University of Massachusetts Nursing Dean Fired After Saying “Everyone’s Life Matters” [Updated]

downloadWe have been discussing the growing fear of professors and students over the loss of free speech on campuses for years, but recently those concerns have been greatly magnified with the investigation or termination of professors for expressing opposing views about police abuse, Black Lives Matter movement or aspects of the protests following the killing of George Floyd.  There is a sense of a new orthodoxy that does not allow for dissenting voices as campaigns are launched to fire faculty who are denounced as insensitive or even racist for such criticism.  The most recent controversy involves the recently installed University of Massachusetts-Lowell Dean of Nursing Leslie Neal-Boylan. Dr. Neal-Boylan had only been in her position for a few months when she was fired.  The reason, according to many reports, is that she sent an email on June 2 to the Solomont School of Nursing on the recent anti-racism demonstrations across the country that include the words “everyone’s life matters.” As a blog dedicated to free speech, it has been difficult to keep up with the rising number of cases of the curtailment of speech or academic freedom on our campuses.  What is equally alarming is the relative silence of most faculty members as individual professors are publicly denounced by their universities, forced into retirement, or outright terminated for expressing dissenting views.  This case however raises an equally serious concern over the loss of due process for academics who find themselves the focus of a campaign for removal — or simply summary dismissal.

I reached out to the University and updated the column with the response, which does not clarify most of these questions but suggests that the Dean may have been terminated for other reasons.  I have also reached out to Dr. Neal-Boylan for a response on both the cause and merits for her termination.

Dr. Neal-Boylan was heralded last September as a “visionary leader” by the university in taking over the deanship.  Her writings include strong advocacy for those with disabilities in the nursing field. Those writings show tremendous empathy and concern for inclusivity in the profession.

This controversy began when Dr. Neal-Boylan wrote the email which started with the following words: “Dear SSON Community,” the email provided to Campus Reform begins. “I am writing to express my concern and condemnation of the recent (and past) acts of violence against people of color. Recent events recall a tragic history of racism and bias that continue to thrive in this country. I despair for our future as a nation if we do not stand up against violence against anyone. BLACK LIVES MATTER, but also, EVERYONE’S LIFE MATTERS. No one should have to live in fear that they will be targeted for how they look or what they believe.”

One can understand that many felt that the statement detracted from the need to focus on the treatment and loss of black lives. However, one can also read these words as a nursing dean expressing opposition to all violence.  However, the email was immediately denounced in a tweet as “uncalled for” and “upsetting”  by “Haley.”  The university quickly responded to Haley and said “Haley – Thank you for bringing this to our attention. The university hears you and we believe black lives matter. See the letter the chancellor sent out Monday.”  The letter isa statement in support of Black Lives Matter.  Soon thereafter the University reportedly fired Dr. Neal-Boylan.

University spokesperson Christine Gillette issued a statement to the site Campus Reform Wednesday that stated  “The university ended the employment of Dr. Neal-Boylan on June 19 after 10 months in her role as dean of the Solomont School of Nursing. As with all such decisions, it was made in the best interest of the university and its students.”

What is particularly concerning is a June 19 letter referenced on the site that was allegedly written by Neal-Boylan and sent to Provost Julie Nash. The letter states “It is important to point out that no one ever gave me an opportunity to share my views of how the college and school were interacting nor explain myself regarding the BLM email. My meeting with you, [Dean] Shortie [McKinney], and Lauren Turner was clearly not intended to give me an opportunity to defend my actions. I was condemned without trial.”

The statement from the university does not state what specifically is “in the best interest of the university and its students.”  However, the failure to specifically state the grounds and the process used to reach the decision is alarming.  The University let the public record stand — and the view that Dr. Neal-Boylan was fired for expressing the view that “Black Lives Matter, but also Everyone’s Life Matters.”

What is “in the best interest of the university and its students” should include free speech and due process.  The mere fact that we do not know if Dr. Neal-Boylan was afforded either right is chilling.  If there were other grounds against her, the university should state so.  Instead, the clear message to faculty is that the dean was fired for expressing concerns over the loss of lives across the country in these protests.

