagination is only vaguely similar. Liberals are well-represented on campus. Because the liberals actually value education.

  6. This is just stupid. Many pandemics or plagues are referred to by the place they originate. Hence “Spanish Flu”….

    No one likes to mention Cuomo likes to use the expression “European Flu” either as a snide aside for those who were calling it “Chinese virus” or because it appears the virus that hit NYC came from Europe. Somehow though the woke crowd never seems to call this out. Wonder why….

    1. Please tell me he didn’t do that.

      1. To be precise, I think Gov. Cuomo has on several occasions referred to it as the “European virus”; you can Google Cuomo “European virus” and see many references.

        1. I think Cuomo got what he deserved last night at the RNC convention….

          1. Why was Cuomo at the RNC convention?

    2. The Spanish Flu originated in Kansas. But please, tell us more.

      1. Please just stop with the historical revisionism. It was widely believed at the time that the pandemic originated in Spain hence its name. Subsequent research has been inconclusive as to whether or not it did start there. But people back in 1918 were under the impression it did hence why it was called the SPANISH FLU.

        1. People were under that impression because the WW1 censors minimized early reports of the disease in non-neutral countries; Spain didn’t have that problem. We know who the first recorded patient was (if not the first actual case), Albert Gitchell. Although epidemiological data has not conclusively proved origin, although I’m not aware of any study suggesting Spain as an origin. If you’re aware of one, please share.

      2. Spain, since it wasn’t involved in WW1, was the first place to allow publication of their heavy flu season. Thus, the term Spanish Flu.
        The Kansas infection is the first confirmed case, but it’s considered likely that the original was brought from China.

        These days, it’s probably best to just call it H1N1 to avoid confusion.

        1. Brought from China by Chinese laborers employed by the US Army.

        2. We CAN’T call it H1N1.
          H1N1 did not require shutting down the entire economy, putting the entire country under house arrest, or the public humiliation of forcing the wearing of “cloth face coverings”.

          1. Can we call it H1HN?

            Cause that dude is a sort of plague on humanity.

    3. The virus that hit NY is still the chinese/wuhan/covid virus even if it traveled through europe before hitting NY.

    4. The Spanish Flu didn’t originate in Spain.

      1. So convince everyone to change the popular name of the Spanish Flu to the Kansas Flu. It still won’t be racist.

        1. I didn’t say it was racist to call it the Spanish Flu, or the Kansas Flu, or the Chinese Communist Party Flu, or the Wuhan Flu.

        2. It’s “the 1918 Flu”.

      2. “The Spanish Flu didn’t originate in Spain.”

        Ok, but it was called the “Spanish Flu” because people thought it came from Spain, not because people were racist against the Spanish, correct?

        1. That’s not my understanding. What I have been told is that it got the name because the public believed Spain was especially hard hit by the disease, since their domestic newspapers spent more time publishing about it (including the famous case of Spain’s king). There were other origin-related names for it (Brazilian Flu, German Flu, Bolshevik disease) but I’m not sure Spanish Flu was widely used because of a belief about the origin of the disease. However, I don’t doubt that there were more than zero people who called it that on the false belief that it originated in Spain.

          In any event, it is not (in my view) racist to refer to a disease in conjunction with where you think it originated, or where it hits particularly hard. I don’t think it’s racist to call it the Wuhan Flu or Wuhan Virus, since that’s the (currently best known) origin. I also don’t think it’s racist to call it the Chinese Communist Party Virus. And if people took to calling it the United States Flu (since we’ve been hit unusually hard by the disease), that wouldn’t be racist, either.

          1. ” And if people took to calling it the United States Flu (since we’ve been hit unusually hard by the disease), that wouldn’t be racist, either.”

            Der Trumpfenflu it is, then!

  7. Petty university jerks complain about professor jerk. Interest level … waning.

    At least the professor isn’t engaged in blatant dishonesty. Chinese Communist Party isn’t a race. Wuhan isn’t a race. The professor should be on the lookout for anyone claiming he made racist statements and sue for defamation.

    1. Can he due Cornell for libel?

      1. Pretty sure anyone can at least try to sue anyone for anything. Not sure what Cornell has to do with this though.

        1. I meant Syracuse….

    2. “The professor should be on the lookout for anyone claiming he made racist statements and sue for defamation.”

