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FSU Executive Committee Statement On Africana Studies


Dear Member, 

On March 19, 2024 our three full-time colleagues in the Africana Studies Department, Dr. Jemadari Kamara, Dr. Keith Jones, and Dr. Tony Van Der Meer filed a complaint with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD) for unfair labor practices related to retaliation by the University of Massachusetts. In light of this filing, we, members of the FSU Executive Committee, are re-issuing a statement we originally published on September 8, 2023, to continuously stand in solidarity with the Africana Studies Department, as well as our three newly appointed full-time colleagues in the Africana Studies Department who will join our campus in Fall 2024, as they will advance the mission of anti-racist and justice-centered teaching and learning at UMass Boston:

Targeting of Africana Studies Faculty:

The Faculty Staff Union filed an unfair labor practice charge against the university on behalf of two Africana Studies faculty members who have been unjustly subject to disciplinary action based on spurious charges. (First charge: after delaying the start of a public forum to allow the Chancellor and Provost to welcome a visiting dignitary the faculty member neglected to have recorded welcome remarks from the Chancellor played; Second charge: the faculty member was disciplined for unauthorized travel to Cuba). FSU is working closely with legal representatives from MTA to prepare and monitor these cases as they come up for a hearing before the Department of Labor Relations.

This is the second unfair labor practice charge that FSU and the Massachusetts Teachers Association have worked together to prepare and file on behalf of faculty of the Africana Studies Department. (Last summer FSU filed an unfair labor practice charge on behalf of a faculty member who was targeted by the university by a salary reduction, reduction in rank, and workload increase.) All three of these Africana Studies members have been vocal critics of the university. MTA and FSU believe that they have been targeted because of their efforts to improve working conditions in Africana Studies. 

The disciplinary actions and targeting of Africana Studies faculty are retaliatory attacks on their rights that undermine academic freedoms and threaten all FSU members. The university administration has "interfered with, restrained, and coerced its employees in the exercise of their rights guaranteed under Section 2 of the Law, in violation of Section 10(a)(1) of the Law". FSU strongly condemns the university administration’s actions against Africana Studies faculty.


The Faculty Staff Union Executive Committee

For information on the FSU, links to our contract and bargaining updates, and a calendar of events, see the FSU webpage