An off-campus party at SUNY Albany that featured a “coronavirus” theme has caused outrage among some in the campus community.
The school’s Asian American Alliance is demanding an investigation into the party, a now-deleted video of which “showed a bucket full of Corona beers and a person wearing a surgical mask,” according to the Democrat & Chronicle.
A caption on the video read “Corona virus isn’t gonna stop anyone from partying,” and the recording showed a white sheet with a biohazard symbol and two faces on it — one face had two Xs for eyes (indicating he was dead), while the second was “frowning and had straight lines for eyes.”
The university said it planned to investigate and noted in a statement “The theme of this party was distasteful and hurtful and is not representative of UAlbany or its nearly 18,000 students […] any allegations of conduct violations will be investigated and addressed through the University’s disciplinary process.”
The AAA said in a statement released on Instagram that “diseases that affect non-white populations are radicalized in a way that stems from innate xenophobia. It serves to dehumanize the affected population.”
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The organization — which is made up the Chinese, Japanese and Korean student associations; Albany State Indian Alliance; and Liga Filipina — called for an investigation into the incident and urged the university to “protect Asian student’s and scholars’ physical health and mental health.”
Shorty after the USA TODAY Network New York reached out the the university Thursday for comment, a campus-wide email from was sent out to students condemning the party.
“As a diverse community with students, faculty and staff from all over the world, it is important that we treat everyone with dignity and respect,” Clarence McNeill, the university’s dean of students, said in the email.
Meanwhile, a bit further south at the University of Maryland, students also are miffed about “xenophobic remarks” associated with the coronavirus. One (Asian) student complained to the student paper that a Lyft driver had asked, “because of [the student’s] appearance,” if he “was coming from China.” Part of that “appearance” was the student wearing a face mask.
Another UMD student said she heard a woman say the coronavirus began “from Chinese people eating animals.” The student then alleged “Western people look down on people for eating traditional food.” However, the woman’s remark is taken directly from news reports.