Ross D. Franklin / Associated Press
Asian students at Arizona State University told Business Insider that they had been treated differently since a coronavirus case that spread from China was confirmed at the university.
The large number of international ASU students from China were particularly affected, said one student.
From jokes to the absence of Asian students in class, students said the case had changed the dynamics on campus.
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After a case of Wuhan’s coronavirus in China was confirmed at Arizona State University, Asian students on campus faced jokes, staring, and isolation, the students said Business Insider
“It’s hysteria,” said a freshman who studies life sciences and lives in a student residence on campus, the name of which is not being published to protect her privacy. She said the dynamics between Asian and non-Asian students had changed noticeably on campus.
“I cough in class and everyone looks at me,” she said. “I’m paranoid from coughing.”
The case was confirmed in an email sent to students on Sunday by ASU staff. These informed the students, faculty and staff that the person with the virus was not living on campus and was being isolated to prevent the virus from spreading. University officials declined to indicate whether the person concerned was a student.
The students were critical of the university’s response and asked some to drop classes because they feared the virus would become infected in class. A petition to university officials asking for more security measures and more information received over 20,000 signatures.
The freshman, speaking to Business Insider, said there was already a social and cultural gap between the large number of international students from China at ASU and the rest of the student body, but the virus “only made it more obvious”.
Continue reading: “We don’t want to risk our lives by going to class”: Arizona State University students urge the school to do more after a Wuhan coronavirus case has been confirmed on campus
She said she feels bad about the way Chinese students are treated and that “most people ignore it, but when I hear something it bothers me.”
In one of their classes, the students avoided a Chinese teaching assistant, although this assistant was best qualified.
“In my own classes, nobody wants to sit next to me until there are no more places available,” said the Vietnamese newcomer.
A spokesman for the ASU said in a statement: “We highly value our student population from China and we want them to feel at home in the ASU community [we] for students from any other country. ”
A senior at ASU, who is Chinese and Arizona, said that although it bothers her when people “racially profile” someone who looks Asian, it is still “kind of funny” when people react differently.
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“There is humor in the way some of these people respond to a cold or cough,” she said in a Facebook message.
She said when she was on campus coughing or sneezing, “People (but mostly Caucasians) look at me a second longer, I think they ask me if I am infected.”
Eric, a freshman living on campus, said that people asked about his well-being because he had traveled to Beijing for the winter break, even though he hadn’t traveled near Wuhan, which is more than 1,100 kilometers from Beijing is removed.
Eric said in a Facebook message that he hadn’t noticed that people were giving him “weird looks” but that he wouldn’t blame them if they did.
“Even I am paranoid and more careful about people,” he said, adding that he avoids shaking hands or shaking hands, and often uses hand sanitizers.
“I guess I’ll find out if more people are staring at me or actively avoiding me because of my East Asian appearance, even though I was born and raised here in the United States,” he said.
Read the original Business Insider article