Top Social Menu


FSU Response to Boston Globe Hit Job


Dear FSU Members, 

Like many of you, we were troubled by the recent editorial – or rather hit job – in the Boston Globe that repeated the ugly narrative that UMB faculty are racist.  The worst thing about it – aside from the damage it does to individual faculty, our students, and the university as a whole – is that the narrative comes directly from our own Administration in a transparent attempt to silence faculty.  

As we all know, this nastiness was first circulated when the Administration alleged that members of the Faculty Council had acted in a “racially charged” manner and had trafficked in “racial stereotypes and tropes” in calling into question the Administration’s handling of a Dean’s search.  Instead of simply approaching the Faculty Council, or even using established procedures to discipline faculty if deemed necessary, the Chancellor and Provost announced this baseless accusation in a very public email that was sent far and wide -- surely knowing it would end up in the hands of the media.  Publicly shaming faculty is an effective way to silence them; and in today’s media landscape it is particularly easy since actual evidence is not required when the “source” is powerful and well-connected Administrators.   

Since unleashing this attack, the Administration has done nothing to mitigate the devastating effects of their work, like walk back their statement or reach out to the Faculty Council and FSU in a meaningful way -- but have continued to feed and stoke the media with salacious material (even as they agreed to mediation with the Faculty Council Executive Committee).  It is clearly a strategy for consolidating their control and silencing faculty.

This story is bad enough.  But it could get a lot worse as our top Administrators legitimize themselves as anti-racist warriors in the eyes of the public and UMass system.  By weaponizing anti-racist rhetoric to silence faculty, the Administration has been better able to continue a program of austerity and divisiveness that includes: the ongoing assault on Africana Studies, abruptly cancelling two searches (in a department already reduced to 1.5 tenure track lines) and purposely making the department vulnerable to a wholesale dismantling; taking a hard line in bargaining against graduate students and ensuring their continued poverty; and obscuring the fact that the fight against racism at UMB under their watch has been largely a rhetorical one – lots of words with little follow through.  

This conflict is not good for UMB – its faculty, students, or reputation.  Our “health promoting” Administration must stop peddling its false narrative about a “racist” UMB faculty to the media while attacking outspoken members of the union, and failing to provide the necessary leadership to address structural racism on campus.  

Please look for an invitation coming soon from the FSU and the Faculty Council to discuss this issue and the steps we can take to move forward.