Campus, Investigative, News

Amid mass layoffs, BU Center for Antiracist Research accused of mismanagement of funds, disorganization


By Molly Farrar and Lydia Evans


Boston University hired Ibram X. Kendi to lead its new Center for Antiracist Research in 2020, a year marked by a global pandemic and nationwide racial tension.

Three years later, after at least $43 million in grants and gifts and what sources say has been an underwhelming output of research, the Center for Antiracist Research laid off almost all of its staff last week.

Ibram X. Kendi speaks at a panel hosted by Montclair Film on Wednesday, August 14, 2019. PHOTO COURTESY OF MONTCLAIR FILM VIA FLICKR

Multiple former staff members allege that a mismanagement of funds, high turnover rate and general disorganization have plagued the Center since its inception.

The $43 million, according to 2021 budget records obtained by The Daily Free Press, includes general support, such as the $10 million from Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, as well as donations for specific projects.

The document, which is not an all-inclusive list of donors, also lists TJ Maxx’s foundation, Stop & Shop and Peloton as donating over a million dollars.

Kendi, National Book Award-winning author of “How to Be an Antiracist,” Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities and a history professor at BU, founded the Center three years after he founded the Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University. 

Kendi talked to BU Today when BU’s Center first launched in 2020. 

“My hope is that it becomes a premier research center for researchers and for practitioners to really solve these intractable racial problems of our time,” Kendi said to BU Today. “Not only will the center seek to make that level of impact, but also work to transform how racial research is done.”

A week after the layoffs, BU announced Wednesday that they received complaints “focused on the center’s culture and its grant management practices.” 

“We are expanding our inquiry to include the Center’s management culture and the faculty and staff’s experience with it,” BU spokesperson Colin Riley said. “Boston University and Dr. Kendi believe strongly in the Center’s mission, and … he takes strong exception to the allegations made in recent complaints and media reports.”

The Compliance Services Office received an anonymous complaint in 2021 about the Center from Saida Grundy, an associate professor of sociology at BU and former CAR employee.

The complaint detailed multiple high-level employees leaving suddenly and allegations of a workplace culture that included fear of retaliation and discrimination.

After submitting the complaint, Grundy then personally went to then-Provost Jean Morrison in 2021 to discuss the alleged toxic work culture and grant mismanagement, among other significant concerns. Grundy said she sent a follow-up email after the meeting, and Morrison did not reply. 

As Provost, Morrison was instrumental in Kendi’s hiring, according to Grundy and BU Today.

“The pattern of amassing grants without any commitment to producing the research obligated to them continues to be standard operating procedure at CAR,” Grundy wrote to Morrison. “This is not a matter of slow launch. To the best of my knowledge, there is no good faith commitment to fulfilling funded research projects at CAR.”

Grundy said the Center ceased communication when her year-long contract came to an end in June 2021, which she said was retaliation for speaking up about the Center’s underwhelming work and impact on campus. 

BU notes an 8% increase in Black enrollment over the past five years as of 2020-2021. The Boston Globe reported in 2021 that out of BU’s 3,030 faculty members, there were 71 Black female instructors, including seven tenured instructors in 2019.

The University reported the Black undergraduate student population as about 4.8% in the 2021-2022 academic year. Kendi’s hiring and the founding of the Center were BU’s way to address their “race problem,” Grundy said.

“They don’t want to address Black enrollment because they don’t want to be seen as a school that’s getting Blacker, because they want to raise their prestige,” Grundy said. “That’s the real racism.”

Phillipe Copeland, a clinical associate professor in the School of Social Work and former assistant director of the Narrative office at CAR, spent two years developing educational programming for the Center. He left his role in June.

“The narrative that seems to be coming from CAR and from BU is that this is some innovative, organizational pivot or redesign rather than an institutional failure, for which people need to be accountable,” he said before the inquiry was launched. “There needs to actually be an explanation to people who invested time and energy in the Center.”

Two emails sent to Kendi’s chief of staff requesting comment from CAR and Kendi were not answered. 

“It’s a real mess,” Copeland said. “There’s just no winners here.”


The University would not confirm the number of affected staff, but sources familiar with the matter say at least 20 to 30 staff members have been let go as the Center “evolves” toward a nine-month fellowship model. 

“The University and Center are committed to working with and supporting affected employees as they look for their next opportunities,” Riley wrote in an email. 

Riley wrote that The Emancipator, CAR’s digital publication that previously partnered with the Boston Globe, is not affected by the layoffs, and Kendi will remain the Center’s director.

Copeland said, to his knowledge, these massive layoffs are unheard of at BU.

