When UC Santa Barbara art professor Kip Fulbeck visited a colleague’s class as a guest lecturer last year, he grew fed up with students who slept, played with their phones or left for the restroom and didn’t come back. He noticed that many of the offenders seemed to be international students from China.
So when he came to that class again this fall to speak about his artistic journey, he opened with a PowerPoint set of rules:
Turn your phones off. Go to the bathroom now. He spelled out his expectations in English — and Chinese.
Some students gasped. Others shrugged it off. Several snapped photos of the list and posted them on Chinese-language social media. Soon, a Chinese student group had raised the specter of discrimination and launched a petition drive, demanding an official explanation.
David Marshall, UC Santa Barbara executive vice chancellor, said he saw both sides and asked all parties to sit down to discuss the incident. The course’s professor apologized in class and in a statement to the student group.