Ms. Nguyen could not immediately be reached for comment on Saturday.
Professor Hubbard said Ms. Nguyen was in his online trigonometry class, which had about 30 students.
Professor Hubbard, who has taught at the college for 15 years, said in a phone interview on Saturday that there were two people in his class with the surname Nguyen. He said he sent his initial email on Wednesday night partly to prevent confusion with the other student, and partly because he was uncomfortable using Ms. Nguyen’s name.
Seeing that another student had changed his online name inspired Professor Hubbard to ask Ms. Nguyen if she would do the same. Eventually, he asked all of his students to change their Zoom names for Thursday’s class to their last name and their first initial, he said.
“The first email was a mistake, and I made it thinking about another student willing to Anglicize,” Professor Hubbard said. “But it’s a big difference with someone doing it voluntarily and asking someone to do it. The second email is very offensive, and if I had waited eight hours, I would’ve written something very different.”
The Peralta Federation of Teachers, the union that represents Laney College faculty members, said on Saturday that it was hoping to institute diversity and equity training by the fall but that plans were still in the early stages.
“I am shocked and appalled by the racist comments we are seeing online from a Laney faculty member to a student,” Jennifer Shanoski, the union’s president, said in a statement. “In no way are these comments or assertions acceptable in our diverse, welcoming, educational environment.”
John C. Yang, president and executive director of Advancing Justice — AAJC, a nonprofit organization that works to advance civil and human rights for Asian-Americans, said he was “deeply offended” by the professor’s actions.