Idaho State University Ruined My Husband's Future. Please Help Us Right This Injustice. | Speaking of China

69 Responses

  1. Autumn
    Autumn May 18, 2016 at 8:27 am | | Reply

    Oh, wow, that is miserable. I know they allege unsatisfactory progress, but do you have any idea what their actual motivation was? That seems crazy to me. I’ll have to have Brilliant Blonde Lawyer Sister take a look.

  2. Susan
    Susan May 18, 2016 at 9:24 am | | Reply

    This type of academic misconduct is always very shocking but certainly not unprecedented, and international graduate students are very vulnerable. You and Jun are two very brave young people to take on an institution of higher learning in the courts, and to have incurred your past and future expenses. I think that universities that abuse and exploit their graduate students in this manner count on the relative poverty of most grad students to protect them from being held accountable. Have you made contact with the ACLU? They might be able to assist you, as it sounds as if racial bias is a significant factor in this case. When I have more time later, I will read up on some of your documents.

    In the short time that I have been following your blog, I have been so impressed by your fine character, and in my highly biased fashion have no doubt of the validity of Jun’ s case. I look forward to making a donation to your fundraiser, but unfortunately it will be small as I am on a fixed income and have dependents.

    On a humorous note, I read what I assume is the title of Jun’s thesis, and think that it must have taken a courageous soul to undertake behavioral family therapy in China, what with the strength of Chinese families and the profound cultural differences between traditional Chinese culture and western style psychological theories. Go Jun!

    You two have some stressful days ahead, so hang loose. Having grown up in academia, it is my guess that if the Psychology Dept. at Jun’ s former university proves to be a financial liability to the school at large, they will be quite ruthless in cutting who ever or what ever is or was responsible for this injustice loose. But it could take awhile in the courts. Thank goodness Jun has such a loyal wife and family to back him up!

    Best wishes

  3. Susan Cao
    Susan Cao May 18, 2016 at 9:28 am | | Reply

    I am so sorry to hear about this. I know some good faculty at ISU (less than a day’s drive from my home at WSU), but I admit that I am not familiar with the psychology program there at all. I will do all I can to help.

  4. Holly Hollins
    Holly Hollins May 18, 2016 at 10:26 am | | Reply

    This is terrible! And complete utter racism on ISU’s part.

    Everything makes sense now after this post. Is this partially the reason why you came back to China?

    I remember a long time ago that your husband was doing a PhD in psychology and always wondered what happened with that.

    (wow, that shows how long I’ve been following your blog and I think it’s been since 2010!)

  5. AA
    AA May 18, 2016 at 1:53 pm | | Reply

    You should talk to and get involved in with some Asian American activist organizations perhaps they can put pressure on the university.

  6. Jenna Cody
    Jenna Cody May 18, 2016 at 3:18 pm | | Reply

    Wow – they did that and never actually gave a reason? Nothing in a letter, no explanation, just “you’re dismissed” and they thought that was the end of it?

    I didn’t even know that was possible!

    (Even if the “reason” is nonsense and the actual issue is racial discrimination, I’m surprised they didn’t even offer a fig-leaf reason).

  7. Marilyn
    Marilyn May 18, 2016 at 3:49 pm | | Reply

    Hey I was wondering if you have considered posting Jun’s story onto other major websites and discussion forums?

    A quick google search shows that there are many news outlets that have covered Jun’s story back at the end of 2015. Some of these online articles seem sympathetic to his cause– would emailing them and asking them to post another article about Jun and your donation link work?

  8. Sorrel
    Sorrel May 18, 2016 at 5:05 pm | | Reply

    That sucks (understatement).
    My first reaction is that there must be university/academic records outlining any disciplinary procedure taken against a student, as there would be due process to be followed should a student encounter difficulties with achieving set academic standards.
    To go from zero contact/problems to a dismissal without any intervening steps sounds wrong on a very basic level.

    A quick search found a ‘POLICIES AND PROCEDURES (ISUPP) STUDENT CONDUCT SYSTEM’ document for Idaho State University.

