Faculty at Duke University Medical Center have been criticized for asking international students to speak only English. The controversy started when an administrator of the biostatistics program sent an email after hearing complaints from faculty members that Chinese students were speaking “VERY LOUDLY” in their native language in “student lounge/study areas.” The faculty expressed concern that students “were not taking the opportunity to improve their English and were being so impolite.”
Also in the email, the administrator said that faculty asked for students’ names so that they might deny them job and project opportunities.
Students took offense and started a petition. In response, the administrator of the program stepped down from her position, and the university posted a letter to students in the program.
What’s your view of international students speaking in their native language at an American University?
Was the administrator out of line? Why or why not?
How do you assess the university’s response to the controversy?
What leadership character dimensions are at play?