A professor at Duke University has stepped down from an administrative role after an email in which she asked Chinese students to speak English went viral online.
According to a report from Insider Higher Ed, Duke University Professor Megan Neely has stepped down from her position as the Director of Graduate Studies after an email she sent to Duke graduate students went viral online.
In the email, Neely said that there are “unintended consequences” for students who are speaking Chinese in campus buildings.
PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE keep these unintended consequences in mind when you choose to speak in Chinese in the building. I have no idea how hard it has been and still is for you to come to the U.S. and have to learn in a non-native language. As such, I have the upmost respect for what you are doing. That being said, I encourage you to commit to using English 100 percent of the time when you are in Hock or any other professional setting.
She encouraged foreign students to commit to using English in campus buildings, allegedly for the purpose of increasing their comfort level with English as their second language. “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,” Neely added in the email.
The Asian Students Associated fired back at Neely for the email, calling it “discriminatory and threatening.”
“Sending such emails to the entire department with discriminatory and threatening language is in no way an effective and appropriate approach to achieve a quiet public work space that is respectful for everyone,” the group said in a statement. “For graduate and international students who are already in precarious situations, depending on education or employment to stay in the country, these ‘recommendations’ are doubly forceful and coercive.”
The email was sent on Friday. By Monday, Neely had already stepped down from her position. Neely is still employed by Duke and will likely continue on as a professor of biostatistics.
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