The Purdue Board of Trustees has taken formal disciplinary action against Purdue Northwest President Thomas Keong for making racist remarks at a commencement ceremony earlier this month, according to a statement from the Purdue University Board of Trustees. was dropped.
Faculty and students are calling for Keong’s resignation after his comments at Indiana University’s Dec. 10 commencement ceremony. In a video posted on Purdue University Northwest’s official YouTube page, Keon is seen saying the apparently made-up words after taking the podium following his commencement speech. , he appeared to be performing an Asian caricature.
Keon apologized for his “offensive and insensitive” comments in a statement issued on December 14. “I made a mistake. I don’t mean to offend and my comments do not reflect my personal or our organizational values.”
In a statement published on Purdue University’s website on Thursday, board chair Mike Bergoff called Keon’s statement “extremely offensive and insensitive.”
“Each member of the Purdue Board of Trustees has had the opportunity to review the entire Dec. 10 Commencement at Purdue Northwest and the context for President Keon’s remarks,” Berghoff said. . “Each, in addition to being highly offensive and insensitive (as Dr. Keon himself admits in his apology), this brash attempt at humor is tasteless and unsuitable for his role as prime minister. , concluded that it was temporarily unacceptable, and should be remembered only for its celebratory and unified atmosphere. Did.”
The decision to reprimand rather than dismiss Keon prompted criticism from other departments. asked to dismiss the president.
“We are not calling for his removal to punish him. We are calling for his removal because he is not qualified to represent us,” Roach wrote. He called Keon’s current role an “insult to the Asian community”.
“This decision by the board is negligent and unacceptable, and your explanation for your inaction is an insult to our intelligence,” he continued.
Earlier this week, the Purdue Northwest Undergraduate Senate voted no confidence in the president. Keon won his 20 votes of confidence and his 135 votes of no confidence.
But the vote didn’t necessarily have an immediate impact on Keon. Dave Narborn, a professor of psychology at Purdue University and vice chairman of the faculty’s Senate Executive Committee, said only the Purdue board or president had the power to remove him unless he decided to resign. .
The board of trustees did not elaborate on what the “formal reprimand” was, but warned that “repetition of the incident” would have consequences.
“While the Trustees estimate that this offensive statement does not reflect Dr. Keon’s pattern of behavior or belief system, the Board believes that repeated incidents of a similar nature would warrant further Board grounds. I have made it clear to him that it will be an action that includes the possibility of dismissal,” Berghoff said in a statement.
Keon has been president of Purdue Northwest since 2016, according to the university’s website. Previously, he held administrative positions at the University of Central Florida, Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Florida He Atlantic University, and the University of Missouri-Columbia.