Peralta College District investigating alleged request to ‘anglicize’ a Vietnamese-American student’s name

Bay Area

OAKLAND, Calif. (BCN) – The president of Peralta Community College District Board of Trustees said Sunday night that a Laney College professor was placed on leave Friday after he allegedly asked a Vietnamese-American student of his to “anglicize” her name because he found it offensive.

On Sunday, board President Julina Bonilla said in a statement, “I want to acknowledge that the Peralta Community College Board of Trustees is aware of the allegation of racist remarks by an instructor to a student at Laney College regarding the pronunciation of the student’s name. Consistent with his rights to due process, the instructor has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation into this matter.

The professor is Matthew Hubbard, a Laney College math professor, who was placed on leave Friday after he allegedly asked a Vietnamese-American student, Phuc Bui Diem Nguyen, to “anglicize” her name because it sounded like a vulgarity and/or insult.

“I understand you are offended, but you need to understand your name is an offensive sound in my language,” Hubbard allegedly wrote in an email to the student.

In Sunday’s statement, board president Bonilla said district officials do not take the allegations against Hubbard lightly. 

“We understand the need to challenge and eliminate racism and white supremacy in all of its insidious forms, including the suppression of native cultures and languages and its demands that people of color conform to norms of ‘whiteness,'” Bonilla said.

Hubbard has offered apologies to his student, but he remains on leave as of Sunday. Bonilla said in her statement. 

“Consistent with his rights to due process, the instructor has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation into this matter.”

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