A now-retired UConn Health orthodontics professor subjected Muslim and Arab resident doctors to offensive comments about their nationalities according to a report obtained by the Associated Press.
Dr. Ravindra Nanda allegedly called Arab and Muslim resident doctors members of the Islamic state and commented that the FBI might think he is building an “ISIS cell” due to the number of Arab and Muslim people in his program, according to the Associated Press. The report also alleges that he only allowed North American residents to treat Caucasian patients and tossed out a job application from a female resident doctor.
Nanda retired last fall, more than a year after the report was issued by UConn Health’s Office of Institutional Equity, and he has denied all accusations, according to the Associated Press. The Associated Press said the Office of Institutional Equity found the testimony of several resident doctors to be credible.
“At a time when there are enough tensions in the United States, the types of (statements) Nanda made are extremely dangerous,” Shaheer Syed Hassan, a member of the UConn Muslim Student Association said. “The future medical professionals of America deserve to be respected, educated and employed regardless of their religions, ethnicities and backgrounds.”
Hassan said he is concerned that incidents like this harm the image of Muslims, many of whom have much to offer to this country.
“There is enough backlash from mainstream media and perception against Muslims,” Hassan said. “This attitude is detrimental to the success of our nation as it affects our nation’s abilities to recruit talented individuals.”
UConn Health Chief Communications Officer Chris Hyers said leaders on campus took “appropriate measures” in response to the findings Thursday, according to the Associated Press.
“UConn Health does not tolerate discrimination, harassment or retaliation in the workplace or its learning environments,” Hyers said in a statement as reported by the Associated Press.
Ellen Keane, one of the investigators, recommended UConn consider disciplining Nanda and that measures be taken immediately “to protect residents against further discrimination, harassment and retaliation,” according to the Associated Press.
Nanda’s lawyer Jacques Parenteau said Thursday that Nanda appealed the report’s findings and the process ended with a confidential resolution and that the investigation had no bearing on Nanda’s retiring, according to the Associated Press.
Anna Zarra Aldrich is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. She tweets @ZarraAnna.