Students call for disciplinary action after U of R professor accused of making racist comments
REGINA -- Some students at the University of Regina are calling for stronger disciplinary action after a professor allegedly made racist comments in an email to students.
The email from Allan East, who is listed as a chemistry professor on the university’s website, informed a group of 14 students they had been caught cheating on their online chemistry final.
The email read: “I could not help but notice that all 14 of you cheaters have East Indian last names. None of the Canadian or other International students cheated. You must not cheat in Canada.”
Many at the University of Regina were shocked to hear about the email.
“I was angry for the students that had to face this and I was angry that this is still going on,” said Aysha Yaqoob, an education student who tweeted out a screenshot of the email another
“We have these diversity statements and these inclusion statements, the strategic plan and all that looks great on words but there needs to be action to back it up,” she said.
The University of Regina feels that the views expressed in the email are inappropriate.
“I, again, do not believe that it is reflective of the vast majority of faculty and staff on this campus and I regret very much that those students experienced something like that,” said acting president Thomas Chase.
The professor has apologized to the students.
“I understand how my choice in words have caused harm and for that I am deeply sorry,” wrote Allan East. He goes on to say that he is receiving diversity education.
Yaqoob said she doesn’t think any amount of diversity training can undo the damage the professor has done.
“I think personally that there needs to be an administrative leave. I honestly think that there needs to be a resignation. I don’t think there is any coming back from this at this point, especially with the power dynamics that exists between an educator and students,” she said.
Some students on campus also feel a stronger message must be sent.
“If I were a student that graduated from his class and especially of East Indian descent, I would not be comfortable in the grade that I got because you don’t know if it was impartial or if it was based on his biases, said Osaid Diar Bakerli, a student at the U of R.
The students caught cheating on their chemistry exam have received no credit for the class. The university had not indicated whether further action is planned against the students or their professor.