UMass Nursing Dean Fired For Saying “Everyone’s Life Matters”

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    • #333277
      • Total Posts: 288

      We have been discussing the growing fear of professors and students over the loss of free speech on campuses for years, but recently those concerns have been greatly magnified with the investigation or termination of professors for expressing opposing views about police abuse, Black Lives Matter movement or aspects of the protests following the killing of George Floyd.  There is a sense of a new orthodoxy that does not allow for dissenting voices as campaigns are launched to fire faculty who are denounced as insensitive or even racist for such criticism.  The most recent controversy involves the recently installed University of Massachusetts-Lowell Dean of Nursing Leslie Neal-Boylan. Dr. Neal-Boylan had only been in her position for a few months when she was fired. 

      As a blog dedicated to free speech, it has been difficult to keep up with the rising number of cases of the curtailment of speech or academic freedom on our campuses.  What is equally alarming is the relative silence of most faculty members as individual professors are publicly denounced by their universities, forced into retirement, or outright terminated for expressing dissenting views.  This case however raises an equally serious concern over the loss of due process for academics who find themselves the focus of a campaign for removal — or simply summary dismissal.

      Dr. Neal-Boylan was heralded last September as a “visionary leader” by the university in taking over the deanship.  Her writings include strong advocacy for those with disabilities in the nursing field. Those writings show tremendous empathy and concern for inclusivity in the profession.

      This controversy began when Dr. Neal-Boylan wrote the email which started with the following words:

      “Dear SSON Community,” the email provided to Campus Reform begins.

      “I am writing to express my concern and condemnation of the recent (and past) acts of violence against people of color. Recent events recall a tragic history of racism and bias that continue to thrive in this country. I despair for our future as a nation if we do not stand up against violence against anyone. BLACK LIVES MATTER, but also, EVERYONE’S LIFE MATTERS. No one should have to live in fear that they will be targeted for how they look or what they believe.”




      Who knew that witch hunts are back in fashion in Massachusetts?!


    • #333290
      • Total Posts: 7,590

      I don’t agree with firing over this. She did exhibit a complete lack of awareness, at the very least. Why folks can’t understand that these are hyper-sensitive times and that what words they choose to say have consequences, I will never understand. There are other ways to say what she said without triggering people. So maybe it was deliberate. Maybe there have been other incidents that aren’t covered here.

    • #333302
      David the Gnome
      • Total Posts: 2,609

      Of the “black lives matter” label… is that “black lives matter, TOO!”  Not that other lives do not.  We know that black people are more likely to be beaten, harassed, even killed by police, we know that life and death in so many parts of the Country predominantly black have been ignored.  Poverty, the condition of public schools, medical facilities and the list goes on and on.  The point, again, is to bring attention to how black people are treated – and how much of a difference there really is between how white and black people are treated in society.  Yes, all lives DO matter, but what do you say to someone suffering from cancer?  Do you tell them that all diabetes patients matter?  Would you tell someone who’s hair was on fire that everyone’s hair matters?

      It is a simple concept.  I do not disagree with what she said – I disagree with how she said it – and that may have been completely unintentional.  I certainly don’t think she should have been fired or even disciplined over this.  I think a long talk with someone might have done a whole hell of a lot better.  It is too damn bad, because we need people like her, we need their skills, we need their minds, we need them helping to move us forward – and I really don’t think she intended what she said to come across as it undoubtedly did.

      I am not sure though… that her sentiments are really shared by most of those who say such things.  The government seems to be saying “Live with it”, or, “die with it” – because they are not taking action.  Oh, they sure as hell could, but they are playing the same games they always do – the dems blaming the republicans and the republicans blaming the dems.  They aren’t (well, most of them) stupid.  They know what needs to be done.  They just aren’t doing it… and why?  Because all of these things cost money, they cost hubris, they require us to face things that we would prefer not to.  They require effort.  The rich do not want to pay for it – and since they pay for most political campaigns, the politicians will do what the rich tell them.

      The media may play at social justice – but ask them about most of the economic issues contributing to social injustice and they haven’t got a clue – as far as the talking heads go, anyway.

    • #333347
      • Total Posts: 4,377

      If she is that clueless she should be fired.

      I would like to remind you that U.S. health insurance companies do not contribute anything to health care. They are only a PARASITIC middle man receiving an undeserved cut of "FREE MONEY".


    • #333379
      • Total Posts: 3,622

      She was trying t be politically correct, but fell short.

    • #333397
      Ohio Barbarian
      • Total Posts: 14,814

      This isn’t just a violation of First Amendment free speech rights, it is also a violation of academic freedom and propaganda fodder for those who don’t want to give up Bullies in Blue to keep the people in their place.

      If Black Lives Matter really means Black Lives Matter, TOO!, then why not just add that one little word to the slogan? No matter how just their cause, they will never succeed if the majority of whites, Latinos, Natives and Asians are alienated because they are persuaded that black people don’t care about them.

      The political framing of the language is as simple as it gets, but for some reason activists fall in love with slogans and refuse to change them if needed, which is just fucking stupid if you want to win.

      It is better to vote for what you want and not get it than to vote for what you don't want and get it.--Eugene Debs

      Show me a man that gets rich by being a politician, and I'll show you a crook.--Harry Truman

    • #333420
      • Total Posts: 5,202

      The “Too” is understood and unnecessary, therefore redundant. “Oh yeah let’s change our slogan”, NOT.

      Bernie figured he could do more good ALIVE,
      than dead in a small plane "accident".
      I think he's right.

      Don't you?

    • #333447
      • Total Posts: 818


      She is a nurse, for crying out loud. Is she only supposed

      to save black lives? I agree with OB: This kind of pushing

      beyond the rational will cause the failure of that movement.

    • #333540
      • Total Posts: 2,636

      Massachusetts is not one of these right-to-get-fired states, so her lawyer should be able to squeeze a few dollars out of the regents of the university.

    • #333574
      • Total Posts: 2,329

      You know that when rapacious corporations hop on the “Black Lives Matter” bandwagon that something nefarious is up.

      It’s a wonderful distraction from 1) defunding the police and 2) directly addressing the fundamental class divide that is further exacerbated by systemic and long-standing racism.

      Katie Halper and Matt Taibbi had a terrific discussion with Prof. Adolph Reed about the role of identity politics. I watch/listen to the show loyally. This may be one of my favorite interviews so far. (You can skip ahead to about the 56 minute mark if you just want to hear the interview with Prof. Reed.)


    • #333588
      Captain Arizona
      • Total Posts: 169

      All lives matter. BUT! Black lives are endangered where white lives are not! It is contemptuous if you leave the last part out.

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