The Severely Biased New Prof at Boston University

Fresh off completing her doctorate at the University of Michigan, Saida Grundy has landed a job on Boston University’s faculty – Assistant Professor of Sociology and African-American Studies. What can B.U. students anticipate from her?

Editors at the site SoCawledge dug into Grundy’s thinking and found a lot of tweets that resemble those of Steven Salaita in their nastiness. Whereas the object of Salaita’s animosity is anyone who defends Israel, in Grundy’s case it is the white race.

Among her tweets is this one: dear white people: u are all ben Affleck. Those euphemisms for ur ancestors like “farmers” & “pioneers” means owned humans & killed natives

No doubt Professor Grundy knows that no white person now living either owned humans or killed natives, and that the great majority of whites in the past did neither of those actions.  Still, she appears to harbor a deep animosity toward whites anyway.

Another: every MLK week I commit myself to not spending a dime in white-owned busineses. and every year I find it nearly impossible.

But the Reverend King had nothing against white-owned businesses. Why does Grundy feel the desire to discriminate against them?

Read through the tweets and you’ll see a young woman who has been brought up with (or perhaps schooled to have) animosity boiling within her. She illustrates very well the problem that former BU professor and now NAS president Peter Wood calls “bee in the mouth anger.” (I strongly recommend his book on that.)

What will her classes be like? It’s hard to believe that they will be “safe places” for white students, especially men.

After her tweets were made public, the university knew it was in a mess.

BU’s president, Robert Brown had to say something and came up with this attempt at straddling the fence: “At Boston University we acknowledge Dr. Grundy’s right to hold and express her opinions. At the same time, we fully appreciate why many have reacted to her statements. Boston University does not condone racism or bigotry in any form….We are disappointed and concerned by statements that reduce individuals to stereotypes….” (You can read Brown’s entire statement and more about the raging controversy here.)

At least Brown recognizes the racism, bigotry, and stereotyping that is such a big part of Grundy’s view of America. Many educators have rushed to her defense, claiming that people outside of higher education have misunderstood her and vastly overreacted. That’s the tenor of this Inside Higher Ed piece. The problem, according to author Colleen Flaherty is that “what professors write, think, or talk about doesn’t necessarily always translate to a wider audience…Ideas that are relatively uncontroversial among colleagues might elicit outrage from the public.”

Elaborating on that notion, VCU sociology professor Tressie McMillan Cottom said, “A lot can go wrong when you use ‘inside’ language ‘outside’ because we rely so much on social ties and context to make meaning of words.”

So we are apparently to believe that the only problem here is that Grundy made the mistake of letting the general public know what she thinks about race in language that revealed her evident biases.  If she had just kept her angry stereotyping within what Cottom usefully calls the higher education “bubble,” those ill-educated outsiders wouldn’t be upset over words they can’t comprehend out of their “context.”

The truth is that by using “outside” language on Twitter, Grundy allowed the whole world a clear view of the way her classes are apt to go. Academic writing is usually impenetrable (even to other academics), but you can’t hide anything in the tiny thought compressions of a tweet. If Grundy had used Twitter only for mundane personal stuff and reserved her vitriol for classrooms filled almost entirely with students inclined to nod in agreement, nobody would know what bile her students were steeping in.

Finally, Grundy herself says that she regrets having stated things “indelicately.” What that means is that she regrets having used clear “outside” language that revealed her biases instead of the cloudy language of academe that would have kept them hidden.

11 thoughts on “The Severely Biased New Prof at Boston University”

  1. “Whereas the object of Salaita’s animosity is anyone who defends Israel, in Grundy’s case it is the white race.”

    Well put. In other words, Salaita’s “nastiness” is against racial hatred, whereas Grundy’s is in favor of it. Right?

  2. I think she should be fired, not because she’s a racist, but because someone with that level of bias cannot manage the education of others objectively.

    Her bias will taint the coursework and her students will play to that bias in order to curry favor. At that point she will effectively be teaching bigotry. And that’s just if she isn’t actively trying to teach bigotry.

  3. A few tweets and, voila, she’s an academic superstar. How long before she’s a regular guest on MSNBC and earns big bucks in speaking fees.

  4. In a sane society, bigots like Saida Grundy would not be allowed to swab the latrines at Boston University, much less teach there.

  5. U M’s sociology dept is, (I believe) a hive of PC which is meant to compensate for the lack of scholarship. Irecall a conversation with a grad where she claimerd fracking was racist(?)
    And,no, I still don’t kow what it means.
    Still ,when Lee Bolinger went from U-M to Columbia, I breathed a sigh of relief

  6. DON’T LET PEOPLE YOU CARE ABOUT GO TO THE UNIVERSITY OF IDAHO LAW SCHOOL!

    I started law school at the University of Idaho in Moscow, ID in August 2014 and lasted only six weeks. As it turned out, two faculty members recruited Tyra P. Williams, an African American woman (40 years, old 250 pounds, 6′ tall or so), away from Valparaiso where she was already in attendance and participating in orientation activities. Williams showed up at UI after others of us were already settled in and working.