    It outlines processes and procedures for any disciplinary action to be taken which include an initial warning of what conduct is being called into question.
    According to my experience in my home university as a teacher, care is take to ensure all problems are addressed by due process and students advised of their rights and responsibilities.

    If Idaho State University have failed to follow due process in Jun’s case, then they have certainly left themselves open for lawsuits.

    I can well understand the added stress of having to deal with this from such a distance and the additional burden this places on you.

    I know many of us here would support your struggle for justice as China would benefit enormously from as dedicated an individual as Jun bringing Behavioural therapy to families there.

  9. Alex Lee
    Alex Lee May 18, 2016 at 7:34 pm | | Reply

    Get the Chinese government to help you. Explain to them that if this can happen to one Chinese national it can also happen to other Chinese nationals. Get John to speak to Chinese officials in China. Do it now. Don’t waste time.

  10. FYI
    FYI May 18, 2016 at 9:14 pm | | Reply

    My sympathy to your husband situation. The followings were my experience which might be useful.

    After my college in China, I experienced numerous setbacks and unfair treatments including one similar to your husband situation. After two years in oversea graduate school toward my PhD degree, I was fired by department Chairman against all my graduate mentor and other advisers. I had the best GPA that school could ever had. My mentor told me that Chairman somehow just did not like me. Other graduate students with much inferior record could continue but I was fired due to “lack of progress”. You all know that department Chairman is the `king’ who can fire any one including professors in the department. It is the rule in USA that any new Chairman would fire all professors from prior era and hire all new professors under new Chairman. No matter how brilliant your record is. New ruler has that kind of power to change regime. Quite a lot of my current colleagues change their job due to such change of Chairman. It is unspoken rule in USA. Even new US president would appoint new officials in new administration.

    Thus the boss has the right to terminate any one without reason. Most people just move on without fight (Not worth it, not winnable)

    I understand such rule in USA. I just move on with my life and went to different school to get my PhD. I had many other setbacks with unfair treatment. Most time I choose to move on and make better life instead of fighting. Cost/benefit analysis would help me to choose my battle.

    In the hindsight, this PhD degree really did not do much for my career success. Again do not give too much weight for the degree which is no guarantee of success. I knew quite a few losers with PhD degrees from USA working on low-skill jobs due to their less professional capability.

    On the other hand, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg gave up their Harvard degree and became college `dropout’. They realized that college degree is form of social approval. For capable people, they do not need social approval to be successful. In reality, it is social underclass who cares so much their social approval or popularity.

    My advice is that fight not worth it.

  11. Charlotte
    Charlotte May 18, 2016 at 9:34 pm | | Reply

    I cannot imagine what this has done to the both of you; I’m so sorry that you’ve had to go through all of this for the past three years. It’s good that you’re able to share the story now and get the support–emotional and financial–to help you get through this.

  12. Chi
    Chi May 19, 2016 at 1:49 am | | Reply

    This seemed to be a clear cut of racism. I don’t see how they can justify not giving you your phd degree. I hope you will a lawsuit against them and sue all the people involved in this. They should be held personally responsible since they basically ruined your life.

  13. Henry Yeh
    Henry Yeh May 19, 2016 at 2:04 am | | Reply

    Academic discrimination against Asians is nothing new. Schools, under pressure from other more politically influential groups & their associated politicians, have been giving Asians the short end since who knows when.
    Sadly, this discrimination does not only comes from the “right”, but from the “left” as well. Asians have been presented by the media as the enemy of “progressive” groups: Black, Latinos, women (hay Asians are a bunch of male-chauvinistic pigs right?), environmental groups, etc. In fact, I think the “political correctness” bunch has done more damage to Asians in recent years than the Trump/KKK types.

  14. Fred
    Fred May 19, 2016 at 3:44 am | | Reply

    Hi J.E.,

    Since you have now revealed the story of the discrimination, I hoped that you found my legal consultation helpful to your husband’s case, even though it was outside my area of expertise.

