Racist Posts Target Chinese Students at Notre Dame

March 30, 2020

The University of Notre Dame said that a person who attacked China and Chinese students in a social media post is no longer affiliated with the university. The student newspaper, The Observer, published screenshots of the posts attributed to a postdoctoral researcher, Kathryn Ralph, which blamed Chinese students for the COVID-19 pandemic and told them to go home.

“The author of the posts was not employed by the University as of Thursday evening,” a Notre Dame spokesman said via email to Inside Higher Ed. “The posts were especially despicable because they attempted to capitalize on a tragic pandemic to target an ethnic group."

Notre Dame's president, the Reverend John I. Jenkins, wrote in an email to members of the Chinese community that the university "acted swiftly when it learned of the post, and the person who posted it is no longer affiliated with Notre Dame."

Ralph, who could not be reached for comment, was also reportedly employed by Heterodox Academy, a group that promotes “viewpoint diversity” in academia. Heterodox Academy said in a statement Friday that it had “learned this week that an HxA employee had made statements on social media that expressed contempt toward Chinese people and culture, particularly regarding the current coronavirus pandemic.” The organization said the posts "clearly fail to exhibit the constructive, respectful engagement we expect of our employees and our members" and said its working relationship with the individual had been terminated.

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