      Sure, just because he won’t win those suits is no reason not to file them.

  8. “Asian-Americans should certainly not find this to be an attack against them, just like we Russian-Americans shouldn’t find criticism of Russia and Putin’s ruling elite to be an attack against us.”

    This is a poor analogy. Russian immigrants become just Americans more easily than Chinese immigrants. How many Americans would recognize that Eugene Volokh, by name or appearance, must certainly be Russian? Would they attack someone they decided was Russian if the pandemic had started in Russia (or during the cold war, or because of Russian election interference, or Russian bounties on Americans)? Asian Americans remain “other” much more persistently, and names for COVID-19 that emphasize its origin in China have led to attacks on Asian Americans. Throwing a political criticism in as cover isn’t much of a fig leaf over the racism.

    1. If the professor wanted to be racist, wouldn’t he have used Trump’s term “Chinese virus”? “Chinese” is a race/ethnicity, and Trump saying “Chinese virus” sounds unmistakably like him saying ethnic Chinese in the U.S. are a virus, given his overall anti-immigrant rhetoric.

      1. Could you check your browser settings? It appears not to have displayed the last sentence of my post.

      2. “Trump saying “Chinese virus” sounds unmistakably like him saying ethnic Chinese in the U.S. are a virus”

        If you’re an absolute moron, sure.

        1. No, Trump counts on the undivided loyalty of the absolute moron comunity.

    2. I think Prof. Volokh would take offense at being called “Russian” — The Ukraine suffered greatly under Stalin…

      And I have never met an “Asian” — nor have you. These are peoples with racial hatreds dating back thousands of years, only the American bureaucrat identifies them collectively.

      1. “I think Prof. Volokh would take offense at being called “Russian” — The Ukraine suffered greatly under Stalin”

        No need to go back to ol’ Joe. Ukraine suffers in the time of Putin.

    3. “names for COVID-19 that emphasize its origin in China have led to attacks on Asian Americans.”

      I’d love to see the evidence for this assertion. Origin-emphasizing names must have some kind of mystical hypnotic power.

      1. “I’d love to see the evidence for this assertion. Origin-emphasizing names must have some kind of mystical hypnotic power.”

        Idiots are idiots, and do, in fact, act idiotically.
        Reliably.

  9. From the office of the Dean: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again -The Beatles must be canceled!

    “If you go carrying pictures of chairman Mao, you ain’t gonna make it with anyone anyhow”

    Racist and insensitive statements like that above will not be tolerated for another 50 years. And just HTF did they know what was in my wallet?

    1. “And don’t even get me started on ‘Back in the USSR!'”

      1. Happiness is a Warm Gun.

    2. “I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again -The Beatles must be canceled!”

      They took a stab at it after Lennon noted that the Beatles were more popular than Jesus. Objectively true: The Beatles had 19 Billboard #1 singles, and Jesus has never even charted.

  10. OK, it seems Syracuse is a private university, so there’s no First Amendment problem.

    But observe:

    “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.

    “As a result, a complaint has been filed against the professor with the Office of Equal Opportunity, Inclusion and Resolution Services. The complaint will be investigated and addressed according to procedures set forth in the Faculty Manual.”

    So is the issuer of this statement like a prosecutor announcing a case he just filed, leaving it to the court (or the OEOIRS) to make a final decision?

    Or is it like, “OK, he’s guilty, now let’s have a trial and decide how to punish him”?

  11. The universities actions here are highly inappropriate.

    I would add that there the claim that criticizing the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is racist is actually itself racist, as it unjustifiably presumes that all Chinese people identify with the CCP, and thus would take criticism of the CCP as a racial insult.

    So, if anyone is going to be forced to take an involuntary leave of absence, shouldn’t it be the racist university administrators who presumed that all Chinese people would take offense at criticism aimed at squarely at the CCP?

    If anyone asserts that I am being speculative in accusing the university administrators of racism, my defense is that I am only applying the same standards to them as they are clearly applying to the professor.

    1. “If you don’t vote communist in our one-party elections, you ain’t Chinese!”

  12. Truth hurts = Wuhan Flu, or CCP virus

    There is nothing remotely racist about it. That line in the syllabus is guilty of pissing off uber-libs, and nothing more than that.

  13. It’s an interesting question whether calling someone racist is a statement of fact or a statement of opinion for purposes of libel.

