21 Février 2017
February 21, 2017
A university has disciplined a lecturer for making discriminatory remarks to a student from Fukushima Prefecture, citing the ongoing nuclear accident there.
In the October 2014 incident, a part-time English teacher at Kwansei Gakuin University in Hyogo Prefecture, western Japan, told the student she had been exposed to radiation.
The teacher is reported to have turned off the lights in class, saying he thought the student would glow in the dark.
The lecturer is a foreign national. He is accused of making such comments in both Japanese and English.
University officials say after the incident the student tended to be absent. She could not earn enough credits to pass and requested counseling at the university last year.
Officials say following an inquiry, the teacher explained that he meant it as a joke. He reportedly said he is deeply remorseful and wants to apologize to the student.
The university has cut the lecturer's pay for 3 months and decided not to renew his contract the next school year.
Vice President Shoichi Ito said his university extends its deepest apologies to the student and the people affected by the March 11th disaster.
He said the university will work to raise awareness among staff and prevent recurrences.
Many students at Kwansei Gakuin University have expressed shock over the lecturer's discriminatory remarks against a student from Fukushima.
A male student said the nuclear accident should not be made into a joke because students who were victims of the disaster can't change that fact. He said he doesn't want to be taught by a person who says such things.
A female student said it's unbelievable a teacher would say something like that even as many students and faculty are involved in efforts to support evacuees from the disaster. She said she wants to tell the harassed student that not everyone is prejudiced.
By HIDEMASA YOSHIZAWA/ Staff Writer
NISHINOMIYA, Hyogo Prefecture--A foreign English teacher has been disciplined by a university here after he poked fun at a student from Fukushima Prefecture, where the nuclear meltdown occurred after the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011.
Kwansei Gakuin University took the disciplinary action by docking the instructor’s pay over the incident that occurred in 2014 but was not reported until April 2016.
The student in question took the matter up with university officials after a new harassment consultation center was established.
According to university officials, the woman from Fukushima Prefecture entered the university's education school in the spring of 2014.
In autumn that year, the student signed up for an English class of about 30 students taught by a non-Japanese male part-time instructor in his 40s.
The instructor asked the students where they were from. When the woman said Fukushima Prefecture, the instructor turned off the classroom lights and said he thought she would glow in the dark because she had been contaminated with radiation.
The woman was shocked by the statement, considering it discriminatory. She began skipping classes, but did not complain to university officials.
When the harassment consulting center was established, the woman visited it from late April 2016 on a number of occasions to discuss the issue. In late October, she submitted a formal harassment complaint against the instructor.
University officials questioned the instructor in November. He said he could not remember if he turned off the lights, but admitted to the comment, saying that it was meant in jest. He offered to apologize to the student.
The joke did not go over well, and the officials decided to cut his pay for three months, effective from Feb. 17, and plans not to renew his contract, which ends in March.
Shoichi Ito, a university vice president, issued a statement that said: "We extend our deepest apology to the student as well as to all those who were affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake. We will make efforts to prevent a recurrence by promoting greater awareness among our faculty."
Kwansei Gakuin University was established in 1889 by the American missionary Walter R. Lambuth, based on Christian principles.