Duke University apologises over complaint about speaking Chinese


Duke University has apologised after a professor sent an email warning students not to speak Chinese, university newspaper, The Chronicle, reported on Monday.

Duke Medical School, Dean Mary Klotman, said that speaking a foreign language at the university was not a problem after a professor was demoted for urging students to speak English.

“There is absolutely no restriction or limitation on the language you use to converse and communicate with each other.

“Your career opportunities and recommendations will not in any way be influenced by the language you use outside the classroom.

“And your privacy will always be protected,’’ the dean said, adding that she asked the university’s Office for Institutional Equity to conduct a “thorough review.’’

The Chronicle reported Klotman as saying that Megan Neely was stepped down from her role as director of Graduate Studies in the Medical School’s Bio-statistics Master’s Programme a day after sending the email on Friday.

Neely, in the email, widely shared on social media, said that two faculty members went to her to try and identify students heard speaking Chinese “very loudly’’ in the student lounge and study areas.

“They were disappointed that these students were not taking the opportunity to improve their English and were being as impolite as to have a conversation that not everyone on the floor could understand,’’ Neely said in the email.

Neely, who according to the New York Times remained on the faculty as an assistant professor of biostatistics and bioinformatics, apologised for the “hurt’’ caused. (dpa/NAN)

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