SAN DIEGO (KGTV) – Several Asian legal organizations speak about a professor at the University of San Diego and allegedly comment on him on a personal blog. The professor is accused of using offensive language when referring to people from China.
Another USD professor confirmed that the author of the blog post is Professor Tom Smith.
The post earlier this month references an article in the Wall Street Journal about coronavirus and Wuhan, China. In the post, the professor wrote, “If you think the coronavirus did not escape the Wuhan laboratory, at least you have to take into account that you are an idiot who swallows a whole lot of Chinese ——-. ”
“We believe the students have raised legitimate concerns,” said Esther Bylsma, president-elect of San Diego Pan-Asian Lawyers. “We have seen across America that there have been incidents of hatred against Asian Americans fueled by fear and misinformation.”
The Pan-Asian attorneys, along with the San Diego Filipino American attorneys and the San Diego Korean American Bar Association, published a letter on Tuesday quoting the professor’s “history of controversial statements.”
The letter goes on to say that students and other organizations “have raised concerns that Professor Smith is creating a hostile learning environment” and that “his blog makes it clear that despite his role as a teacher for many of them, he is avid controversy in court to bring the same people whom he disparages. “
The Japanese American Citizens League also condemned his comments, calling them “unprofessional and vulgar”. In a letter to Dean Robert Schapiro, the organization said the comments were “irresponsible in a year when anti-Asian hate crimes have increased by nearly 150%”.
“As lawyers, it’s all about free speech,” said Bylsma. “We understand the importance of it and I would actually say that the students train theirs too.”
She added that the students invited the professor to speak to them, but he didn’t.
“His lack of response and his lack of actual desire to actually speak to his students shows, in my opinion, that this is the fallacy of the entire academic freedom argument.”
ABC 10News has requested a comment from Professor Smith but has not yet received a response.
Organizations like the Academic Freedom Alliance and the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education have come to his defense.
The students who first drew attention to the professor’s comments are now receiving hate mail. An email to the Asian Pacific American Law Students Association stated, “We do NOT want you here – so get the (explicit) out of AMERICA.”
Another email accused the students of being funded by the Chinese Communist Party. A third email said, “Fuck ALL Chinese (expletive) clowns.”
“I’m sad, angry, helpless and I think these three words are much of what you hear from the entire Asian community,” said Bylsma.
In a previous statement, USD officials said there will be “a process to check if the university or law school guidelines have been violated”. The spokesman added that its guidelines “prohibit harassment, including the use of nicknames, derogatory comments, or blurring based on race or national origin”.
When contacted again on Tuesday, a spokesman said the matter was being investigated.