US professor steps down after asking students not to speak Chinese | SBS News

A Duke University professor has stepped down after she sent an email requesting students not speak Chinese, implying it was “impolite”.

In an email sent to medical students, Megan Neely, director of graduate studies, told said that two faculty members had heard people speaking Chinese in the common areas, according to Duke’s student newspaper.

The faculty members told Ms Neely that they had observed students “speaking Chinese (in their words, VERY LOUDLY), in the student lounge/study areas”.

She continued: “They wanted to write down the names so they could remember them if the students ever interviewed for an internship or asked to work with them for a masters project.”

Ms Neely warned of “unintended consequences”. 

“They were disappointed that these students were not taking the opportunity to improve their English and were being so impolite as to have a conversation that not everyone on the floor could understand.”

In a letter to the students, Dean Mary Klotman apologised for the email and said there were no restrictions on whatever language students chose to speak on campus.

Many on Twitter and Chinese social media were outraged a professor could suggest a language should not be spoken in public areas.

This is a clear double standard. I was on the Duke university study abroad program in Beijing/ Nanging China. The native English speakers on the program spoke English to each other at least 95% of their down time… at best, peppering their English with a few Chinese words…

— Stefanie Trice Gill (@stefanietg)

My email to Dr Megan Neely of @DukeU.#MeganNeely #racist #DukeUniversity

— Zen Chang (@ZenChangLaw)

So Duke University doesn’t want its international grad students to speak in their language… while they’re chatting in the hallways of the buildings. “This might bring unintended consequences such as not being hired as TA or RA…” Outraging

— Ángela Castillo Ardila (@castilloangela_)

The dean said the university would conduct a review of the program in response to the emails that surfaced on the weekend.

The Duke Chronicle reported Ms Neely had been stood down from the director of graduate studies role, but remained as an assistant professor.

This content was originally published here.

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