FSD 22-11 Thomas Keon letter for Senate

June 5, 2024

FSD 22-11 Thomas Keon letter for Senate


To: Thomas Keon and The Purdue University Board of Trustees

From: The Purdue University Northwest Faculty Senate

Regarding: Purdue University Northwest Chancellor Thomas Keon’s Racist Behavior


Thomas Keon’s behavior at PNW’s December 2022 Commencement was hurtful to students and faculty of Asian descent, prompted national and international condemnation, and tarnished Purdue University Northwest and the Purdue University System’s reputation locally, nationally, and internationally. Discussion of Chancellor Keon’s racist behavior and how it impacts Asian Americans was broadcast on national news networks, written about in regional, state, and Chicago newspapers, and posted online (YouTube, Facebook, etc.).


In response to Chancellor Keon’s actions, a statement of condemnation was signed by 1000 scholars from hundreds of US Universities; over 9,400 people signed a student-initiated petition calling for his resignation; dozens of statements and public demands for his removal have been released by Asian-American, Black, LGBTQ, and many other communities; and the Northwest Indiana Urban League has removed him from its Board.


At Purdue University Northwest, the Faculty Senate Executive Committee demanded Chancellor Keon’s resignation and 87% of PNW faculty who voted indicated “no confidence” in Chancellor Keon’s leadership.


Under Chancellor Keon, Purdue University Northwest has experienced many years of continual enrollment declines and funding challenges. Reversing this situation requires that the university have a positive image and leadership that is strongly supported by the local and university communities. Purdue University Northwest must demonstrate its support for diversity, equality, and inclusion. With Thomas Keon as chancellor, this is not possible.  In order to rebuild trust and support in the university from the local community and faculty, new leadership is needed.


The Purdue University Northwest Faculty Senate condemns Thomas Keon’s actions at the commencement and his poor leadership and calls for his resignation, and, if that resignation is not immediately forthcoming, the PNW Faculty Senate asks the Board of Trustees to remove Thomas Keon from his position as Chancellor of PNW.