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 said the faculty members asked to see photos of masters students so they could identify the ones they heard speaking Chinese and "remember them if the students ever interviewed for an internship or asked to work with them for a master's project". In an earlier email from Neely, she expressed similar sentiments, castigating Chinese global students for speaking in Mandarin while carrying on private conversations.
Klotman said she had asked Duke's office of institutional equity to conduct a thorough review of the master's program, adding a "personal pledge" that the matter would be "addressed quickly and sensitively".
She added that she had the utmost respect for global students.
'This behavior is not only hypocritical -given Duke's dependence on worldwide students and faculty for their undergraduate and graduate programs, desire to present itself as a "global university", and partnership with Duke Kunshan University (in China) - but also discriminatory, ' the statement said. They wrote, "we are disheartened... when Duke's faculty members implied that students of diverse national origin would be punished in academic and employment opportunities for speaking in their native language outside of classroom settings". She will remain an assistant professor of biostatistics and bioinformatics. As of January 27, the petition had over 1,900 signatures.
In a letter dated Saturday, a group of worldwide students at Duke petitioned the university to investigate what happened leading up to Neely's email, including the actions of the other faculty members.
The Duke Asian Students Association also issued a statement over the weekend slamming the Friday email as discriminatory and hypocritical, especially 'given Duke's dependence on global students and faculty for their undergraduate and graduate programs'.
"I asked why they were curious about the students' names".
As of Sunday night, millions on Weibo had viewed the hashtag "Duke University bans speaking Chinese", while "Duke University professor who banned speaking Chinese resigns" was the ninth-most trending hashtag. She also stepped down from her administrative position.
Across all of Duke's graduate and professional programs, 1,300 of about 8,500 students come from China, according to university data.
The medical school's dean, Mary Klotman, confirmed Neely's letter to students on Saturday and shared that Neely had resigned from her role.
Klotman said students' career opportunities and recommendations would not be influenced by what language they chose to use outside the classroom. It's expected to examine which faculty members complained to Neely. But in private conversations with only Chinese students, we would prefer Chinese, ' Zhang said. When there are English speakers around, you should speak their language, even if you have Chinese friends around.
Ken Lee, chief executive of OCA-Asian Pacific American Advocates, said he was disappointed by what he described as an "ignorance and hateful bias against students".
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