    Immediately after she arrived, she announced to everybody who would listen that I was “too old and too stupid” to be in law school and that I had not prepared for a mock court assignment that took place during orientation. I ignored her insults, but she redoubled and tripled her efforts. She told others that her parents would sue UI if they did not get rid of me. I am an 80% service-disabled veteran, so she informed everybody that I have PTSD and that it would “go off” and place everybody at the law school in mortal danger. She told everybody that I had an arsenal of “fully-automatic” weapons in my apartment, but that I had to make special arrangements for the storage of my 2 AK47s. And then she filed a false police report alleging I assaulted her in front of 30 students in the property class classroom; the Moscow PD investigated and could not substantiate any of her assault accusations and no witnesses saw anything. Nevertheless, I received a “no contact order” from the dean of students Jeff Dodge; I had done nothing. Then she found out that I informed the dean of students ONLY that my approved ADA accommodations had not been provided to me, so she “repackaged” my concern telling everybody who would listen to her that “I filed a lawsuit against the ADA because dean of students Jeff Dodge would not give me a private office so I could bring my parrots to school with me.” And then she told everybody that I said to her, “if these were the days of slavery, I would own you and you would be my bitch.” In one of her final police reports, she told the police that seeing me caused her to experience PTSD so I was trespassed form the UI law school. I was never given the opportunity to defend myself against all of her defamation efforts. Everything she said about me was false!

    Later when I tried to find an Idaho attorney to represent me in an action against UI and/or Williams, nobody would take my case. All local Idaho attorneys asserted they had conflicts of interest. In the end, the dean of students arranged for two armed Moscow police officers to remove me from a crowded hallway in front of my peers and instructors and “perp walk” me to the dean’s office where the dean of students revoked my admission to law school. There was no need for this public shaming, but he (incidentally, local attorneys describe UI law school as feudalist with Dodge as the local fief) decided to make the point that I was not welcome at UI law school and that Williams could do not wrong. Even when she told others that she did not trust the private security detail UI provided to her and decided to carry a concealed handgun on campus, nothing happened EXCEPT Jeff Dodge joked with 1L student Laurie R. O’Neal about this in his office saying that he would rather see me with a weapon than Williams, because he was certain I had been trained to use one.

    In early January 2015, this woman Tyra P. Williams (Facebook = TheSkeeolarly Ivy) withdrew from law school because she said she became pregnant during first semester; she claimed to be involved with a Chicago Bulls former player. It was astonishing because she said he hated white men and the only other Black man at the law school was, in her opinion, racist. Her Facebook page does not support a pregnancy; she now boasts about having lost weight. Williams should never have been allowed to matriculate at UI law school. Her unsuccessful lawsuit against a former employer, which she disclosed to the dean of students, shows that she alleges racism “all of the time,” has a pattern of telling lies, is disruptive to usual good order, makes unfounded accusations, and misinforms people repeatedly.

    I filed an honor code complaint with the law school and nothing was done in accordance with the published policy. Sunil Ramalingam was responsible for addressing the 9-pages of facts I included in the complaint; he did not follow published procedures and eventually informed me that he determined that I was not a party to the honor code complaint and provided no information about it when I inquired. I also filed a student conduct complaint with the University of Idaho, but Assistant Dean Craig Chatriand refused to acknowledge any of my email or telephone inquiries.

    The worst of this nightmare is it that the VA will not allow me to attend a different law school under my formerly existing VA vocational rehabilitation training program. It doesn’t matter what Williams did, I had only one shot at law school and now that chance is gone. I lost my fully-funded VA vocational rehabilitation training program.

    When I asked the Moscow prosecuting attorney to file misdemeanor charges against Williams for knowingly filing a false police report, they declined. This woman is a nightmare! She had no business being in law school. And she should never have been allowed (encouraged?) to defame me. But, Williams was more important to the UI statistics than was I. This made all of the difference, it seems.

    Law school at the University of Idaho was the second most traumatic event in my life (I served for twenty years in the US Army). I recommend that those who care about prospective law students steer them tightly away from Moscow, ID.

    1. I know many of the people you have name dropped above and they have proved themselves to be honest time and again. University of Idaho Law School continues to prove themselves a great regional law school. If you or anyone else was asked to leave it was probably for good reason. The proof is in the way you have represented yourself here by dragging down staff and student alike in this vitreous comment. I highly doubt any of this is truth but an attempt to make yourself feel better about your circumstance. Move on with life.

  7. George Leef writes, “What will her classes be like? It’s hard to believe that they will be ‘safe places’ for white students, especially men.” I wish Leef would clarify this. Does he believe that college classrooms should be “safe places” protected from offensive ideas? I certainly hope not. As for Grundy being “severely biased,” should that disqualify someone from being a professor? Should someone call for the firing of a professor who sharply opposes affirmative action because they are “severely biased” and would not provide “safe places” for those who disagree?

    1. I am not calling for her to be fired. My point is that the university will now have to worry about a faculty member who, to all appearances, is unable to discuss the issues of race about which she is so “passionate” (in her words) in a civil manner. It’s too bad that in such “disciplines” as she teaches, vitriol now seems to be the coin of the realm.

    2. “Should someone call for the firing of a professor who sharply opposes affirmative action because they are “severely biased””
      What a stupid comment John. Opposing affirmative action is not analogous to hating white people.

      A more appropriate comparison: if you had a professor who hated black people, and had a clear bias against them, would that justify firing them?

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