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Phuc Bui Diem Nguyen

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A teacher from a California community college was dismissed after asking a Vietnamese-American student Phuc Bui Diem Nguyen to “anglicize” her name, because it sounds like an “insult to English”, the reports say.

Matthew Hubbard math professor at Laney College in Oakland

Matthew Hubbard, a math professor at Laney College in Oakland, asked Phuc Bui Diem Nguyen, on the second day of his online course, to change his name in an e-mail obtained from CNN.

Nguyen – who told the network that the trigonometry professor had not asked how to pronounce her name – informed him that her request was “discriminatory” and warned that she would file a claim for title X if he did not. he was not using his first name.

But he replied that pronouncing the name in English sounds like “F-Boy”.

“If I lived in Vietnam and my name in your language looked like Eat D -, I would change to avoid embarrassment,” added Hubbard, according to CNN.

Nguyen, who had previously asked for the nickname “May”, was eager to start classes and use his legal name, ABC7 News reported.

When Hubbard told her to “anglicize” his name, she didn’t know what the term meant.

“I had never heard that before. At that moment, I was surprised, so I searched on Google for the meaning – I didn’t know what it meant, so I called my best friend to ask what it meant,” Nguyen told the station, adding that Hubbard later asked it. called “P-Nguyen” in a Zoom class.

“I was shaken because when I grew up, they had problems with how to pronounce my name, but they asked me how to pronounce my name,” she said.

College president Tammeil Gilkerson said

In a statement, college president Tammeil Gilkerson said: “We are aware of the allegations of racist and xenophobic messages from a member of our faculty with a student about the pronunciation of their names. We take these allegations seriously and immediately put the teacher on administrative leave, awaiting an investigation. ”

Hubbard, who has been teaching in college for 15 years, told the New York Times that there were two people in his class with the surname Nguyen.

He told the newspaper that he sent his first email partly to avoid confusion with the other student, and partly because he was not comfortable with the name Nguyen.

Hubbard said he finally asked all of his students to change Zoom’s name to his surname and initial, adding that his first email to Nguyen “was a mistake, and I made him think of another student ready to anglicize.

“But it is a big difference from someone who does it voluntarily and asks someone to do it. The second email is very offensive, and if I had waited eight hours, I would have written something very different,” he told the Times.

Federation of Teachers of Peralta

The Federation of Teachers of Peralta, the union representing Laney’s team, said it hopes to introduce diversity training soon.

“I am shocked and dismayed at the racist comments we see online from a member of Laney’s faculty to a student,” union president Jennifer Shanoski told The Times in a statement. “In any case, these comments or statements are not acceptable in our diverse and welcoming educational environment.”

Nguyen said he felt empowered not to change his name at Hubbard’s insistence.

“I decided to embrace him completely and let everyone know that they should be proud of his name,” Nguyen told CNN, adding that he still awaits a sincere apology from Hubbard.

Her sister, Quynh, said that Hubbard had apologized for two sentences that she said were not sincere.

“He was not responsible for his actions,” Quynh Nguyen told CNN. “I was so shocked and disappointed by his ignorance and his school.”