A university has been forced to apologise for a “racist” email that appeared to accuse Chinese students of cheating.The student welfare department at Liverpool University wrote to students with advice about their upcoming exams, setting out the rules and regulations as well as the punishments for students caught cheating.But the university only translated “cheating” into Chinese, despite the email being sent to all international students.The email, sent from the university’s student services centre, said: “We find that our Chinese students are usually unfamiliar with the word ‘cheating’ in English and we therefore provide this translation: 舞弊”.Elsewhere, the email explained that “students who are caught cheating in exams suffer serious consequences”, and provided a translation of the word cheating in Chinese characters, but in no other languages.Students have launched a petition, which tonight had over 1,000 signatures, accusing the university of “irresponsible, arrogant, and discriminative action”.
The University has since apologised
Liverpool university has since apologised for any “upset or misunderstanding” caused by their email.
They later explained that: “The inclusion of the Chinese translation was not intended to give the impression that the exam misconduct advice was aimed at Chinese students. We have had feedback from Chinesestudents regarding the terminology so were addressing this to ensure our advise was clear.”
Professor Dame Janet Beer, the university’s vice-Chancellor and president of Universities UK, wrote to students to express her “heartfelt” apology.
“There was a paragraph in this email which caused significant offence and has upset our students, parents and partner organisations,” she said.
“This was a mistake and is not representative of the high regard in which the University holds its Chinesestudents. It was wholly inappropriate and I apologise wholeheartedly for the offence it has caused.”
She went on to say the university is “extremely proud” to be an international university, adding: “We value and respect cultural diversity and are extremely grateful that so many international students come to study with us and enrich our campus and city.”
Prof Beers said that the university’s procedures are now under review to ensure “nothing of this nature happens again”.