The MU Faculty Council released an open letter regarding racial discrimination and COVID-19 after its meeting Thursday.

The letter acknowledges that “some members of the Chinese, Korean, and other Asian communities” at MU have experienced racial discrimination tied to the pandemic.

In response, the Faculty Council asks the MU community to:

  • Refer to the virus as COVID-19 rather than by a name stigmatizing Asian people.
  • Reject xenophobia related to the virus.

The council’s Inclusion, Diversity & Equity Committee wrote the letter.

“We were concerned about racism attaching itself to the COVID-19 epidemic, so we drafted the statement, this open letter,” committee chair Rebecca Graves said in the meeting.

“We’re bringing it into motion before Faculty Council to be approved so that it can be sent on campus as a statement to say this is where we stand on this, and this is what we call on from each other,” she said.

The letter also urges those who have been discriminated against at MU to submit a report to the MU Office for Civil Rights & Title IX.

“The motivation for writing the letter came from members of the university community who had expressed some discomfort in their interactions on campus,” Phillip Wood, a member of the Inclusion, Diversity & Equity committee, said. “So this was not considered an educational/national objective, it was more people saying ‘here are some issue that have come to our attention.’”

The council originally planned to vote on the letter in two weeks, but in an effort to release the statement quickly, the council voted on and approved the letter Thursday.

For more COVID-19 related news, see our section dedicated to COVID-19 updates.
  • Education reporter, spring 2020. Studying news reporting. Reach me at, or in the newsroom at 882-5700.

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