I can understand the sensitivity to those who feel that the inclusion of other lives tends to take away the focus on the need for action on the treatment of African-Americans in our society.  However, it is possible that, as a leading health care figure, Dr. Neal-Boylan was speaking out to seek to end all violence in the protection of human life.  Medical and health care professionals tend to oppose all loss of life and violence.  The question is whether an academic should be able to express such a view and, equally importantly, whether there is a process through which a professor can defend herself in explaining the motivation and intended meaning of her words.

The uncertainty over the process used in this case creates an obvious chilling effect for other faculty members. In 30 years of teaching, I have never seen the level of fear among faculty over speaking or writing about current events, particularly if they do not agree with aspects of the protests.  Not only is there a sense of forced silence but universities have been conspicuously silent in the face of the destruction of their own public art and statues. Even New York Times editors can be forced out for simply publishing opposing views.

As we have previously discussed, chilling effects on free speech has long been a focus of the Supreme Court.  Free speech demands bright line rules to flourish. The different treatment afforded faculty creates an obviously chilling effect on free speech.  Avoiding the chilling effect of potential punishment for speech is a core concern running through Supreme Court cases.  For example, in 1964, the Supreme Court struck down the law screening incoming mail. A unanimous court, Justice William Douglas rejected the law as “a limitation on the unfettered exercise of the addressee’s First Amendment rights.” It noted that such review “is almost certain to have a deterrent effect” on the free speech rights of Americans, particularly for “those who have sensitive positions:”

Obviously, many of these schools are private institutions but freedom of speech and academic freedom have long been the touchstones of the academy. What concerned me most was that I could not find a university statement on a matter that resulted in the canning of one of its deans — just an ominous note that the page of Dr. Neal-Boylan can no longer be found.

Update:

I contacted the University to confirm (1) whether Dr. Neil-Boylan was fired for her statement about “everyone’s life matters” and (2) whether she was given an opportunity to hear the complaints against her and to contest the allegations.

The university responded with this statement:

“Leslie Neal-Boylan’s employment at UMass Lowell ended on June 19, after she was informed she would no longer serve as dean of the Solomont School of Nursing. She had been in that role for 10 months. Although a tenured full faculty member, she declined to join the nursing faculty. As with all such employment decisions, it was made in the best interests of the university and its students. Although we are not able to discuss specifics of a personnel matter, it would be incorrect to assume any statement by Dr. Neal-Boylan was the cause of that decision.”

This suggests that there were other reasons for the termination but, if the letter posted from Dr. Neal-Boylan is accurate, she was not aware of what those reasons might be.  If she is unaware of those allegations, this would be a rather Orwellian position where the university protects her privacy by refusing to confirm the basis for her termination even to herself.  I was hoping that the University would at least say that she was given those reasons and an opportunity to defend herself.  Instead, the university did not deny the allegation that Dr. Neal-Boylan was denied the opportunity to respond and contest any allegations.

The problem with the response is it leaves even more questions.  Dr. Neal-Boylan was fired soon after the University public stated that it was looking into the controversy over her statement.  She has said that she does not know any other reason, or at least that is what the letter posted on the Campus Reform site suggests.  Indeed, she is being quoted as writing:

“Her firing was “attributable to one phrase in my initial email that otherwise was very clearly a message to NOT discriminate against anyone. To those students who were upset regarding my email, wouldn’t it have been better to use that as a teachable opportunity to explain that leaders also make mistakes and use this as an example of why lifelong learning is so important?”

If her firing was unrelated to the statement, the University could have so stated without any violation of privacy. Such a clarification would have put to rest concerns over free speech.  Instead, there is lingering confusion, including with the subject of the action.

316 thoughts on “University of Massachusetts Nursing Dean Fired After Saying “Everyone’s Life Matters” [Updated]”

  1. Kind of weak article–author almost suggests, perhaps inadvertently, that if her intent was to weaken the focus on so called blacks then maybe firing would have some justification. Seems to think an ameliorating explanation of her point of view necessary. By this point you could be fired for affirming ‘White Lives Don’t Matter’. We are hapless prey to a new religion that enforces an absolute compliance with the liturgy.

