University of Wisconsin student Muyang Deng went out to buy some water Tuesday night, and found something else entirely.
On Library Mall, someone had written in chalk, “(expletive) the Chinese government,” and on the corner of State and Lake, “It’s from China #Chinesevirus”
President Donald Trump and other conservative officials have referred to the coronavirus that’s caused a global pandemic — technically referred to as SARS-COV-2 — as the “China virus,” “Chinese virus,” or “Wuhan virus,” referring to the first cases being reported in Wuhan, China.
Scientists have said there is no scientific basis for naming a virus after the first place it was discovered, and Asian American advocates have said dubbing the virus as “Chinese” has led to hate crimes against Asian Americans in recent weeks.
“I want to say that it is not acceptable to see such discrimination around our campus,” Deng said in an email to Madison365. “And we need love and care to fight against the COVID-19 virus, not hate.”
University of Wisconsin Chancellor Becky Blank condemned the graffiti in an email to students and staff, implying that this isn’t the first such incident.
“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,” she wrote. “We want to be clear that racist behaviors or stereotyping of any kind are not tolerated at UW–Madison—no matter if we are online, passing others in public, or quarantined at home.”
She added that The Dean of Students Office, in partnership with the Multicultural Student Center, International Student Services, and the Division of Diversity, Equity and Educational Achievement, would host a “virtual town hall” at 4 pm on Thursday via the conferencing service Zoom.
“This is a time in which our community needs to be supporting each other rather than tearing each other apart,” Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway said in an email to Madison365. “Racism is a completely inappropriate response to this or any pandemic. New diseases can emerge from any part of the world and do every year. We all need to take care of each other by staying at home as much as possible, practicing physical distancing, and exercising social solidarity.”