    All the best to your lovie hubby.


  15. Grace Buchele
    Grace Buchele May 19, 2016 at 1:17 pm | | Reply

    I am so sorry to hear about all of this. You and Jun are very brave to try to fight ISU about this and I REALLY hope you are able to right this injustice!

  16. Judith
    Judith May 19, 2016 at 3:09 pm | | Reply

    Hi Jocelyn,

    The link to the fundraiser doesn’t seem to be working, If I click the link I see a notice saying:

    “Something isn’t quite right. The page did not load correctly or in a reasonable time. Sorry for the inconvenience but please try restarting your browser and loading the page again.”

    Let’s hope you can have this fixed soon!

    All the best, luck & strength in this difficult time!


  17. Marta
    Marta May 19, 2016 at 6:38 pm | | Reply


    I mentioned your case to my bf and he told me his colleague, who studied in Australia, also sued his school there. Not only him. ALL the Chinese students in the class failed the same subject and they sued together. They won.

    Good luck!! How much money will they have to pay you and Jun for the time you spent on the proceedings, his lost salaries during these years, psychological damages, etc? I hope it is a LOT and they think about it twice next time.

  18. Nicki Chen
    Nicki Chen May 20, 2016 at 6:20 am | | Reply

    Not being a lawyer or an academic, I don’t have any advice to give.

    I do have a story about discrimination, though. My nephews, American born Chinese, were top students in their school in Millbrae, CA, a part of the country that has more than its share of smart Asians. When my brother-in-law tried to enroll them in the nearby Jesuit high school, the head master admitted that he turned them down for one reason and one reason only: They already had too many Chinese kids at the school. Luckily my nephews didn’t suffer from that case of discrimination. They did fine at the local high school and ended up at Princeton and Harvard.

    I think there was a time (maybe still) when UC Berkeley set a limit to how many Chinese they would accept.

    One of my daughters was thinking about getting a PhD in Psychology. (She became a lawyer instead.) But when she was looking, I noticed that most schools had only one or two openings in the field of Psychology. I wonder if the department was unhappy about filling up a majority of their openings with Asians. I don’t know if that was the case, but if so, it would be similar to the situation at the Jesuit high school and UC Berkeley.

    I’m so sorry you’ve been suffering as a result of this injustice, and I wish you all the luck in the world.

  19. KenM
    KenM May 20, 2016 at 5:35 pm | | Reply

    This is going around all the Asian forums on reddit and you’re getting a fair bit of positive feedback.

    As you’re considered to be one us.

  20. Monica
    Monica May 20, 2016 at 8:28 pm | | Reply

    Oh wow, I had no idea. I really hope he wins his case! It’s definitely suspicious why they would dismiss him like that. As a grad school student myself, I can completely empathize. I would be crushed if this happened to me. Good luck fighting this legal battle! It must be tough but lots of people are rooting for you!

  21. Traveller at heart
    Traveller at heart May 20, 2016 at 11:20 pm | | Reply

    The very best of luck to you and Jun in this dffcult time and in winning the case.

  22. X
    X May 21, 2016 at 1:52 am | | Reply

    As a Chinese graduate student myself, I can sympathize. I am lucky to be receiving mostly fair evaluations on paper, although I always wonder what they’re thinking in private.

    I have to say, it is sad that this even comes into consideration. I have had to choose my schools and professors based on whether the professors of interest had supervised another Asian student previously, not just based on their research, solely because I wanted to avoid any possibilities of this scenario happening.

    Wish you the best.

  23. G
    G May 21, 2016 at 4:45 am | | Reply

    Welcome to the Donald Trump vision of America. And this will happen again in places such as Idaho and southern states such as Alabama!

  24. Tiffany
    Tiffany May 21, 2016 at 10:05 am | | Reply

    I’m so sorry for the suffering this has caused Jun and yourself; getting my graduate degree was a huge part of my life, and I can’t imagine it being taken away so arbitrarily after the amount of time and effort that goes into any graduate degree. You’re both in my thoughts, and I’ll be donating what I can as well. Good luck in this fight and please keep us updated.