  2. Professor Gopal said “white lives don”t matter” and was awarded a full professorship in Cambridge. That’s how the winds blow in universities today.

    1. Black Labrador Retrievers are a fine breed. They put themselves above other dogs and all humans.

      1. No L2nd! You can’t have Black Labs, you must breed them with Poodles & Cockroaches because only the USA has to have ” Diversity” because inbred Poodles & Cockroaches are to Stupid to compete with Black Lab’s high IQ.

  3. “in the best interest of the university and its students

    Nor the best interest of Americans in general when it comes to COVID and phantom lockdowns

    From Sweden that now has reached herd immunity….the only country that did not impose COVID-19 lockdowns

    Immunity to COVID-19 is probably higher than tests have shown
    https://news.ki.se/immunity-to-covid-19-is-probably-higher-than-tests-have-shown

    Or as the UK Telegraph puts it:

    We risk going over a cliff chasing second wave red herrings

    Knowing what we know now, we can’t let history repeat itself

    Meanwhile, in the empirical world, neglected facts collected on the margins like flotsam. Case spikes have coincided with increased testing. It is no great surprise that, after three months of pandemonium north of the equator, hotspots from Texas to Brazil, are now breaking out in or near the Southern hemisphere, in parallels with the pattern of seasonal flu.

    It also turns out Covid-19’s rise and decline may be even more predictable: Nobel Prize winner Michael Levitt’s long-awaited paper pre-published this week finds that coronavirus grows according to the Gompertz curve in mathematics – spreading much slower than implied in some models, and certainly not exponentially, even in the very first days.

    Sadly, even simpler breakthroughs than this are lost on hysterical Britain. Second wave fear was so intense this week that nobody noticed the end of the first one. On Tuesday, while the media speculated over whether Walsall or Wandsworth might be next for local lockdown, ONS data revealed weekly deaths have dropped to below average for the first time since the crisis hit. Oxford University’s Prof Carl Heneghan declared “we are now back to normal”; an observation that is, regrettably, as fantastical as it is accurate.

    And so, as the first wave ends, we find ourselves at the beginning, debating lockdown versus herd immunity. Knowing what we know now, we can’t let history repeat itself.

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2020/07/02/risk-going-cliff-chasing-second-wave-red-herrings/

  4. “Haley – Thank you for bringing this to our attention. The university hears you and we believe black lives matter. See the letter the chancellor sent out Monday.” The letter is a statement in support of Black Lives Matter. Soon thereafter the University reportedly fired Dr. Neal-Boylan.”
    ***********************************************
    So much for there being other reasons for the firing.

    1. I do not think she is a DR. she is a FNP; not that it matters; She should not have been fired.

  5. Massachusetts is subject to at-will employment doctrine. Meaning an employee can be fired for any reason — or no reason at all. Anyone who presumes to have free speech rights at work is sorely missing a fundamental understanding of the nature of employment in this, and many states in America.

    1. Emplyment discrimination law overrides the at-will doctrine. The firing of the dean constituted illegal race discrimination.

  6. To all those saying “Everyone’s lives matter” is not racist: There are many who say it is, and they have for at least 4 years, so by now everyone knows that “Everyone’s lives matter”, or “All lives matter” is taken to be racist by a large chunk of the population. So if you say it, you say it knowing that it will be taken as racist, which makes saying it a racist statement. Yes, this is a Catch-22, but that is the way it is. If you don’t want to sound like a racist, don’t say things that people take to be racist.

    1. “If you don’t want to sound like a racist, don’t say things that people take to be racist.”

      You sound like a racist. You say the things that racists say.

      Next you’ll start saying you’ve got friends of other races.

    2. ““Everyone’s lives matter”, or “All lives matter” is taken to be racist by a large chunk of the population. So if you say it, you say it knowing that it will be taken as racist, which makes saying it a racist statement.”

