Boston University Expresses “Deep Sadness” Over “Racism and Bigotry” In Aftermath of Grundy Comments

GrundyPic-150x150Boston_University_seal.svgBoston University has been widely criticized for its response to racially-charged comments of its newest professor, Saida Grundy, an incoming assistant professor of sociology and African-American studies. Various news outlets are reporting that BU alums have threatened to withdraw support from the school over hiring a professor who has denounced “white men as a “problem population” and called “white masculinity . . . THE problem for america’s (sic) colleges.” Grundy has made her Twitter account private and refused to make any comments to the media about her past comments that have been denounced as both racist and sexist.

As discussed in the prior story, Colin Riley, the university spokesman, issued a statement standing by Grundy and, correctly, stating that this is an act of free speech. Many academics, including this one, believe that this is protected speech, but that does not prevent the university from denouncing such comments.

Riley has now issued a statement that ” … we are deeply saddened when anyone makes such offensive statements.” The university further stated that it “does not condone racism or bigotry in any form and we are deeply saddened when anyone makes such offensive statements.” It may not do much to quell the anger among alums over the hiring itself or the delayed sense of “regret” expressed in the comments.

Many alums are suggesting that, had this been a white professor calling blacks the problem on campuses, there would have been an order terminating the contract. I hope that BU would adopt a consistent approach in such cases, but in the end the damage is likely to linger. Universities are facing tremendous financial pressures today and BU has long been the poorer relation to its neighbors, Harvard and MIT, in terms of fundraising. This will not help. However, the university is correct in maintaining the right of Brundy to be able to speak freely, particularly given the connection of this speech to her academic research. One can question the hiring decision on its merits in terms of such scholarship, but academics should be allowed to make controversial, even offensive, comments in their public writings.

What do you think?

89 thoughts on “Boston University Expresses “Deep Sadness” Over “Racism and Bigotry” In Aftermath of Grundy Comments”

  1. Believing in free speech is not the same thing as believing you should not be held accountable for your speech.

    This woman is free to say what she wants even if she demonstrates that she is unfit to be a professor in a university.

  2. I still defer to DBQ. Advertising and marketing is one part of my business, and if she was a spokesperson for my company, there would be a problem. She could be protected by a pseudo, many of us are on this blog, so we can carry on such conversations, but using her position as a sounding board would not fly with me, for obvious reasons. Do I want to control what she thinks or has to say? Absolutely not, she just shouldn’t use my venue as a sounding board. If she feels that strongly, maybe she should find a position that is more suitable for ideals. I have certain types of businesses that I do not solicit because they are not inline with what I like to do. Indeed, two separate issues.

  3. Squeeky, the WWF currently stands for the World Wildlife Fund. The World Wrestling Federation changed its name to World Wrestling Entertainment in 2002, and its abbreviation is now WWE.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WWE

    The name is actually more descriptive now, because professional wrestling promotions are not legitimate sporting contests, but purely entertainment-based shows, featuring storyline-driven, scripted, and choreographed matches. The company publicly acknowledged this in 1981.

    Unfortunately, Reality is not exactly scripted either, though it often seems like it must be because the Bad Guys appear to win so often. The truth is that Big Money owns and controls everything materially important. Fighting back is futile most of the time, and even when you do win, it is temporary, or the controllers only let it look like you won so they could accomplish something else more important that they really wanted to do.

    Members of the audience in a professional wrestling show would never be allowed to grab a chair and hit anyone over the head with it. That’s why there are numerous huge security guards there. The promoters would stand to lose a lot of money, or their insurance rates would go way up if anyone not in the program could act out this way. What they want to do is make a lot of money off of you, the audience.

    It’s the same in real life. People pay a lot of money to be fooled into thinking what they do makes a difference, but it’s all an illusion. What happens is what Big Money wants to happen.

  4. “It is that kind of fight, and if we aren’t willing to get muddy and dirty right along with them, then we have lost. Which we have, because we won’t.

    Dead on.

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