Purdue Northwest faculty asks chancellor to resign after commencement remarks


HAMMOND, Ind. — The Purdue Northwest Faculty Senate is demanding Chancellor Thomas Keon immediately resign after he made “offensive” statements at a recent commencement ceremony.

The letter, signed by eight faculty members, said his comments insulted the Asian American and Pacific Islander community and “caused national and international outrage.”

“In an increasingly diverse world, in which sensitivity to people from a variety of cultures is crucial for success, the time has come for Chancellor Keon to resign, or else to be removed by the Purdue University Board of Trustees, so that a leader better attuned to what it takes to engage multiple constituencies with respect–not ridicule–can be found,” a press release from the Purdue Northwest chapter of the American Association of University Professors read.

The letter and press release, both issued on Friday, come after Keon did an impression of an Asian language following keynote speaker James Dedelow of WJOB Radio on Dec. 10, the Northwest Indiana Times reported.

Keon issued an apology after he said he made an “offensive and insensitive” comment.

“I am truly sorry for my unplanned, off-the-cuff response to another speaker, as my words have caused confusion, pain, and anger,” he wrote.

WGN News reached out to the university’s Marketing and Communications staff by email on Saturday evening for a response to the letter. University representatives have yet to return a response.

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