University Urges Students, Faculty to Use ‘Acceptable’ Terms When Talking About CCP Virus

April 7, 2020 Updated: April 7, 2020

Michigan State University (MSU) wants teachers and students to only use “acceptable” terminology when talking about the CCP virus, in an effort to promote “diversity, equality, inclusion and social justice.”

In an April 2 email sent to staff, faculty, and students, MSU advertised its “Hate Has No Home” initiative and complied a list of eight recommendations to “keep hate and harm away” from the school community. One of the recommendations states that “novel coronavirus” is the word of choice when referring to the CCP virus, which first emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan before spreading to the rest of the world.

“Use the correct term for the virus,” said MSU, which hosts over 2,500 international students from China and has been housing a Confucius Institute since 2006. “No other names are acceptable.”

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A Yeshiva University student wears a face mask on the grounds of the university in New York City on March 4, 2020. (David Dee Delgado/Getty Images)

The university also encouraged members of the school community to sign a “Hate Has No Home Here” pledge in support of a “welcoming and inclusive environment.”

“I pledge to not commit acts of hate. I pledge to be an active bystander and to prevent and address incidents of hate and bias,” the pledge read.

“Active bystanders” are expected to stand up against “racist, dog-whistle, xenophobic” speech, especially when it involves the Asian, Pacific Islander, Desi American (APIDA) community, the university said, adding that “anti-APIDA racism” is on the rise amid the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States.

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People are tested for COVID-19 at a mobile testing center in Dearborn, Michigan, on March 26, 2020. (Jeff Kowalsky/AFP/Getty Images)

The MSU is not the only school trying to prevent students and faculty from using terms that associate the virus with China or the Chinese regime. The University of California system issued a set of guidelines (pdf) last month, telling students not to use the term “Chinese virus,” claiming it casts “intentional or unintentional projections of hatred toward Asian communities.”

Similarly, The University of Wisconsin-Madison deemed chalk messages written on a campus sidewalk racist against people of Chinese or Asian ancestry. One of those messages read, “It’s from China #ChineseVirus,” while the other expressed anger toward China’s communist regime.

“We are aware of an increase in bias incidents on or near campus and online that have targeted our Asian, Pacific Islander, and Desi-American students and employees, particularly those from or perceived to be from China and East Asia,” the university said in a statement.