HAMMOND, Ind. — The faculty senate of Purdue University Northwest is demanding the resignation of CEO and Chancellor Thomas Keon after he mocked Asian languages during commencement.
The open letter signed by eight members of the senate’s executive committee called for Keon to step down because the remark insulted Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and the “inexcusable behavior caused national and international outrage.”
“His behavior does not reflect the diversity and inclusiveness that Purdue faculty, staff and students value,” said the letter released Friday.
Keon apologized Thursday for the Dec. 10 remark.
“I made a comment that was offensive and insensitive,” Keon said. “I am truly sorry for my unplanned, off-the-cuff response to another speaker, as my words have caused confusion, pain and anger.”
Keon’s gaffe came after keynote speaker James Dedelow referenced a made-up language he sometimes uses on a radio show he hosts with family. Keon responded with an impression that he said was “sort of my Asian version” of Dedelow’s offering.
A message left with a spokesperson for Purdue University Northwest was not immediately returned on Sunday.