Purdue reprimands campus leader for mocking Asian remark

Purdue University Northwest Thomas Keon (Photo courtesy of Purdue University)

Purdue University said Thursday its board of trustees had formally reprimanded the top official of its northwestern Indiana campuses over his mocking of Asian languages during a recent commencement ceremony.

The faculty senate of Purdue University Northwest has demanded the resignation of Chancellor Thomas Keon despite his apology over his impression of a fake Asian-sounding language during the Dec. 10 event.

The university’s statement released Thursday called Keon’s action an “offhand attempt at humor” that was “extremely offensive and insensitive.” The statement said while the “offensive remark does not reflect a pattern of behavior or a system of beliefs held by Dr. Keon, the board has made clear to him that a repeat incident of a similar nature would provide grounds for further board action, including possible dismissal.”

Faculty Senate Chairman Thomas Roach said 87% of faculty members who responded to a poll this week voted no-confidence in Keon and questioned why Purdue officials were supporting him.

“No university faculty should be represented by somebody that they don’t accept,” Roach said.

Purdue Northwest has about 9,000 students at campuses in Hammond and Westville.

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4 thoughts on “Purdue reprimands campus leader for mocking Asian remark

  1. Time to resign, old white-out-of-touch dude. It’s also bad that 2 or 3 of the other old white guys on the stage heartily laughed at this “joke”. Other media cite his apology in part with “… my comments do not reflect my personal … values.” Please – own it! Sounds like when a parent of a common criminal says “He’s not like this.” Um, yes, he, is exactly like this – since he did it. Same with this lame explanation of the Chancellor that, paraphrasing, “I know I said a racist thing but I’m not really a racist.” Step down.

    1. Using the guy’s skin color as a derogatory term while calling him racist is classic

      Sounds like he made a very awkward, dumb mistake. BTW, I missed IBJ’s (and virtually every other outlet) coverage on RG3’s racist statement.
      Randy, you torn up a that one too?

    2. Chuck, it’s not racist to point out that the majority of racist remarks come from white people. That’s a fact. Awkward and dumb mistakes come with consequences when you are the leader of a university and it’s done at a commencement.

      As to RG3, I just listened to his comment. It isn’t right and he, too, is getting called out for it. I guess I’m not quite as concerned about it since he’s a young, 32 y/o, pro football player yapping on a TV show where hyperbole is commonplace to have a “hot take”. Not a university chancellor.

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