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Case 08.  Nondiscrimination based on national origin


International graduate students are routinely recruited into Professor Louise Kenso's department in large numbers. She notices that many of the international students are struggling to find a "niche" with their graduate cohort and have more problems being successful in the program. In most cases, these students are assigned to work as research assistants (RAs) with individual faculty members. When Professor Kenso comments on this to the director of graduate studies, she is told that international students are never appointed as Teaching Assistants because the department has had complaints from undergraduates in the past about their accents and language difficulties. A few are allowed to teach in their final semester.


  1. Is the pattern of appointing international students to RA positions detrimental to their professional development in any way? Is it discriminatory?
  2. What are the consequences of identifying all international students as having "language problems"?  Does the department have an obligation to provide resources for bringing international TAs into the classroom? How might this be accomplished?
  3. Are there university regulations about the hiring of international TAs? How are U.S. students with language deficiencies treated?

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