The professor at a California community college was placed on administrative leave after asking a Vietnamese American freshman to “translate his name into English” because it sounds like “insults in English”.
Matthew Hubbard, a math professor at Laney College in Oakland, asked Phuc Bui Diem Nguyen to change his name by email on the second day of his online class Obtained by CNN.
Saying she did not ask the network how to pronounce the professor of trigonometry, Nguyen reported that her request felt “discriminatory” and warned that she had filed a X-Head complaint if she did not use the given name.
However, he said that pronouncing the English name sounds like “F— Boy”.
According to CNN, Hubbard added, “If I lived in Vietnam and my name in my language sounds like Eat a D—, I would change it to avoid embarrassment.”
Nguyen, who previously wanted to be called with the nickname “May”, was looking forward to starting classes and using his legal name, ABC7 News reported.
When Hubbard called him “Anglicize,” he didn’t know what the term meant.
“I’ve never heard of this before. I was surprised at that moment, so I researched the meaning – I didn’t know what it meant, so I called my best friend to ask what it meant? Nguyen said to the station, adding that Hubbard later called him “P-Nguyen” in a Zoom class.
“I grew up because I grew up, they had problems with how to pronounce my name, but they were going to ask me how to pronounce my name,” he said.
In a statement, college President Tammeil Gilkerson said: “We are aware of the claims of racist and xenophobic messages regarding the pronunciation of a student’s name from a lecturer at our university. We take these allegations seriously and immediately placed the academic member on administrative leave pending an investigation. “
Hubbard, who has been teaching at the university for 15 years, Told the New York Times There were two people in his class whose surname was Nguyen.
He told the newspaper that he sent his first email, partly to avoid confusion with the other student, and partly because he was uncomfortable using Nguyen’s name.
Hubbard eventually asked all of his students to change their Zoom names to their last names and first names, adding to Nguyen that his first email was a mistake and making him think about another student who wanted to Anglicize.
“But there is a big difference when someone volunteers to do it and asks someone to do it. The second email is very disturbing and if I had waited eight hours, I would write something very different. ”
Peralta Teacher Federation, representing the Laney staff, said it hopes to provide diversity training soon.
“I am shocked and very afraid of the racist comments we see online from a Laney faculty member,” Union President Jennifer Shanoski said in a statement. “These comments and claims are in no way acceptable in our diverse, warm and educational environment.”
Nguyen said Hubbard had the authority not to change his name at the insistence.
“I decided to fully adopt this and let everyone know that they should be proud of their name,” CNN said.
Her sister, Quynh, said Hubbard had given her a two-sentence apology, which she thought was insincere.
“He was not responsible for his actions,” Quynh Nguyen told CNN. “I was very shocked and very disappointed in his ignorance and at school.”