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. Am I dreaming?
    In the aftermath of Je suis charlie, of Garland, of PEN…we dare her for speaking her mind?
    Either there is freedom of speech or there isn’t.
    The same ones calling for others to just take it are the ones overly sensitive when they are being fingered?
    you must be kidding!

  2. Universities exist under de facto PC Sharia law.

    Kirsten Powers:

    “On today’s campuses, left-leaning administrators, professors, and students are working overtime in their campaign of silencing dissent, and their unofficial tactics of ostracizing, smearing, and humiliation are highly effective. But what is even more chilling—and more far reaching—is the official power they abuse to ensure the silencing of views they don’t like. They’ve invented a labyrinth of anti-free speech tools that include “speech codes,” “free speech zones,” censorship, investigations by campus “diversity and tolerance offices,” and denial of due process. They craft “anti-harassment policies” and “anti-violence policies” that are speech codes in disguise. “

    Wendy Kaminer, in the Atlantic

    “Academic freedom is declining. The belief that free speech rights don’t include the right to speak offensively is now firmly entrenched on campuses and enforced by repressive speech or harassment codes. Campus censors don’t generally riot in response to presumptively offensive speech, but they do steal newspapers containing articles they don’t like, vandalize displays they find offensive, and disrupt speeches they’d rather not hear. They insist that hate speech isn’t free speech and that people who indulge in it should be punished. No one should be surprised when a professor at an elite university calls for the arrest of ‘Sam Bacile’ [who made the YouTube video The Innocence of Muslims] while simultaneously claiming to value the First Amendment.”

    As a result, I favor shutting down the majority of universities, firing all personnel, and starting over.

  3. This is small potatoes compared to that UC-Santa Barbara bully that JT posted here a couple times. That bully is now a hero for assaulting an abortion protestor on campus. Free speech my fat ass!

  4. Tweets from the wisdom of King Solomon:

    Pro_10:11 The mouth of a righteous man is a well of life: but violence covereth the mouth of the wicked.
    Pro_10:14 Wise men lay up knowledge: but the mouth of the foolish is near destruction.
    Pro_11:9 An hypocrite with his mouth destroyeth his neighbour: but through knowledge shall the just be delivered.
    Pro_14:3 In the mouth of the foolish is a rod of pride: but the lips of the wise shall preserve them.
    Pro_15:2 The tongue of the wise useth knowledge aright: but the mouth of fools poureth out foolishness.

  5. Oh, but of course she can say those things, she is just such a cute little black woman, and how can you put blame on such cutesy-woosty little thing, those big lumbering white men who control everything . . . they are just sooo scaaary.

  6. I think if the races were reversed she would have been fired in a hearbeat and never employed in academia again. How some can condone such massive double-standards is beyond me.

  7. We all know that if a white, Asian or Hispanic professor made racist remarks, he or she would be fired immediately and pilloried in the press. But America patronizes blacks and treats them like misbehaving children because deep down, we don’t really believe that they can be held to the same standards as everyone else. And while some of them take advantage of this attitude by taunting society with inflammatory remarks, by sub-standard scholarship and refusal to conform to professional norms, at the same time they resent the patronization and what it represents. So until blacks are held to the same standards as everyone else, they will never be perceived as equal.

  8. Racism is free speech. That’s what the conservatives keep saying. You can say that. Yes. Just don’t expect it to go over well.

    For a feel good university story, see Professor Mike Adams of UNC.

    Here’s a slate overview: http://www.slate.com/articles/life/education/2014/05/mike_adams_unc_wilmington_conservative_professor_wins_academic_freedom_lawsuit.html

    Even though the slate author finds Prof. Adam’s point of view ‘repugnant’, they still celebrate his first amendment rights. True freedom lover, there.

  9. Here’s another tweet that would give the intelligentsia on any PC Campus a stroke.

    “It’s National Police Week. Let’s all pray for brave police and the fallen heroes.”

    It might even give JT some agita.

  10. Here’s a tweet a professor should make and see how long he/she lasts. I’ll try and stay in the 140 characters.

    “DeBlasio’s NYC. Muggings way up in Central Park. Berate cops and embolden thugs.

  11. BU has long been the poorer relation to its neighbors, Harvard and MIT, in terms of fundraising. This will not help.

    I’m not sure this is true. They’re never going to overtake Harvard and MIT, so they need a market niche branding strategy. Right now they are nothing, a campus in a certain location available to those who can’t get into or afford the others. But if they rebrand themselves as the hard-left alternative Harvard and MIT can’t follow without sacrificing their broader appeal. Given the appeal of hard left politics among the extremely wealthy – and its outsized political influence – BU might well find their circumstances improved.

  12. Pogo nails it. If there were a conservative professor on campus he/she should tweet about serious self destructive behaviors in the black community leading to the depravity in the inner cities of this country. He/she would be gone in a BU minute. Does ANYONE dispute that? If so, go to http://www.TheFire.org and report back.

  13. “academics should be allowed to make controversial, even offensive, comments in their public writings.

    But that permission only extends to the left in American universities.

    Until universities can reliably demonstrate that they stand for freedom of speech for all, it would be better they fire her.

  14. I think that what’s good for the goose… At some point a stinging and effective backlash will occur. Yes she can speak freely, but what is she really trying to accomplish? Who is she really trying to help? So much ‘I’m too sexy, and provocative to value both sides of an argument.’, going on in the greater debate on human relations. And ‘invested’ let’s not forget ‘invested’.

    A great problem for America’s colleges, and for America in general, is when university proclamations such as “we do not condone racism or bigotry in any form and we are deeply saddened when anyone makes such offensive statements.”, is not accompanied by a proper explanation of how continuing to employ a professor of racist, and bigoted ideology that contributes to and promotes a growing genocidal tone in this nation is not in fact condoning the same.

    Any person who considers themselves to be educated, and valuing of civil discourse has to be intentionally thick not to see that what is largely happening here is a determined effort to reverse the players, and power structure of systemic racism and sexism, rather than to diminish or to end it.

    BU needs to seriously consider and publicly explain whether an order to terminate the contract would have been made with a reversal of the ethnic, and sexual identity of the professor, and the identified problem population, and act accordingly.

    They must not be distracted from this task, and give a pass to the historically injured party. They must consider the reasons we are all saddened by racist, sexist, and bigoted behavior. They must consider the impact on developing minds, and the professor’s wider uninformed audience. They must consider how the professor’s statements contributes to the violent attitude manifesting in our land. They must consider how their actions and nonactions can be seen to be making a similar contribution.

    And they must not be reluctant to act as necessary because of an awareness that there are still wrongs that need to be righted. There are, but an unbalanced and malicious approach is not the way.

    (BTW Jonathan Turley, have I mentioned lately that I think you rock? Because I do – think you rock.)

  15. Her comments are certainly free speech, but the university should explain to her and others why her speech is harmful. Ironically, her comments about white men being a problem population probably reinforces the inverse stereotype that some white men might hold to, namely, that black women are a problem population when they are put into positions of power and leadership.

  16. We already two justice systems, one for those in power, one for the rest of us. Why not two free speech standards?

  17. I am an ardent supporter of free speech. The problem is that universities have adopted two very different standards by which they assess which speech they will allow and which they will punish. One standard severely punishes speech that offends certain groups and one allows members of certain groups to do or say anything they want without fear of punishment or at least anything more than a slap on the wrist.

    I would rather know about a professir’s bias or prejudice than not; however, it is very apporpriate for individuals to object to the type of speech involved in this incident. The answer to speech with which we disagree is more speech.

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