      The term you’re struggling not to understand is “concept creep.” You indicate a dim awareness that four years ago, the expression “all lives matter,” was completely uncontroversial. Now because certain people have insisted on being offended by it, a significant minority of the population (not defined by race necessarily) have decided that the expression is racist. Those of us who cherish what’s left of our freedoms have a duty to push back against this as vigorously as possible, to embrace what Brendan O’Neill calls “a duty to offend.”

      All Lives Matter.

      1. “Everyone’s lives matter”, or “All lives matter” was taken to be racist even 4 years ago. There is ample videos and articles on the internet from back then that confirm this.

        1. Why would anyone feel obligated to accede to the whims of racists? They don’t own the rest of us.

    3. I could care less if you think I am racist.

      The fact is life is cheap. Christianity Islam and Christianity in their doctrines value human life.
      Buddhism teaches compassion for all sentient life.
      Nature however does not “value” any one life, only life itself. Nature recycles life with death. That is both obviously true and deeply true.
      I am not sure how to square that with religions. I guess I am becoming gripped by what Catholics call the “naturalist” heresy these days.

      What is my life compared to the Earth, the Sun, the Solar system, the galaxy, the universe? Nothing,. I might as well be as small as an electron.
      Human life is as insignificant is as insect live in the cosmological scale. We are leaves of grass.
      I heard a physicist say the other day that there are not only alternate universes but infinitely many of them. Necessarily he said, all things and all events must recur.
      Think about that. Not only we will aggregate again, across the scope of infinity, but all that we have done or will do.
      How small are we then? Tell me that any lives matter and I will have to be skeptical in light of the cosmological scale.

      And yet perhaps we are lucky to have received the monotheistic religions. Or perhaps they have just filled us with false hopes?

      In spite of that, now I got this to say to BLM and you sycophants who carry water for them: MY LIFE MATTERS

      1. Mr K,

        What if this life is just a test by God to see what dimension we should go to next, higher/lower or not go any further?

        Just think, a male implants a female with semen, millions of potential humans, we made it they didn’t. Was their job just blockers so we could make it?

        Whoops, that’s prolly Racist against slow swimmers. LOL;)

    4. MollyG, I disagree. All people are created equal. Just because now some people want to be considered ABOVE others doesn’t mean we can’t fight this by stating that they should not be. You speak as one all comfy in this Catch-22, but wait until something you so carefully say in your racist-mob-embraced world is taken out of context. There will be nobody left to defend you.

    5. You seem to be saying we are obligated to keep track of how the crazies–and yourself maybe?–are attempting to hijack and reinterpret English so as to be sure not to ‘offend’ them. And, moreover, that our priority goal must be not to upset these bigoted ignoramuses.Can’t feel too sorry for this nurse, though, as she seems to be one of you. You’re eating your own.

    6. The people who think “All lives matter” is racist are themselves racists who need to have their racist dogma confronted and challenged.

  7. “No one should have to live in fear that they will be targeted for how they look or what they believe.”
    ********************************************************
    Of course, if only black lives matter how long will it be before some person of color starts blowing away people of pallor.

    I have no doubt that the “Zoo Mass” receives money from the state and that makes them a “state actor.” I hope this woman sues them for all they’re worth.

  8. You’re not getting it. The people pushing this sh!t sandwich cannot defend their position in ordinary discursive argument. All they can do is fire anyone who takes exception to some aspect of it. You haven’t glommed on to the reality here. The reality is that higher education is run by people who have no business in any position of responsibility.

    And the cause they’re pushing is completely valueless and based on social fictions. The fictions can be demonstrated with a few descriptive statistics.

    1. that’s right. who knows who absurd was talking to there but I expect Turley. he probably never reads our stuff but I agree with absurd.

      1. She was almost certainly not fired for this silly BS,

        As has been noted, you’re reflexively mendacious when your back is against the wall.

  9. Let’s be honest

    WHITE LIVES DON’T MATTER

    Just say it and I would respect leftists more for their honesty, if nothing else.