“It does damage to this area of work because there are already people out there that are trying to discredit antiracism,” Copeland said. “To have such a high-profile person be associated with leading an organization that fails so spectacularly, that has a ripple effect.”

A CAR manager, who requested to remain anonymous, was laid off on Sept. 13. In several Zoom meetings, groups of four to five employees were let go in each meeting. The manager described the layoffs as “rehearsed.” 

“We felt disposable,” they said before the inquiry announcement. “I’m surprised that there’s still no official statement. Actually, it adds to the disrespect, in my opinion, almost as if it can be kept under wraps.”

They said much of the work at the Center was being postponed until Kendi, who was on leave as of July 31, returned to work. His return to work coincided with the layoffs to make room for “CAR 2.0,” according to emails obtained by The Daily Free Press.

The manager said staff were informed of a hiring freeze in June, and it was communicated to staff that a restructuring would occur when Kendi returned from his leave.

“We have been hearing for weeks or months about a new vision for the Center, and how that would be communicated when he came back,” they said. “A lot of the reason why a lot of projects were on pause [was] because we didn’t know what that vision was going to look like.”

Former staff members said the Center appeared to prioritize fundraising and revenue over research.

“If something was not sufficiently revenue-producing, then it wasn’t for CAR’s time,” Copeland said.

BU is not commenting on the reason for the layoffs, but according to multiple people familiar with the matter, Kendi told staff that the model of the Center is not currently financially sustainable.

Copeland said that earlier this year, the Center’s staff were told at least one funder would not continue investing in the Center because they were unhappy with the work being done.

“People started to get nervous,” Copeland said. “A funder, or more than one funder was like, basically, ‘we’re seeing the same thing that your staff are seeing, which is that the Center is having a problem, and we’re not going to keep giving you money.’”

Spencer Piston, an associate professor of political science, who works as the faculty lead in the Policy office at the Center, said the layoffs are surprising given that the new fellowship model “will involve hiring new people.” He said he is unsure if his job is secure at the Center.

“It’s pretty hard for me to imagine they blew through $30 million in two years,” Piston said. “There’s been a lack of transparency about how much money comes in and how it’s spent from the beginning, which comports with a larger culture of secrecy.”

Multiple CAR staff members said the Center was disorganized, and Kendi was ill-equipped to lead. The Center hired an executive director to run operations in Jan. 2022, who left after 14 months. 

“Just because you’re a good scholar in your field doesn’t mean that you know how to run an organization, and that’s why lots of people don’t do that,” Copeland said about Kendi. “I don’t know if it’s a disciplinary issue as much as just a leadership ability issue.”

Copeland said the Center seemed disconnected from the University community, and that “it could’ve been a separate thing.” Research institutions do not need to be affiliated with a university, he said.

“From my perspective, the University allowed this to happen. They invited him to come. They gave him this power and money. They gave him public support, and now we’re in a situation where mass layoffs are happening,” Copeland said. “That didn’t happen in a vacuum.”


The Center is split into four offices: Research, Narrative, Policy and Advocacy.

A former CAR employee involved in research leadership at the Center in 2020 said many investors were interested in quantitative research about racial disparities. Specific grant funding  ranged from funding the COVID Racial Data Tracker to health and food disparity research, summing hundreds of thousands of dollars. 

With tens of millions of dollars total, the Center was well-funded to meet those goals, the anonymous source said.

“There’s a mismatch between the amount of money that CAR has received from these grants and what they’ve actually produced,” they said. “You can juxtapose that with other research centers either at BU or other universities that have received a tiny fraction of what CAR has received and has produced a lot more.”

Kendi told the Boston Globe in 2020 that the Center’s goals included data science-based research. 

“Data science is going to be one of the pillars of our new center and the University’s investments in data science were attractive,” he told the Globe.

The Racial Data Lab and the Antiracist Tech Initiative make up the extent of the Center’s data-based output under their Research category, according to CAR’s website. 

The COVID Racial Data Tracker, a collaboration with The Atlantic that started during Kendi’s time at AU, is the Racial Data Lab’s sole project, according to CAR’s website. The tracker stopped collecting data a year later in March of 2021.

The Racial Data Lab only includes the now-defunct tracker.

“The Center has very, very much failed to deliver on its promise. It’s been a colossal waste of millions of dollars,” said Piston, noting that individual staff members did make progress on specific projects while facing high turnover and lack of support from management. 

Of the five CAR contributors who worked on the COVID Racial Data Tracker, only two are still with the Center as of July: Kendi’s chief of staff, Adeline Guttierez-Ñunez, and Kendi. 

