Remove Racist Professor From the Position of Leading a Training Program for Students

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*「Fire Racist Hitotsubashi University Professor John F. Mancuso」
http://chng.it/VGCCCrvQjC

Who We Are
We are representatives from the Spain branch of Anti-Racism Information Center (ARIC), a Japanese NGO that was founded by students and youth researchers in Tokyo in 2015. ARIC monitors hate-speech, hate groups, and other hate related activities. It is the first member organization from Asia to participate in Football Against Racism in Europe (FARE), an international anti-racist network based in Europe that cooperates with Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA).
 
Our Campaign:
Since 2008, the Spanish company Bergé Logistics has held a short-term, company-training program for students at Hitotsubashi University, one of the top universities in Japan. However a faculty leader of this program, John F. Mancuso an associate professor at Hitotsubashi University, has repeatedly used his classroom to incite discrimination against minority students. Therefore, we demand the immediate removal of racist professor John Mancuso from the position of leading this training program for students at the Bergé Logistics in Spain.
 
Professor Mancuso & the Hitotsubashi-Bergé Logistics Training Program
Bergé Logistics is a logistics company based in Bilbao, a city in Spain and the company’s history spans nearly 150 years. In recent years, Bergé Logistics has kept a business partnership with Toyota Spain under the Toyota Motor Corportion (TMC) and leads the country in imports of Japanese cars (footnote 1).
From 1992 to 1994, Jaime Gorbeña, the current chairman of Bergé Logistics, took part in a company-training program hosted by Toyota, and in 2008 Bergé Logistics launched an annual short-term, company-training program for students at Hitotsubashi University in Tokyo (footnote 2, 3).
However while the training program has no doubt benefitted many students over the years, we believe it is unacceptable that John F. Mancuso, a professor who has perpetrated a number of discriminatory acts against students over many years, is currently a lead faculty advisor of this program(footnote 4).


Troubling Incidents of Discrimination 
On June 4th 2019, Professor Mancuso made the following statements in one of his classes (Presentation Skills in English I) in reference to a student of Korean descent currently enrolled at Hitotsubashi University. A recording (1) of these statements can be accessed at the URL below (this recording was given to ARIC by an anonymous student who recorded professor Mancuso in his classroom right before one of his classes):
(Recording 1) June 4th 2019, 1st period   (URL)

  • -       He referred to the student as “that f**king Korean gook.” (footnote5)
    -       In a conversation with another student he stated, ”I’ll teach you a new word, ‘Bakachon.’ Woo! He just heard that! He lost his mind. He just lost his mind. Bakachon? Bakachon is stupid ethnic Korean mother f**ker in Japanese. He just f**king lost his mind... It's like the N-word.”

“Gook” is a pejorative used against people of Asian descent in English-speaking countries (reference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gook “Bakachon” is also a discriminatory word in Japanese used to degrade Koreans. In this context, it is obvious that Professor Mancuso used these words with malicious intent. (Additionally later on in the recording after comparing ‘Baka-chon’ and the N-Word, Professor Mancuso also advises the student not to use the N-word as “you don’t use that without reason to die basically,” essentially implying that a non-black person who uses the N-word is subject to be killed by blacks, another incredibly discriminatory sentiment.)
 
On May 7th, 2019 during the same class period, Professor Mancuso made the following statements against the same student of Korean descent (a recording of which can be accessed at the URL below):
 (Recording 2) May 7th 2019, 1st period   (URL)

  • - Professor Mancuso states, “If you are recording this, in my opinion, Koreans are bunch of f**king idiots! You are out of your mind, Get psychological help! Just get psychological help, a**-hole.”

In the above context, not only does Professor Mancuso degrade Koreans as a whole, but in telling the student to “get psychological help” he also plays on the idea that Koreans are insane, a well established racist trope in Japan.

Furthermore, Professor Mancuso has included a so-called “Freedom of Speech Agreement” (that basically enabled him to justify his own discriminatory acts) in his syllabus since 2018 and declared both his class and office as a “Free Speech Zone.” In this way, Professor Mancuso forced any student who decided to take his class or enter his office to comply with this racist “Agreement.”
 