    Anti-Racist is Code for Anti-White

    “ASIA FOR THE ASIANS, AFRICA FOR THE AFRICANS, WHITE COUNTRIES FOR EVERYBODY!

    Everybody says there is this RACE problem. Everybody says this RACE problem will be solved when the third world pours into EVERY white country and ONLY into white countries.

    The Netherlands and Belgium are just as crowded as Japan or Taiwan, but nobody says Japan or Taiwan will solve this RACE problem by bringing in millions of third worlders and becoming a minority in your own country.

    Everybody says the final solution to this RACE problem is for EVERY white country and ONLY white countries to “assimilate,” i.e., intermarry, with all those non-whites.

    What if I said there was this RACE problem and this RACE problem would be solved only if hundreds of millions of non-blacks were brought into EVERY black country and ONLY into black countries?

    How long would it take anyone to realize I’m not talking about a RACE problem. I am talking about the final solution to the BLACK problem?

    And how long would it take any sane black man to notice this and what kind of psycho black man wouldn’t object to this?

    But if I tell that obvious truth about the ongoing program against native Europeans and North Americans, Liberals and respectable conservatives agree that I am a “nazi.”

    They say they are anti-racist. What they are is anti-white.

    Anti-racist is a code word for anti-white.

    As Tucker Carlson explained on his show recently, the definition of “racism” has recently changed and the “white supremacists” who pushed the above mantra have been vindicated. “Anti-racism” is no longer a code word for “anti-White.” This is literally the meaning of the term now.

    If you are a White person, you are a “racist.” You are born a “racist.” Race doesn’t exist except when we say you are a racist and your wealth should be redistributed to other races. Only White people can be racists. Only White people benefit from “systemic racism” which does not require individuals with intentional beliefs and acts. Even if they are completely unaware of it, all White people enjoy “white privilege” and oppress “People of Color” and to object to this argument is White Fragility, which only confirms that you are a “racist.” In order you be an “anti-racist,” you have to be racially conscious and explicitly anti-White. Racism is synonymous with whiteness.

    antonio

    1. antonio – there are a ton of white Hispanics and they will be coming for you as soon as they figure that out. 😉 So keep on passing, homie. 😉

      1. @paul c schulte

        Yes, there are plenty of White Hispanics, though what would be considered white in Latin America might be someone with a degree of mixed blood. The Spanish had 16 different words to distinguish racial classifications.

        antonio

    2. Antonio is a racist and hopes to take us backwards. It ain’t happening fortunately. He should move to Iceland.

      1. Book- You who said blacks are born with inherent disabilities but can jump well and have hired none in your business are poorly positioned to call anyone racist.

      2. antonio is right in his representation of the essence of the current BLM mentality.

        Yes they very much mean white lives dont matter. And they have said it openly:

        “if we don’t get what we want we will burn it down”

        https://www.theblaze.com/news/blm-burn-system-black-jesus

        moreover, if saying “all lives matter” is racist, then the term racist has no meaning.

        but it does; trust me it does. it means a white person with a spine, in a nutshell.

        this is also precisely the meaning of “white privilege:” we have collective guilt for whatever happened before our lives to benefit our white ancestors.

        if we have collective guilt, then we can be collectively punished.

        if you can be collectively punished for being white, then we are the target of their racist oppression.

        what an irony because this is exactly what is going to cause more and more white people to become “racist” who never were before

        but Im ok with that; we need more hands on deck to survive the “burn it down” moment that BLM has planned for us.

        God helps those who help themselves!

        1. @mr kurtz

          When the fine folks from BLM or the Brave Masked Wonderful Warriors of Antifa (TM), come calling I am certain that BTB will invite them for a consciousness raising session.

          antonio

        1. No, it’s not, it’s actively promoting hatred for those of specific race and this board is full of white racists who hate blacks. The most virulent are antonio, squeaky, and young. If they deny it, they are liars as well.

