Professor at Duke warns Chinese
students to only speak in English
A professor at Duke University sent an email urging students to converse in English after a couple of students were overheard speaking in Mandarin Chinese.
DURHAM, NORTH CAROLINA — Duke University professor Megan Neely, sent an email urging Chinese students to only speak in English while they were on school grounds or face consequences.
Two of Neely's colleagues told her a couple of international students were speaking in Chinese in the lounge or study areas, The Chronicle, Duke University's student newspaper, reports.
This is when Neely, then director of graduate studies for the biostatistic graduate program at Duke's School of Medicine, sent an email asking first and second-year graduate students to "commit to using English 100% of the time."
Neely said two faculty members had complained that the students were speaking "very loudly."
They said they were "disappointed" that the students weren't using the opportunity to "improve their English."
Screenshots of the email circulated on social media with one user tweeting: "Last time I checked, [the] U.S. doesn't have an official language."
The school faculty also wanted to record the names of the students speaking in Mandarin Chinese, according to the email.
One Chinese netizen took to social media site Weibo to complain that the incident was a case of "clear racial discrimination."
Another posted on Weibo: "Why is this okay? Do Chinese universities restrict foreign students from speaking in their mother tongue once they are out of the classroom?"
However, a third Weibo user took a more softer approach, writing: "Honestly, I don't think this is racism, people are being too sensitive to the issue. You should practice your English since you are overseas."
Neely has stepped down as director of graduate studies at Duke University's medical school after facing backlash for her email, The Chronicle reports.
She remains an assistant professor at the university.
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