Some of the most problematic clauses of the “Agreement” are listed below:

  • - “Each student and the teacher (Professor Mancuso) has the right to… communicate without being told that they are racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, etc., or violating a safe space.”
  • - “Each student and the teacher agrees that… no complaints will be made to anyone in or outside of this academic institution regarding any communication exchange.”

(More details about the incidents of discrimination committed by Professor Mancuso are available on ARIC’s other petition campaign demanding the immediate dismissal of Mancuso from Hitotsubashi titled, “Fire Racist Hitotsubashi University Professor John F. Mancuso”)

Hitotsubashi: A University That Refuses to Respond Appropriately to Acts of Discrimination in a Country with no Established Anti-Discrimination Legislation
Japan is the only “first-world” country that has no official anti-discrimination laws. In addition, Hitotsubashi University, a leading public university in Japan, has not yet established a system to penalize discrimination on campus. The suicide of a gay student in the graduate school of law at Hitotsubashi who was forcibly outed (having his sexual orientation disclosed) has shown the dangers of lacking comprehensive policies that tackle discrimination at the university (footnote 6).
 
Our Demands:
We demand that Bergé Logistics support our efforts to ensure that every student, member of the faculty at Hitotsubashi University, and participating staff from Bergé Logistics actively working to create a safe and equitable environment for all during the company-training program for students. In order to realize this goal, we demand the following:

  1. The immediate removal of racist Professor Mancuso from the position of leading the Bergé Logistics company training program for Hitotsubashi University students in Spain.
  2.  That Bergé Logistics establish a set of rules or policies that aim to prevent harassment and discrimination during the short-term company training program. In addition, we urge Bergé Logistics to require all participating students and faculty members, as well as participating members from Bergé Logistics to take part in a mandatory anti-discrimination and sensitivity training session.
  3. That Bergé Logistics reflect on Mancuso’s discriminatory actions and use this opportunity to create a company environment free from harassment and discrimination.

Please support our efforts to ensure that the Bergé Logistics company-training program is a comfortable and safe environment for all student participants.
 
Through this petition to Bergé Logistics, we at ARIC are also dedicated to building a better Hitotsubashi University, one that is committed to fighting against racism and other forms of discrimination with the goal of creating a safe and equitable educational environment for all. Please support our cause by signing our petition!

In Solidarity,
Centro Informativo Anti Racismo (ARIC Spanish Branch)
 
References/Notes
(1)     Link for the Website of Bergé Logistics:
https://bergelogistics.com/en/who-we-are/

(2)     Business Partnership Between Bergé Logistics and Toyota Spain Under TOYOTA MOTOR CORPORATION (The article is in Japanese):
https://global.toyota/jp/detail/1937311

(3)     Link for the promotional video of the training program for students in Spain:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G1x1wmq1X54&feature=youtu.be

(4)     Link for the page of the training program for students on the Website of Hitotsubashi University:
http://international.hit-u.ac.jp/jp/courses/short-term/spain/index.html

(5)     In Japanese law, a recording of any conversation (regardless of whether or not permission was granted for the recording) is not immediately considered illegal. As Japan has no legislation that explicitly prohibits discrimination or harassment, obtaining evidence in the form of a recording is virtually the only means that can be used to resist against discrimination and harassment. During the #MeToo movement in Japan, recording was the predominant method used by victims to expose perpetrators. The recordings of Professor Mancuso shown here were provided by an anonymous student who sought to obtain evidence against Professor Mancuso as Hitotsubashi University has continued to be silent about Professor Mancuso’s behavior.

(6)https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2019/02/27/national/crime-legal/court-rejects-damages-claim-hitotsubashi-university-death-outed-gay-student/#.XY3kzy3AN0t
 

「Fire Racist Hitotsubashi University Professor John F. Mancuso」
http://chng.it/VGCCCrvQjC