          1. I feel angry when I see white people being victimized by black mobs. I have seen this about a hundred times in clips the past 6 weeks. I have seen it before and I have been there myself.

            Is this hate? Perhaps. Or perhaps it is only anger. they are not the same. Perhaps they are different, like hate is malnutrition, but anger is mere hunger.

            Is this anger any sort of hate for one good black person? certainly not. I can count many fine good black folks I see from time to time and i bear them only goodwill.

            Is it a hate for a group? certainly it is anger. I am not sure about hate. let me examine this.

            what is hate? is it just a feeling or something more? what is love? is it merely affection or something more?

            a wise man said that love is an act not a feeling., it is a commitment to do good for another person. caritas is the Latin word which indicates this. “love is what you do” he said.

            so that means that a feeling of affection or liking or lust, is not love. Love may come with such things, but they are not love. Rather, Love is the act of doing good for another.

            Perhaps then we can use that understanding to illuminate what is hate. I think this is a thing worth pondering, apart from all what is going on in the news.

            Perhaps hate is a commitment to harm another. It is beyond mere anger, though anger may go with it.

            So a person may be angry at another individual, or another group; but if there is no commitment to harm them, then there is no hate.

            That is my thinking. I don’t want to confuse anger and hate. I have been angry at people I love. I have been angry at folks I don’t love, but I also don’t hate.

            Now I don’t want to sound like a peacenik. I am not trying to garner any friends among black people or BLM or civil rights folks.
            But I will say this much: I am not committed to harming black Americans as a group.
            They are fellow Americans and I wish them well.

            However I feel angry at them now. And if they have a commitment to harm me, then I may return it in kind.

            Now I am at the point where I am not only angry at American billionaires, but I am starting to hate them. Particularly Silicon Valley.
            I am not sure if I could do them any harm as they are so maximally powerful, but I will certainly vote for Donald Trump again, because I am very angry at them and they so obviously hate him that it pleases me to think I could do one tiny little thing against them. So perhaps I have come to hate the likes of Jack Dorsey and Jeff Bezos and the group of Silicon Valley Billionaires.

            When I compare that group with the group of black Americans, I know with all my being, that although black people may present a danger on the street, they are not the ones who seek to reduce me and people like me to a state of powerless resistance to their schemes. That is the Silicon Valley billionaire, the globalist like Geo Soros, who wants to destroy nation-states as such and obviously he has destroying America in that goal too. I hate them. I don’t think I hate blacks. In fact I refuse to hate blacks even though they anger me.

            I’m going to remind myself of this every day. Not because I want to curry favor with blacks or the liberals, but because I want to focus on the real tormenters who set this all in motion.

        2. @truthhertz001

          Leftists call you racist for saying anything with which they disagree or opposing anything they support, Leftists call you a racist when they have no answer to your factual statement (i.e. black IQ differences). Leftists call you a racist when losing an argument.

          RACIST MEANS EVERYTHING AND IT MEANS NOTHING.

          And someday SOON, that dog isn’t going to hunt anymore.

          As far as hatred, I hate no one for the “color of their skin”. I do not want to rule them, oppress them, harm them, colonize them or exploit them. And any leftist’s contrary opinion in that regard means nothing to me.

          I particularly detest white liberals because they love to name call, doxx and destroy but usually refuse to get their hands dirty. Sure, they love blacks but prefer to do so from afar. If America ever becomes more like South Africa, leftists won’t have that luxury.

      3. @btb

        According to Cultural Marxist intersectional theory, I CANNOT be racist since I am Hispanic. And contrary to what you might think I get very little grief from other Hispanics for my views. If I do, it is almost always from Liberal, Leftist, Anglo Whites like yourself.

        Hispanics of whatever stripe (White, Castizo, Mestizo, etc.), tend to be very realistic about Blacks and feel little guilt towards them. Take that for whatever it is worth. I speak Spanish and am cognizant of what happens on the street.

        And as for as taking us “backwards”, I hope you get all the diversity you can stand, up close and personally. And if that happens, I hope your “goodwhite” card is of help.

        antonio

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