Boston University, an elite higher education research institute that boasts such esteemed alumni as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Uzo Aduba and
Bill O’Reilly Miss Universe Olivia Culpo, has recently found itself in the news several times thanks to a complete disregard for at least maintaining the illusion of caring about Black students.
On April 25th, 2015 an article was published in the Boston Globe about the lack of diversity on Boston-area campuses.
[the] subject of racial diversity surfaced on one local campus this week with news that BU plans to shutter its African Presidential Center, prompting the center’s director, Charles Stith, to charge that the school lacks commitment to issues concerning black people.
The article oddly boasts that Boston University now has a 4.6% rate of Black students incoming next year (!!!). And this is when we get to read an incredibly offensive and racist quote:
“The data shows important progress,” said Jean Morrison, BU’s provost and chief academic officer.
The challenge, Morrison and other administrators say, is that the pool of academically qualified black students is slim...
You: Ummm... how is that racist?!
Well, Timmy, when a man and a woman hate each other, and also have the power to systematically keep their children from progressing, that’s racism. So racism is hate + power. Jean over here is chief academic officer and she thinks there aren’t enough qualified Black students. That’s... kind of an issue, to say the least.
As a Boston University alumna, it has me (and other alumni and current students) asking #AmIEnough?
Then, right when I thought there’s no way Boston University could get even further from Dr. King’s message and legacy (I mean, closing the African Presidential Center AND having the provost come out and say Black students aren’t smart enough? That’s olympic-level racism!) here comes Boston University with the hail mary play to keep the white students placated and the white heteronormative narrative in place:
Critics also point to the low representation of black full-time faculty at BU, which has risen less than one percent over the past three decades and now stands at 2.8 percent. Overall, 7.4 percent of BU faculty are considered members of under-represented minority groups. Among local large private colleges, only Boston College had a smaller percentage of minority faculty.
This brings us to the Saida Grundy situation, which is likely the reason you’re here. According to this “article” at Fox News (which, let’s be real, is basically TMZ at this point. I mean, how does a news team witness a cop shoot a man and then change their story?) Supposedly a UMass, Amherst student, Nick Pappas, found some tweets and then posted them to a website. From there, Boston University students were enraged by Professor Grundy’s statements on white students in higher education. Nick Pappas, who are you?
Let’s talk about how deeply engrained the proclivity to protect white fragility is at Boston University. First, a (make believe) student makes this statement about a professor:
“You have to teach college-aged white males eventually, no?... this seems like you are unqualified to grade their work as you clearly demonstrate some kind of special bias against them”
Again. Who. Are. You? Your main concern is the fragility of the college-aged white male ego? Are you kidding me? Her opinion makes her unqualified to grade their work? So the other 99% non-Black professors at Boston University, are they grading Black students’ work inaccurately? Are they unqualified? This is QUITE the scandal you’ve uncovered, Nick.
Somebody out there might be thinking, “Why write an article on it? Why tweet? Why make the hashtag #ISupportSaida?” Well, myself along with other Boston University alumni and current students have tried other methods. We’ve gone to the Dean of Students, Kenneth Elmore. In his own words, “I have tried – for a long time – to stay out of the conversations on races.” Why a Black Dean of Students would want to stay out of race conversations in this climate is definitely beyond me, but here we are. We’ve tried running for office in the Student Government. We had a Black Student Body President. Not president of the Black Student Union. The Boston University Student Government. Nothing helped. So here we are. Cyberbullying Boston University into acting like they have some sense.
The Fox piece quotes anonymous “Boston University alum” but if you search Twitter and Facebook all you’ll see is Black and Brown students asserting that this is her freedom of speech and we won’t stand for this sort of racism. A few white students becoming upset because Professor Grundy accurately expressed that white masculinity is a problem in America’s colleges and that white men are a problem population is quite possibly the most appropriate example of irony. A few white students are upset that their bubbles were crushed and for five seconds they were forced to think about their race and privilege, and Boston University instantly condemns a Black woman’s statements? Come on. This is #AllLivesMatter-style rhetoric.
Boston University representative Colin Riley said, “The University does not condone racism or bigotry in any form and we are deeply saddened when anyone makes such offensive statements”. Which, for those playing at home, is hilarious if you scroll up a little. Didn’t Boston University’s Provost just make some racist, bigoted, offensive statements? Oh. She’s not a Black woman. Cool. As you were.
The article ends with this not at all racist or bigoted or offensive quote:
“I’m not surprised that Boston University is hiring a racist to teach African-American Studies,” David Horowitz, author of “Reforming our Univerisities [sic],” told FoxNews.com. “Anti-white racism is rampant in Black Studies programs.” d
As I finish writing this, another Boston University alum just alerted me to this Saida Grundy parody account with tweets like:
Tell me how this isn’t about race and gender. Please do that. A Black woman professor is being attacked 100% because of her words. Nothing else. Not because she, I don’t know, killed an unarmed Black person. Not because she refuses to grow with the times and admit more qualified Black people. But because she expressed a truth about racism. And while she fights for her constitutional right of free speech, (anonymous) white men are threatening to withdraw financial support of the University if she is not fired. That is racism. And also proves her point. White men be trippin’.
My final plea: hold Boston University accountable or make them tear down every Dr. King statue and close the Howard Thurman Center. Don’t parade my Black heroes around while actively allowing racist practices to continue at my beloved alma mater. We push back because we care.
Send your comments to:
The Office of the Provost Boston University 1 Silber Way, 8th Floor Boston, MA 02215
Feel free to contact me on twitter: @MichelleHux