• Professor Matthew Hubbard of Laney College told Phuc Bui Diem Nguyen to "anglicize" her name
  • Phuc Bui apparently sounds like "f-ck boy" in English
  • The freshman student filed a discriminatory complaint and Hubbard has been placed on leave 

A professor from a California college has been put on leave after he told his Asian American student to change her name because it sounded like an insult.

Professor Matthew Hubbard, a white American instructor of Mathematics at Laney College in Oakland, California, told freshman Phuc Bui Diem Nguyen to "anglicize" her name to avoid embarrassing those who have to call her.

Apparently, Hubbard told the student that "Phuc Bui" sounded like "f-ck boy" in English, which he said is "an offensive sound in my language." Hubbard's message to the student was posted as screenshots on social media by Nguyen's sister.

"This teacher had the ignorance and audacity to tell my sister to anglicized her name is disgusting," the sister wrote. "As a professor, he should be trying to learn her name and culture and not try to whitewash her name."

The student told her professor that his request to change the name her parents gave her was discriminatory. She said that she will file a complaint with the Title IX Office, which protects any person from discrimination in education programs based on their sex.

According to Nguyen, she received Hubbard's email on her second day of school. She told ABC News that she didn't know the meaning of "anglicize" and had to Google up what her professor wanted. To anglicize is to change a word in English form.

"I was shook because growing up, they were problems with how to pronounce my name, but they would ask me how to pronounce my name," Nguyen said.

An Asian American college student was told by her professor to "anglicize" her name because it sounded insulting. Pixabay

On Thursday (June 18), Laney College president Tammeil Gilkerson wrote a letter to the community to say that an investigation has been launched into the case and that Hubbard is on administrative leave.

"On the surface this incident is obviously disturbing and comes after decades of discussing and working to combat structural racism, xenophobia, and violence in both the Black and Asian Pacific Islander community,” Gilkerson said. “While our mission has been bold and unrelenting, we also recognize that our college and its community is a reflection of broader society and we must actively fight ignorance with education. We do not tolerate racism, discrimination or oppression of any kind.”

Nguyen also said that she received a personal apology from the school vice president, but she wants Hubbard to also apologize.