Students at the University of California Los Angeles are calling for the replacement of a computer science department chair appointed just weeks earlier, claiming he is “unfit to serve” in the role.
An online petition they started accuses Professor Eliezer Gafni of showing “disregard for the racialized experiences of people of color in the United States” and “disinterest in open communication between all students and UCLA Computer Science administration.”
Representatives for UCLA didn’t immediately respond to a Fox News request for comment.
Gafni had previously served as the interim chair for the department before being named to the position permanently in August.
As of Friday, however, the petition to replace him had garnered over 1,600 signatures.
Although the petition commends him for his “exceptional professional achievements and excellence in his academic work,” signers claim that he has not exhibited a “strong sense of ethical and societal responsibilities or the collaborative skills – especially with regard to clear communication and inclusivity – that are essential for this role.”
Petition signers said Gafni told a student that calling the term “Wuhan virus” offensive politicized the issue. Wuham is the city in China where COVID-19 was first discovered late last year.
He further noted that “what is ‘sensitive’ to you might feel like PC police to others,” according to the petition.
Gafni and the department later apologized, along with Professor Todd Millstein, vice chair for graduate studies at UCLA’s computer science department, according to the College Fix.
“We stress that all are welcome in this department, regardless of country of national origin, race, color, religion, gender, age, sexual orientation or identity, disability, or genetic background,” the officials said in a letter, according to the outlet.