Results 1 to 9 of 9
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Raleigh, NC

    Duke Apologizes Over Prof’s Email Asking Chinese Students to Speak English

    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/27/u...e-chinese.html

    Anyone see this?

    What a bad look for a professor to say something like this...

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by FerryFor50 View Post
    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/27/u...e-chinese.html

    Anyone see this?

    What a bad look for a professor to say something like this...
    Yep. In the Washington Post, with the words “Duke University” and a picture of the chapel prominently featured.
    Carolina delenda est

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by cato View Post
    Yep. In the Washington Post, with the words “Duke University” and a picture of the chapel prominently featured.
    What I don't get -

    Why is the person who sent the email getting punished, while the professors who approached her upset about their native language being ignored?
    "There can BE only one."

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Highlander View Post
    What I don't get -

    Why is the person who sent the email getting punished, while the professors who approached her upset about their native language being ignored?
    That is also my reaction. I don't think Neely's email was an appropriate way for her to respond, but it's forgivable and nowhere near as bad as the behavior she describes from the other two professors.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Highlander View Post
    What I don't get -

    Why is the person who sent the email getting punished, while the professors who approached her upset about their native language being ignored?
    Quote Originally Posted by Wander View Post
    That is also my reaction. I don't think Neely's email was an appropriate way for her to respond, but it's forgivable and nowhere near as bad as the behavior she describes from the other two professors.
    The reason she is being punished is that she spoke up on a forbidden/impolitic topic.

    Based on the quotes I read, she seems to have done it inexpertly, but I doubt there was the slightest bit of malice (or to use one of the other words thrown out there, xenophobia) involved by the professors. I think that she tried to side-step the actual core of the complaint by framing it a different way - that students should take the opportunity to learn language, culture, etc.

    Now there is some validity to such a viewpoint, and it might even be the case that there is a difference in terms of which foreign students embrace that opportunity more. I'll say that my experience at Duke definitely indicated that Europeans, South Americans, and south Asians integrated themselves more with the student culture than did East Asians. The idea that doing so is at the expense of their own heritage is a foolhardy zero-sum mentality.

    Ultimately though, that's not what this complaint is about. That was just window dressing to avoid saying something else outright: there is a problem with East Asian (international) students speaking very loudly in quiet spaces in their native language.

    I'm sure many of you who live in cities have observed this sort of behavior with any variety of foreign languages. Consider for a moment speaking loudly on the phone in English a public place where people don't have easy exit; e.g. a subway train. Most people consider that to be rude, although people have varying strength of opinions. I think most people have a similar response when someone speaks loudly in a foreign tongue in that situation, because the societal norm is that you should keep your conversation private and not be a bother to others. It seems that when speaking a foreign language, because people assume their words are not understood by bystanders, they act is if they are speaking privately when still in a public space. At least, that's always been my theory on the topic.

    In a dedicated study location in a university, it really is inappropriate behavior, and my experience at Duke was that it was predominantly East Asian international students who were the offenders.

    Coming back to the original complaint/email, it doesn't seem like a smart or even appropriate move to call out one group, because the point is a broader one. I think it's a shame when people treat a thing like this as something other than what it really is, though - an honest but somewhat inept attempt to discourage very rude behavior.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Durham, NC
    The local news report on this was interesting. One Asian student basically said he was offended and not surprised. Another said he thought she was just offering advice for their future success and did not mean it the way it was taken. Neither student showed his face on camera.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by BLPOG View Post

    Coming back to the original complaint/email, it doesn't seem like a smart or even appropriate move to call out one group, because the point is a broader one. I think it's a shame when people treat a thing like this as something other than what it really is, though - an honest but somewhat inept attempt to discourage very rude behavior.
    Isn't the "one group" the majority (67%) of students majoring in her subject?

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Jeffrey View Post
    Isn't the "one group" the majority (67%) of students majoring in her subject?
    I was sort of thinking about a broader Duke audience - I'm not sure how narrowly distributed the email was intended to be. I doubt 67% of her students are East Asian international students, but maybe I missed something in the article? Edit: In fact, I just went back and checked and it says "about 36 of 54" are Chinese, but I don't know what that means. If they are all international students, that's remarkable, and it while it would increase the relevance to "one group," it might actually decrease the need for specificity.

    My preferred "solution" to this sort of thing is to have an orientation day for international students where they talk about cultural standards and etiquette. I'm pretty sure they do have those orientations, and discussions of etiquette and the like are a common element in professional training (whether for students or people in the workforce) for people working with international partners. I wonder whether they make this specific point at Duke's version of international orientation, because they really should. It's a better delivery mechanism than an email. Inasmuch as I criticize the email, I only do it because I think people should be direct, and perhaps because the results were maddeningly predictable and unfortunate. The professor going to suffer for years for trying to minimize disruptions in study areas. Quite a shame, IMO.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Raleigh, NC
    Quote Originally Posted by BLPOG View Post
    I was sort of thinking about a broader Duke audience - I'm not sure how narrowly distributed the email was intended to be. I doubt 67% of her students are East Asian international students, but maybe I missed something in the article? Edit: In fact, I just went back and checked and it says "about 36 of 54" are Chinese, but I don't know what that means. If they are all international students, that's remarkable, and it while it would increase the relevance to "one group," it might actually decrease the need for specificity.

    My preferred "solution" to this sort of thing is to have an orientation day for international students where they talk about cultural standards and etiquette. I'm pretty sure they do have those orientations, and discussions of etiquette and the like are a common element in professional training (whether for students or people in the workforce) for people working with international partners. I wonder whether they make this specific point at Duke's version of international orientation, because they really should. It's a better delivery mechanism than an email. Inasmuch as I criticize the email, I only do it because I think people should be direct, and perhaps because the results were maddeningly predictable and unfortunate. The professor going to suffer for years for trying to minimize disruptions in study areas. Quite a shame, IMO.
    But she wasn't calling them out for being loud. She was calling them out for not practicing their English *and* for being loud.

    That's the crux of this issue and is really not a whole lot different than all the videos floating around of random people angrily telling others to "speak English in this country." Was it more polite? Sure. But as you said before - they should have called out the broader point if that was indeed the point they were trying to make, regardless of who is the more common offender.

Similar Threads

  1. Duke Student EMTs Save Professor in Cardiac Arrest
    By Tom B. in forum Elizabeth King Forum
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 09-17-2015, 05:56 PM
  2. Replies: 52
    Last Post: 05-29-2015, 11:17 AM
  3. Duke Professor Wins Nobel Prize in Chemistry
    By Bluedog in forum Elizabeth King Forum
    Replies: 13
    Last Post: 10-11-2012, 08:05 PM
  4. Duke game will be aired in Chinese
    By GODUKEGO in forum Elizabeth King Forum
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 01-11-2011, 03:27 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •