Liverpool University Chinese cheating email 'racist'

University of Liverpool Image copyright Google
Image caption Liverpool University later apologised and said the intention "was not to single out any particular group"

A university has been accused of racism after it sent an e-mail suggesting Chinese students didn't know what cheating was.

The University of Liverpool sent the note about exam conduct to its international scholars.

Next to a Chinese translation of cheating, it said students from the country "are usually unfamiliar with the word".

Vice-Chancellor Prof Janet Beer said the email had been a "mistake".

The message, from the institution's international advice and guidance team, was intended to remind students of exam guidelines.

"Each year, a number of international students breach the rules," it read, before going on to make the reference to cheating.

Image copyright Facebook
Image caption The email included a Chinese translation

In a letter posted on the university's Facebook page, Prof Beer said she apologised "wholeheartedly".

She added: "This was a mistake, and is not representative of the high regard in which the university holds its Chinese students.

"It was wholly inappropriate and I apologise wholeheartedly for the offence it has caused."

Posting a response on Facebook, student Ruiqi Feng said she was "happy" to see the apology.

"When I received the email I feel I and my friends were targeted," she said.

"I didn't do anything. I worked hard, followed the rules, and I received an email from from the university explaining specifically in our language that cheating is wrong.

"It's really a stupid email, kind of discrimination and racism. Happy to see your apology."

C├ęsar Padilla said sending an email directed only at international students caused "massive offence".

The Student Welfare Advice and Guidance department also tweeted an apology.

It said the intention "was not to single out any particular group, but to make the information as accessible as possible for our student community".

Prof Beer added the university would "review procedures" and ensure "nothing of this nature" happened again.

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