/Business USC Professor Placed on Leave after Black Students Complained His Pronunciation of a Chinese Word Affected Their Mental Health
Business USC Professor Placed on Leave after Black Students Complained His Pronunciation of a Chinese Word Affected Their Mental Health

Business USC Professor Placed on Leave after Black Students Complained His Pronunciation of a Chinese Word Affected Their Mental Health


College of Southern California campus in Los Angeles. (Jupiterimages/PHOTOS.com/Getty Images Plus)

The College of Southern California has placed a communications professor on leave after a group of black MBA candidates threatened to tumble his class as opposed to “suffer the emotional exhaustion of carrying on with an instructor that disregards cultural diversity and sensitivities” following the teacher’s use, whereas teaching, of a Chinese observe that sounds like a racial slur.

Greg Patton, a professor on the college’s Marshall Faculty of Industry, was giving a lecture about the use of “filler words” in speech all through a latest online class when he fashioned the observe in question, announcing, “Whenever that you just can possess a amount of ‘u.s.a.and errs,’ right here is culturally teach, so per your native language. Enjoy in China, the fashioned observe is ‘that, that, that.’ So in China it’s going to be ‘nèi ge, nèi ge, nèi ge.’”

In an August 21 e mail to college administration received by Nationwide Evaluate, college students accused the professor of announcing the observe like the N-observe “approximately 5 instances” all throughout the lesson in each and every of his three verbal replace classes and acknowledged he “offended all of the Shaded members of our Class.”

The college students, who identified themselves as “Shaded MBA Candidates c/o 2022” wrote that they’d reached out to Chinese classmates as they were “appalled” by what they’d heard. 

“It was confirmed that the pronunciation of this observe is mighty varied than what Professor Patton described in school,” the college students wrote. “The observe is most frequently fashioned with a pause in between each and every syllables. To boot, now we possess lived in a international nation in China and possess taken Chinese language classes at several faculties and this phrase, clearly and precisely before instruction is often identified as a phonetic homonym and a racial derogatory term, and would possibly maybe maybe also be fastidiously fashioned, especially within the context of speaking Chinese interior the social context of the united states.”

The college students accused the professor of displaying “negligence and push aside” within the use of the observe and acknowledged he “conveniently stay[ped] the zoom recording correct before announcing the observe,” calling his actions calculated. 

“Our psychological health has been affected,” the group persisted. “It is an uneasy feeling allowing him to possess the energy over our grades. We would barely no longer clutch his direction than to suffer the emotional exhaustion of carrying on with an instructor that disregards cultural diversity and sensitivities and by extension creates an unwelcome surroundings for us Shaded college students.”

The college students added that the incident “has impacted our skill to focal level adequately on our review.”

“It is now not relevant what manner you peek at this, the observe was acknowledged multiple instances on the present time in three varied instances and has deeply affected us. In gentle of the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and the latest and persisted collective protests and social awakening within the direction of the nation, we can no longer let this stand,” the group concluded, before calling for a straight away solve to the situation. 

In response, Dean Geoff Garrett apologized for the professor’s use of a “Chinese observe that sounds very equivalent to a vile racial slur in English,” in an e mail on August 24 received by Nationwide Evaluate, announcing “understandably, this prompted extensive be troubled and upset amongst college students.”

“I’m deeply saddened by this annoying episode that has prompted such be troubled and trauma,” he acknowledged.

The dean presented that a brand fresh instructor would straight clutch over instruction for the the rest of the class.

Two days later, in an e mail to members of the USC Marshall Graduate Pupil Association Govt Board, Patton apologized, explaining that he has taught the direction for 10 years and had been given the instance by several world college students years within the past.

“The inclusion is a a part of a deep and sustained effort at inclusion as I even possess reached out to procure and embrace many world, world, diverse, female, extensive and inclusive management examples and illustrations to enhance verbal replace and interpersonal skill in our world space of job,” he acknowledged. 

“I even possess since realized there are regional differences, but I even possess always heard and pronounced the observe as ‘naaga’ rhyming with ‘dega,’” the professor wrote.

He added that the transcript of the session files his pronunciation as “naga” and that his pronunciation of the observe comes from time spent in Shanghai. 

“Given the distinction in sounds, accent, context and language, I did now not join this within the moment to any English words and with out a doubt no longer any racial slur,” he wrote.

“Sadly messages possess circulated that counsel in miserable health intent, huge earlier files, wrong events and these are factually wrong. Fortunate [sic] now we possess transcripts, audio, video, tracking of messages and a 25 One year document,” he wrote. “I even possess strived to simplest put together college students with International, right-world and applied examples and illustrations to originate the class grunt material arrive alive and bring diverse voices, conditions and experiences into the school room.”

He acknowledged he had received bound suggestions on the lesson in years previous nonetheless permitted blame for failing “to heed all of the varied varied extra ways that a teach example would possibly maybe maybe also be heard within the direction of audiences members per their possess lived experiences.”

In a assertion to Campus Reform, USC acknowledged Patton “agreed to clutch a transient term pause whereas we’re reviewing to higher perceive the situation and to clutch any applicable subsequent steps.”

Per a transient bio on the college’s web characteristic, Patton is “an knowledgeable in verbal replace, interpersonal and management effectiveness” who has received “a astronomical amount of coaching awards, been ranked as one in every of the stay teaching college at USC and helped USC Marshall originate a astronomical amount of #1 worldwide rankings for Dialog and Management skill pattern.”

“Professor Patton has huge world abilities, has expert, coached and mentored thousands of leaders worldwide, and created rankings of a hit management capabilities,” the bio provides.

Ship a tip to the files personnel at NR.