    1. Facially and historically, it would be opinion, and so incapable of being libel.

      In the current environment, where “punch Nazis” often turns into vigilantism against anyone who doesn’t change the right slogans or raise their fists on demand, calling someone a racist verges on being either fighting words or incitement to imminent criminal activity.

      1. If it is susceptible to libel claims, he could potentially respond by demanding a retraction of the announcement with an apology and threatening to sue if it isn’t done immediately.

        As a private university, no law other than their own contracts prevents them from firing a professor for any reason they want, including for saying things that offend the Chinese government and its supporters. But they can’t libel him by accusing him of something he hasn’t done.

        1. Actually, no — if accreditation worked like it is supposed to, they’d have to justify it or lose their Federal funding.

    2. “It’s an interesting question whether calling someone racist is a statement of fact or a statement of opinion for purposes of libel.”

      It’s fairly straightforward. Whether or not someone is racist is an opinion, and therefore not libel unless it’s phrased as an opinion based on undisclosed fact.

      In any case, like any defamation case, truth would be a complete defense.

  14. This is all about money.

    If Syracuse is like other American universities, then a significant part of its budget comes from the full tuitions of Chinese students, which, in the current budgetary crises, universities cannot afford to alienate.

    Academic freedom is a nice concept, but, like all ideals, it flies out of the window under financial (or pretty much any other type of) stress.

    1. When they respond to those payments by seeking to suppress criticism of the foreign country making the payments, haven’t they become an unregistered (and therefore illegal) agent of that country?

      1. That seems to be the position the federal government is taking in court, in multiple cases.

      2. My guess is that you’ll have a hard time proving it in court. One things that college administrators are good at is CYA.

      3. When they respond to those payments by seeking to suppress criticism of the foreign country making the payments, haven’t they become an unregistered (and therefore illegal) agent of that country?

        No. This has been yet another episode of Simple Answers to Stupid Questions.

  15. So, what are we going to rename Lyme Disease?
    Don’t want to offend those rich white folks from Lyme, Connecticut.

  16. “especially spin that’s unrelated to the subject of the class”

    True, the spin is unrelated to the subject of the class. But it is very much related to the administration of the class, to the procedures that the class members must follow.

  17. Bingo!

    “Chancellor Kent Syverud and members of Syracuse University’s leadership team recently traveled to China as part of the University’s efforts to build strong partnerships with China’s top universities in the areas of faculty and graduate collaboration and research.

    Those efforts are also aimed at attracting top students and enhancing Syracuse University’s profile in China as part of the internationalization efforts identified in the Academic Strategic Plan.”

    Syracuse U is indeed in bed with the Chicoms.

    1. SSounds to me like grounds to shut off all US aid to Syracuse.

      1. Time to defund higher education.

        1. That actually could happen.

      1. Indict, try, and jail the administrators for failing to register as paid foreign agents.

        1. Can we indict and jail them first….then try them and find them guilty. 🙂

          1. Not in this country. Not even in Trump’s America.

            1. Jail first, trial later happens all the time to people of lesser importance.

    2. “Syracuse U is indeed in bed with the Chicoms.”

      so are a lot of other American businesses…

  18. I think punishing the professor would be inconsistent with academic freedom, but the college can control the content of syllabi and keep charged comments like that out of them.

    1. True. Its a private business that regulate at work speech routinely. My boss could tell me to not use those terms in a work context, why can’t this business?

        1. Nope, not academic freedom. there’s an arguable first amendment reason (the first amendment doesn’t cover libel, but libel only applies to individuals, not whole nationalities.)

  19. American liberals will let you hate on America and the American government all you want and will celebrate it. But how dare you insult a communist. That’s crossing the red line.

    1. How dare you insult our customers. There’s a long, proud tradition of capitalists imposing restrictions on employees that forbid slandering the customers. Noted anti-communist Walt Disney had lots and lots of restrictions on the workers in his theme park.

  20. If any member of the committee investigating this professor has ever written a paper or an email referring to Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, etc., I would demand to have that committee member removed and placed on administrative leave on similar grounds of racism. Perhaps there is a professor in the university with the misfortune of having studied one or more of these things.

    Members of the Conspiracy might want to do an investigation to see if this has occurred.

    1. “If any member of the committee investigating this professor has ever written a paper or an email referring to Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, etc., I would demand to have that committee member removed and placed on administrative leave on similar grounds of racism.”