The final category in research, which has been missing an associate director since 2021, is the Antiracist Tech Initiative. The tech initiative lists three priorities, based on the materials listed on CAR’s website: to co-create research agendas, conduct antiracist research and engage with communities. No other details or deliverables were listed.

A former CAR employee involved in research leadership, who also asked to remain anonymous, said the Center was not able to hire a qualified senior social scientist, and it seemed like Kendi was not “interested in bringing [one] on, or seemingly couldn’t,” they said.

In addition to the alleged lack of research output, CAR’s 2020-2021 Donor Impact Report presented several projects planned to launch within the next two years, including the American Antiracist Society and the third National Antiracist Book Festival. 

The CAR budget included a $170,000 grant from the Raikes Foundation to appoint an assistant director of Advocacy. The Donor Impact Report stated that the assistant director of Advocacy would be appointed specifically to develop the American Antiracist Society.

Though the society was planned to launch publicly in early 2022 and appointed an assistant director of Advocacy in November 2021, no mention of the American Antiracist Society currently appears on CAR’s website. 

The first National Antiracist Book Festival took place in person at AU, where Kendi led their antiracist research center. The second festival was held virtually in 2022 with CAR, featuring guests such as Angela Davis, former The Emancipator co-editor-in-chief Deborah Douglas, and 50 other authors, including Kendi. 

Copeland, who worked with authors, was told the National Antiracist Book Festival was canceled, and little explanation was offered to staff members who worked on the event, he said.

“This is the biggest event that we have that engages the most people, so to decide that you’re just not going to do that anymore seemed odd to me,” Copeland said. “This is not indicative of a healthy organization when you’re just canceling your biggest draw.” 

Inspired by a Boston-based abolitionist newspaper from the 1830s, CAR and the Boston Globe launched The Emancipator in 2021 and began publishing in 2022. 

“If there was ever a body of people who should be arguing out the definition of a term, particularly a seemingly politically charged term like ‘racism,’ why would it not be journalists?” Kendi told the New York Times in 2021 about The Emancipator. “They should define the term based on evidence.”

The Emancipator, while still active with a domain, is no longer associated with the Boston Globe after a two-year partnership, according to internal emails obtained by The Daily Free Press. The paper is currently searching for a new editor-in-chief to replace the two former editors-in-chief.

“The move to BU will streamline its operations and fundraising efforts and will unite the editorial team under one organization,” Linda Henry, the CEO of Boston Globe Media, and editorial page editor James Dao wrote to the Boston Globe newsroom. The email went on to thank those involved, including The Emancipator co-founder Bina Venkataraman and former editor-in-chief Amber Payne, who transitioned to publisher. The note did not mention co-founder Kendi.

Copeland, who was involved with the Narrative office, said the decision to cut ties with the Boston Globe was confusing, much like the decision to cancel the book festival.

“The Globe has much more legitimacy and reach than a little startup publication that nobody’s heard of yet,” Copeland said while acknowledging The Emancipator’s work so far.

Copeland also said none of his work came to fruition, which included developing coursework for a graduate degree and an undergraduate minor in Antiracist Studies.

“The whole thing has been abandoned in part because I just think CAR was not able to generate sufficient support from the faculty to pull it off,” he said.

CAR’s Policy office lists multiple public comments and amicus briefs about racial and ethnic data, civil rights and mass criminalization and incarceration on the website.

The manager who was laid off last Wednesday said while progress was made, work completed across the sectors, especially in the Policy office, was not highlighted.

“It was mostly about him, rather than the work, and it was just very difficult to highlight the work over the founder,” said the anonymous manager.

The 2021-2022 Antibigotry Convening, a Policy project mentioned in the Donor Impact Report, brought together 35 scholars for an output of short essays regarding different intersections of identity, all funded by a $200,000 grant from the Ford Foundation, according to the CAR budget document.

The Convening was an academic-year-long virtual fellowship culminating in a report of collected essays that contributed “to public conversations about bigotry by focusing particularly on its structural aspects,” according to the Center’s website. 

Grundy said several faculty affiliates who participated in the Convening “walked away from the project soured by what they feel was not only an exploitative ask, but also a deeply anti-intellectual endeavor,” anti-intellectual because the project solely promoted Kendi’s work, “not a scholarly dialogue.” 

Heron Greenesmith, a fellow for the Convening who focused on anti-trans and anti-LGBT activity, said Grundy’s complaint was a “strange critique.”

“It was phenomenal, being in conversation with other experts in their areas of research,” Greenesmith said.

Jason Stanley, a philosophy professor at Yale University, wrote in an email that he participated in about two to three Zoom calls for the Convening and gave a short talk. Stanley is credited as a fellow on CAR’s webpage. 