    (I’ve been reading your blog for years but rarely comment; just wanted to let you know you have my support.)

  25. Maria
    Maria May 21, 2016 at 10:22 am | | Reply

    Jun and Jocelyn: You have my full support during this difficult time, I am rooting for you both!

  26. Ivy
    Ivy May 21, 2016 at 3:24 pm | | Reply

    Reposted. Usually I follow your blog silently, but this post made me feel really emotional. My husband is a PhD student (Chinese student abroad) and I know how hard it can be. I hope Jun will win the case and will get his degree!

  27. 戏如人生
    戏如人生 May 22, 2016 at 11:24 pm | | Reply


  28. Jack
    Jack May 23, 2016 at 1:16 am | | Reply

    Hi Jocelyn,

    Just saw this. Very sorry to hear about Jun. I think it is pathetic a school would even try this.

    You might want to contact this organization in CA:

    They have many Asian American lawyers who do fight for civil rights.

  29. hopelessmisanthrope
    hopelessmisanthrope May 23, 2016 at 3:27 am | | Reply

    I have no idea about the merits of this particular case. But it wouldn’t surprise me if there is discrimination involved. Asians face more discrimination in academia than other groups (and not just involving affirmative action as mentioned above) but in cases of implicit racism. Take this study which showed that people with Chinese and Indian last names were far more likely to be ignored for inquiries to professors in emails despite having otherwise identical emails.

    In many environments from work to housing to schools, Asians face as much or more racism than other groups yet receive essentially no media attention. White liberals love championing causes for certain groups which confer on them social “brownie points” yet would not hesitate discriminating or tolerating discrimination against Asians.

    1. hopelessmisanthrope
      hopelessmisanthrope May 23, 2016 at 3:35 am | | Reply

      Oops. I linked to a study showing racism against Asians in employment. This is the study I was referring to showing discrimination in academia against people with Chinese last names.

  30. TLAG
    TLAG May 24, 2016 at 6:11 pm | | Reply

    Jocelyn, have you contact Chinese embassy about your case? How about Chinese media such as CCTV? I remember you did a program with them once!

    Try contact them! Everyone watch CCTV in China, so it is going to have big impact if they decide to following your case!

  31. TLAG
    TLAG May 24, 2016 at 6:25 pm | | Reply

    Also, have you heard of 陈光标? He is one of China’s well know philanthropist! And he likes to show off his ideas! He was doing cherity work in America with Bill Gates! If you can get his attention then he might help your case and donate fund to you!

    I think you really should contact as many Chinese media as possible, it will help your case!

  32. HB
    HB May 31, 2016 at 2:22 pm | | Reply

    I have a contact in CCTV’s Facebook team. I can pass this on to see if they are interested in your story. My soon-to-be wife (next month!) is Chinese and I couldn’t imagine this happening to her after working so hard and attending top universities up to this point. I know that there are a lot of predispositions that she faces as being Chinese, and that you and we face as being in inter-cultural relationships with Chinese spouses.



    PS I have a question if you don’t mind my asking: I notice you speak fluent Chinese (I’m assuming 普通话), does your husband have a preference on if you use English with him (to help his English language environment)? My fiancee is probably the best-spoken (accent and all) Chinese person you would ever meet, you wouldn’t in a million years guess she is native Chinese, and she doesn’t really find it necessary for me to learn Chinese (and hardly encourages it other than for it to help me while in China and for my future career, but she dreads the thought of having to use it with me). This doesn’t necessarily bother me, I’m just curious how other couples handle it, or if it’s unique for us as she is in the field of conference interpreting.

    I’m sorry to bring such a trivial question while you’re focused on such a difficult problem. I’m going to try to see if UnionPay works for the website. If not, I hope my Facebook share and messaged to CCTV helps in some way.

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