Professor Placed on Leave For Telling Student to 'Anglicize' Her Name

A college professor in California has been placed on leave after he allegedly asked a Vietnamese student to "Anglicize" her name because it has an "offensive sound" in English.

Laney College in Oakland confirmed that they are aware of allegations of "racist and xenophobic messages" from one of their faculty members about the pronunciation of a student's name.

According to an email chain, which was later posted onto social media, professor Matthew Hubbard had asked student Phuc Bui Diem Nguyen to change her name as it "sounds like an insult" in English.

"Your name in English sounds like F**k Boy," Hubbard adds. "If I lived i Vietnam and my name in your language sounded like Eat a D**k, I would change it to avoid embarrassment both on my part and on the part of the people who had to say it.

"I understand you are offended, but you need to understand your name is an offensive sound in my language."

The emails were posted onto Instagram by the student's sister along with a video of the professor only referring to the student as P Nguyen.

"So I'm disgusted and disappointed. Honestly, I really liked laney college but this teacher had the ignorance and audacity to tell my sister to anglicize her name is disgusting," she wrote.

"As a professor, he should be trying to learn her name and culture and not try to white wash her name. My sister graduated high school thinking she can finally be able to use her name.

"I love that my parents want to keep my culture alive by keeping our Vietnamese name. If you can't say it then ask."

The screenshots were also posted onto Twitter by user @aybarlyy, who said she is an old high school friend of Nguyen. The post has since been retweeted more than 18,500 times on the social network.

Laney College professor Matthew Hubbard is asking a Vietnamese student to “Anglicize” her name to accommodate him.

— Karla 𓆏 (@aybarlyy) June 18, 2020

In a statement, Laney College confirmed that the professor has immediately been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation.

"On the surface this incident is obviously disturbing and comes after decades of discussing and working to combat structural racism, xenophobia, and violence in both the Black and Asian Pacific Islander community," Dr. Tammeil Gilkerson said,

"While our mission has been bold and unrelenting, we also recognize that our college and its community is a reflection of broader society and we must actively fight ignorance with education. We do not tolerate racism, discrimination or oppression of any kind."

Gilkerson added that while the recent ruling from the Supreme Court to state that LGBTQ+ people cannot be fired from their jobs because of their sexual orientation or gender identity were "huge victories" for marginalized communities, there is still more the nation as a whole needs to improve on.

"While we join with allies to celebrate these wins, we understand the need to still actively combat the deeply rooted anti-immigrant, anti-queer, and anti-Black racism spawned by white supremacy in this country that still continues," Gilkerson said.

Hubbard told Newsweek he will wait until the conclusion of the investigation before commenting.

(File photo) More than 15,000 middle and high school students and their families from Los Angeles attend Cash for College, a college and career convention, at the Los Angeles Convention Center on December 8, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. A college professor in California has been placed on leave after he allegedly asked a Vietnamese student to “Anglicize” her name. Kevork Djansezian/Getty