Duke University professor warns master’s students not to speak ‘Chinese’

A Duke University professor has stepped down as the head of a master’s program after sending emails warning her students not to speak Chinese in the building.

Megan Neely emailed her first- and second-year students in the Master of Biostatistics Program on Jan. 25, 2019, saying she was approached by two faculty members who complained about international students speaking Chinese on campus lounges and study areas.

“To international students, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE keep these unintended consequences in mind when you choose to speak in Chinese in the building,” said Neely’s recent email. “I encourage you to commit to using English 100% of the time when you are in Hock or any other professional setting.”

Neely sent a similar email last year on Feb. 28, 2018, with the title, “To Speak English or To Not Speak English.”

“Continuing this practice may make it harder for you and future international students to get research opportunities while in the program,” Neely’s email said.

The dean of Duke University’s School of Medicine, Mary E. Klotman, apologized for Neely’s message saying there is no limitation or restriction on the language that students can use.

Klotman also asked the university’s Office of Institutional Equity to conduct a review of the program for any improvements that could be made.

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