Editorial: UConn, UConn Health needs to do more in Nanda case

(Screenshot via Youtube)

On Jan. 30, 2017, the Daily Campus reported that a former orthodontic professor at UConn Health, named Dr. Ravindra Nanda, had made disparaging comments towards Muslim and Arab residents based on their nationalities, including alluding that they were terrorists. In a report obtained by the Associated Press, Nanda allegedly also threw out a job application from a female resident and allowed only North American residents to treat Caucasian patients. The report, which was released by UConn Health, apparently did not affect Nanda’s retirement last fall.

According to UConn Health, the matter was dealt with in a manner that matched the severity of the actions taken. Nanda’s lawyer said that the matter was dealt with in a confidential manner and had no impact on Nanda’s retirement, following an appeal by Nanda.

It seems odd to have to write this in 2018, but discrimination is never okay. As we have all witnessed over the last few years, not everyone is treated equally in this country. Minority groups across the country have been treated in a manner as if they are lower than everyone else. Ever since 9/11, Arabs and Muslims (and realistically all brown people) have been subjected to nationwide discrimination and scorn.

That kind of attitude can never exist or be allowed to incubate in a place like UConn. Universities are hubs of learning and places where different ideas can be exchanged. The idea that one person is better than another because of their race, religion, gender or sexual orientation is not one of them.

UConn Health said that it has done everything in its power to deal with the matter in a way that matched the severity of Nanda’s actions. If, however, we are to take Nanda’s lawyer’s word, then it would seem that Nanda actually faced no punishment.

UConn owes all of their students, no matter what their level, the opportunity to pursue a degree and receive an education without facing harassment or discrimination of any kind. Based on the reporting, UConn has failed. Students and faculty deserve to know that UConn will stand by them no matter how powerful their opponent is. Releasing information on whatever deal Nanda struck with UConn Health and removing his Professor Emeritus status would be a good place to start.