Boston University had a weekend change of heart about a new professor’s angry tweets about white people, after FoxNews.com and others reported on the racially-charged comments — and Terrier alumni threatened to stop writing checks.
Saida Grundy, an incoming assistant professor of sociology and African-American studies at the school, tweeted in recent weeks that “white masculinity is THE problem for america’s (sic) colleges,” white men are a “problem population,” and that she tries to avoid shopping at white-owned businesses. On Friday, her new employer’s spokesman, Colin Riley, told FoxNews.com that the tweets came from Grundy’s personal Twitter account and that she was “exercising her right to free speech and we respect her right to do so.”
Then, amid a deluge of angry emails from former students, the school sought to amend the comment.
“The University does not condone racism or bigotry in any form and we are deeply saddened when anyone makes such offensive statements,” Riley told FoxNews.com Saturday.
The tweets were first noticed by a student at University of Massachusetts Amherst, Nick Pappas, who posted them on his website “SoCawlege.com” and questioned how Grundy could teach a diverse classroom given the racial hostility in her tweets.
“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,” he wrote.
After the news broke, some alumni and donors wrote the school to complain.
“It is truly a sad day to be a BU alum,” one Boston University graduate from the class of 2008 told FoxNews.com, and shared a letter he had sent to University President Robert Brown and the dean of students.
“In light of the university’s willingness to invite vile rhetoric onto a campus that I spent four wonderful years at, I commit to never donate to Boston University,” he wrote in his letter.
Another wrote, “As a Boston University alumnus and a father of a son who will graduate from BU next week, I am deeply saddened by this revelation. It has become apparent that BU no longer supports a value system in line with human decency.”
Although Riley’s condemnation of the racist tweets was new, he reiterated that Grundy had a right to sound off against white males.
“ … the opinions expressed by Dr. Grundy, in what were seemingly private electronic messages, constitutes her opinion and we must recognize her right to have that opinion whether or not we agree,” Riley said.
Grundy did not respond to requests for comment from FoxNews.com, and has made her twitter account private. She will start working at the university in June.
Those who follow campus politics say they are not shocked.
“I’m not surprised that Boston University is hiring a racist to teach African-American Studies,” David Horowitz, author of “Reforming our Univerisities,” told FoxNews.com. “Anti-white racism is rampant in Black Studies programs.”
Horowitz added that the university’s reaction betrays double-standards on race.
“If she were a white racist rather than an anti-white racist, she would never be hired. Professors are supposed to be experts in some scholarly field, and professionals in their classroom discourse. They don’t have a license to indoctrinate students in their prejudices — whether those prejudices are right or left,” he said.
Grundy posted a number of other controversial tweets, for instance incorrectly claiming that only whites enslaved entire generations of people. “Deal with your white sh*t, white people. slavery is a *YALL* thing,” she said.
Free speech advocates say that Grundy should have a right to her speech, but say the university speech policy is hypocritical because it allows the university to censor offensive or bigoted speech if it wanted to.
“Professor Grundy should and must have the freedom to publicly express her opinions on controversial topics. Unfortunately, though, [she] could be punished if she were to send such tweets through the BU computer network, as the university bans ‘transmitting…offensive’ material,” Robert Shibley of Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) told FoxNews.com.
“In addition, if she were a student, she could also potentially be punished for violating policies banning ‘bigotry, hatred, and intolerance,’ and for not expressing her opinion ‘in good taste and decency.’ … [BU] should eliminate these policies so that it can defend every student and faculty member’s right to free speech – not just Professor Grundy’s.”