When bilingualism becomes a threat
Duke faculty was dead wrong for telling Chinese students not to speak Chinese
Writer’s note: This post was originally published on January 28, 2019 on Chicago Now’s “Message from Montie” blog.
News regarding the Duke University professor who warned Chinese students not to speak in their native language made me reflect on some of my worst college memories.
But before I go into that, if you are unfamiliar with the story, here are a few tidbits:
Two faculty members (allegedly) complained to the professor that Chinese students were speaking Chinese in student lounges and study areas.
Those two faculty members (allegedly) asked for photographs of the Chinese-speaking students so they could “remember them if the students ever interviewed for an internship or asked to work with them for a master’s project.”
The professor sent an email to biostatistics students telling them to speak “English 100% of the time when you are in Hock or any other professional setting.”
Deja vu: Why book smarts don’t help with common decency
These professors immediately reminded me of a university I attended to earn a certificate in Chicago Manual Style. My employer at the time was paying for the series of courses while I was also in grad school at another university.
But after a comment I heard from a professor telling a student to go “back to her own country,” I refused to return. I continued on with grad school courses but never stepped foot on the other university’s campus again. Click here to read more about that.