      Lyme disease gets its name from the name of the person who identified it, as is commonly true. It isn’t referring to English people. And, of course, Rocky Mountain isn’t a race, so it isn’t racist to refer to RMSF by that name. Other than these missteps, your analysis is awesome!

  21. Also, if it can be shown that the University disciplines professors for statements that identify diseases by reffeding to oplaces and ethnic groups it favors, but never disciplines professors for statements that identify diseases by referring places and ethnic groups it doesn’t favor (Lyme disease, Ebola, Spanish flu, etc. etc.), could it be subject to a Title IX discrimination claim? Would it be different from a university that disciplined professors for insulting white people (on grounds of racism) but never disciplined them for insulting black people?

  22. I toy with the idea of getting a custom-made mask which would have an image of Boris Karloff in costume, and the legend “The Mask of Flu Manchu”.

  23. This is a state university, right? So the 1st Amendment applies via the 14th Amendment and the university’s action is unconstitutional.
    What about the poor students? They are going to have chaos in the classroom if they lose their professor at this stage. What do you do? Move them to another section of the same class taught by another professor (if there is one)? Or do you just cancel the class and mess over the students who now have a hole in their schedules.
    I have an idea? Why not just cancel the entire semester for the entire university! Of course, no refund for the tuition already paid. That will show those nasty professors who the boss is…and it will be profitable for the university.

      1. Willing to bet that they take federal funding thru research grants and federal aid. Ask the Citadel how much power that gives the Feds over you.

    1. ” Why not just cancel the entire semester for the entire university! Of course, no refund for the tuition already paid.”

      How will that affect the football program?!?

  24. “Syracuse University has placed a professor on administrative leave, saying they used derogatory and offensive language toward Chinese students on a course syllabus”

    So did Syracuse University contact said professor to see if that professor choses to be described by a non-gender-specific pronoun? Or are they violating that professor’s right to chose gender identity?

    1. Oops. That’s a reporter’s gaffe.

  25. Maybe another less ideological university will make an offer to Distinguished Professor of Chemistry, Jon Zubieta. I wish him good luck.

  26. Among Prof. Zubieta’s honors.

    Woodrow Wilson Fellow, 1966

    So, obviously racist.

  27. ” I unequivocally condemn Syracuse University for punishing faculty expression of viewpoints that in context are clearly condemnation of a country and its rulers—China and its Communist Party—and not of an ethnic group.”

    How do you deduce (clearly) that when the prof uses he word “Chinese” he means the government of China and not the people? More challengingly, how do you get that from “Wuhan”?

  28. Very interesting discussion, but everyone’s missing the real point. Sure, it’s “racist” to blame China, where the virus was born/created, and from which it spread, but the BIG PROBLEM is that these folks want to blame someone else for it. Can you imagine ANY prof in ANY US University getting into trouble for calling the disease “Trump Flu”?

    1. ” Can you imagine ANY prof in ANY US University getting into trouble for calling the disease “Trump Flu”?”

      Well, the CDC has been adjusting it’s suggestions for testing because Trump doesn’t like testing to discover additional cases of a disease he decided to ignore.
      So, yeah, I can see political complaints about calling the Trump Flu “Trump Flu”. Perhaps in state universities located in so-called “Red States”.

  29. The VOLOKH CONSPIRACY
    has operated for
    TWO (2) DAYS
    without using a vile racial slur
    and for
    491 DAYS
    without imposing
    partisan censorship.

    (Syracuse University might wish to consider the documented record of repeated, viewpoint-driven censorship at the Volokh Conspiracy before accepting certain pointers.)

  30. Can Syracuse University survive? It’s never been very good, and if they suspend what scholars they do have on their faculty, they’ll have no faculty who are good enough to get grants, and they’ll have trouble getting undergrads to go to a joke pretending to be a university.

    1. Depends on whether the college sports seasons ever relaunch.

  31. Google News Archive contains the Herald-Journal report of German Ambassador Dieckhoff bent out of shape over former U.S. Ambassador William Dodd’s hurtful comments on Hitler having his enemies rounded up and shot. As a private citizen, Dodd could say anything he pleased. The story ran on 15JAN1938. An American comedian is said to have been arrested by National Socialists for a quip that most dictators jail their enemies; but Hitler jails his friends!

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