The website of Clifford Kubiak from UCSD had a page in poor taste taken down recently. The website listed the lab rules to follow while working in the Kubiak group. Most of the rules are written in a tongue-in-cheek fashion covering basic safety awareness. However, Lab Rule #3 stands out. The image of the offending website is shown below, and implies that the word of Chinese colleagues should not be trusted.
A statement today by Suresh Subramani (Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs) and Mark Thiemens (Dean, Division of Physical Sciences) at UCSD is below.
On behalf of President Mark Yudof, Chancellor Marye Anne Fox, and the UC San Diego community we are truly disappointed by the insensitive and offensive language that appeared on the website of Professor Clifford Kubiak.
This language does not conform to our commitment to the UCSD Principles of Community. We have communicated today with Professor Kubiak who has ensured that the offending language has been removed and he will provide a formal, written apology. This apology will be posted on Professor Kubiak’s website. Further, we have asked the Office for the Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination (OPHD) to review the matter. Please accept our sincere apologies on behalf of the University
I find it unlikely that Kubiak himself made the rules, it was probably the work of a grad student with no class. However, the text says rule #3 has been demoted, implying that it was an active topic discussed within the group. We’ll probably never know what benign interpretation the real author had for rule #3, but it is unfortunate that this story will be associated with Kubiak. Hopefully Kubiak’s folly will remind PIs to keep a more watchful eye on their webmasters.
Update 1: The San Diego Union Tribune has now picked up the story — UCSD closes website over slur (May 23rd)
Update 2: Text from the apology issued by Clifford Kubiak is below. (May 24th)
Please accept my personal and sincere apologies for the insensitive language recently found on my laboratory’s website. I find the language offensive and I am embarrassed by the poor judgment exhibited in posting the offending language. Although I was unaware of the existence of this page until it was brought to my attention, I accept full responsibility. I have taken steps to remove the offending language and will arrange for appropriate training for my research group and me relative to the UCSD Principles of Community.
Professor,Chemistry & Biochemistry