According to a Duke University official, Megan Neely, an assistant professor of biostatistics, regrets the email she sent to international students because of the uproar it caused. The email warned them to "use English 100% of the time" or risk being blacklisted by some faculty members.
She had to step down from her position as director of graduate studies for a school medicine program due to the incident. The email was leaked on social media over the weekend.
On Sunday, she sent a joint email to the students and gave a "sincere apology." From the email obtained by ABC News, Neely and Delong wrote in their email the following statements:
"We very much value our international students and their contributions to our program and we recognize that the message that was sent Friday was not appropriate. Although it was not meant to be hurtful, it came out that way and was clearly in error."
In the controversial email Neely wrote, she stated that she had received complaints from two faculty members about first-year students who spoke Chinese loudly in public areas of the department. She further stated, "They were disappointed that these students were not taking the opportunity to improve their English and were being so impolite as to have a conversation that not everyone on the floor could understand." Hence, she advised the students to "PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE keep these unintended consequences in mind when you choose to speak in Chinese in the building."
Some students posted her email on social media, became viral, and ensued a lot of backlash against Neely.
In a letter to students, Mary Klotman, the dean of the said university, stated that "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."