pandemic

USD Law Professor Under Fire for Blog Post Blaming Pandemic on Chinese Government

A storm is brewing on USD's campus over blogged statements from a tenured law professor

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A University of San Diego law professor is under fire for what even the school is calling disparaging and biased language used in a blog post about the suspected origin of the coronavirus, a conspiracy the Chinese government denies.

Because the investigation into these remarks is just starting, NBC 7 is not naming the tenured professor or his blog page.

USD Student Bar Association President Robert Ponce, who is criticized in the blog post in question, said such remarks are among those causing concerns about Asian discrimination. 

“I would describe it as xenophobic in nature. I certainly think there is a line of bigotry that underlies that statement and similar statements made across the country," Ponce said.

Responding to a Wall Street Journal article on his blog, the professor blamed a Wuhan, China, lab for releasing COVID-19. He used a lewd slur to describe the Chinese government.

"This statement is conspiracy peddling like we have seen around the country and it's ugly and egregious," Ponce said.

In part of an emailed statement from the University, spokesperson Elena Gomez told NBC 7 the school is aware of these comments.

"These forms of bias, wherever they occur, have an adverse impact on our community. It is especially concerning when the disparaging language comes from a member of our community,” Gomez said.

Ponce said the Student Bar Association and the Asian-Pacific American Student Law Association are preparing a list of disciplinary demands for the university.

"We respect, that tenured professors are able to publish what they want about any topic of their choosing. However, they have a responsibility to the university, the student body and to uphold a set of standards that are not met now," Ponce said.

The school received formal complaints about the blog and is reviewing whether university or law school policies have been violated.

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