Asian American Scholar Forum Condemns Purdue Northwest Chancellor for Mocking Asians at Graduation Ceremony

December 20, 2022

Media Contact: Mary Tablante, Asian American Scholar Forum,

Washington, D.C.— CEO and Chancellor Thomas Keon mocked Asian languages when he made up words that “sounded Asian” at a Purdue University Northwest graduation ceremony last week. Asian American Scholar Forum issues the following statement:

“We strongly condemn the racist actions of Chancellor Keon on a special occasion when students and their families should have been focused on celebrating their graduation and being inspired by the Chancellor’s speech. Discrimination and racism should not be present anywhere, but as an organization that represents academics and researchers, we take any mockery or discriminatory acts at higher education institutions seriously. While Chancellor Keon issued an apology saying he did not intend to be hurtful, Asian Americans everywhere know the pain of being othered and a deeper understanding of the history of anti-Asian hate is sorely needed. Chancellor Keon and leaders like him need to hold themselves at a high standard of equity and inclusion and must be held accountable. ”


Asian American Scholar Forum (AASF) promotes academic belonging, openness, freedom, and equality for all and represents more than 7,000 scientists, researchers, and scholars in the U.S.. In response to heightened anti-Asian sentiments in the U.S. and increasing profiling of Chinese Americans and immigrants in science, AASF has been a leading national voice fighting for the rights of Asian American and immigrant scientists, researchers, and scholars.

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