Riley, BU spokesperson, said a previous examination of the Center’s grant management practices will continue while new information comes to light about the Center’s culture.

“We recognize the importance of Dr. Kendi’s work and the significant impact it has had on antiracist thinking and policy,” Riley said. 

Now, amid BU’s inquiry, Piston calls for accountability.

“We complained in writing years ago to the Provost, who did not even bother to respond to us,” Piston wrote in a statement. “A more appropriate response would be to remove Dr. Kendi from the directorship and hand governance over to the fired staff, who have been working intensely with deep commitment to the cause of racial justice.”

Molly and Lydia started the investigation in December 2022 while Molly was the editor-in-chief of The Daily Free Press. Molly has since graduated and Lydia works part time for which is owned by Boston Globe Media.



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  1. Sad to see such a beacon turn out to be a flickering candle that will soon blow out in the wind. Tragic. Just Tragic.

    • The inspiration for the Emancipator actually came from the abolitionist newspaper named “The Emancipator,” and it was written by Elihu Embree in Jonesborough, TN in 1820. This was an entire decade before William Lloyd Garrison’s “The Liberator” in 1831.

    • Not surprising. Absolutely power corrupts absolutely.

  2. Some seriously stellar reporting.

    The real travesty here is that this largely promotional “research center” was amassing funds while TAs, RAs, etc were fighting for scraps.

  3. Very comprehensive article, thanks DFP staff!

  4. “It’s pretty hard for me to imagine they blew through $30 million in two years,” Piston said. “There’s been a lack of transparency about how much money comes in and how it’s spent from the beginning, which comports with a larger culture of secrecy.”

    it’s not hard for me to imagine they blew $30 million. why? 1)I watched them gut the entire area of the building where the offices are located. It was quite a process watching them dismantle and rebuild the office suites. As a person interested in renovations, this was dramatic, speedy, and no doubt costly. 2) Additionally, I always wondered where the head of the organization was as it never seemed that he was in Boston/ at Boston University when he appeared on TV or on BU sponsored Zoom events. Might be worthwhile to audit travel records to see what was going on there. I feel so badly for the 20-30 staff members that were fired. Sounds like it was a very toxic work environment. I hope that they find healing and new positions. Further, I hope that BU HR will find roles for them somewhere in the University system. It seems as if BU wanted so badly to be adjacent to this big, popular, young superstar talent, and totally disregarded the CV of person they put in place. In academia, this is not unusual, because there is such a fight and desire to be relevant and find ways to attract more students and funding. It’s all about the all mighty dollar, and BU’s Charles River Campus leadership has blown it once again.

  5. Like Sharpton, BLM et. al. we saw from day one that this guy was a grifter and a shakedown artist. The people involved in giving him millions to utterly waste on revenge racism “research” should be ashamed, as those were funds that could have been directed at something positive and useful. That they should feel as dumb as they look.

    • BU grad here. Well done dailyfreepress. Finally some folks with the courage to shine a light on this grift. It would be good if the Federal prosecutor in Boston took a look under the hood as well. Maybe your journalism will help start a long-overdue investigation into the misuse of funds here.
      Would love nothing more than to see the racists who run this center on racism get their just desserts. And yes, damn right I’m not putting my full name because I am absolutely sure that one of these racist “anti racist” grifters would do their damnedest to doxx me if they could. That’s how they tend to roll when they get criticized.

    • BU deserves this embarrassment for bringing in race hustlers like Kendi. Current BU students should realize that these kind of events, from grifters like Kendi, diminish the value of their degree which they pay a pretty penny for.
      Until the woke morons attending the university today figure this out, BU’s reputation will continue to slide.
      …BU grad smg84

    • Your referencing Rev. Al Sharpton and BLM instructs more about you, than Kendi.

  6. this office was a joke from the start. Stop with the band Wagon Concepts. get back to EDUCATION.

    • Really? You can’t think of any way an educational institution could contribute to fighting racism?

    • Just like BLM! 91 Million dollars gone for what. Million dollars of mansions.
      America is not systemically racist. Talk to the accomplished black leaders that have worked to come out of terrible poverty, became leaders and millionaires. They will tell you all people can make it if the desire and motivation is there.
      Dems want to keep the black vote by handing out entitlements . The new plantation.

    • This is beautiful. It’s the ultimate in Schadenfreude. Kendi is a scammer and a grifter and instead of robbing white do-gooder liberals in the projects with a gun, he used a much more sophisticated and subtle approach. Nice work.
      Btw – nothing was produced because “systemic racism” simply doesn’t exist.

      • Bet they’ve just scratched the surface here. All these antiracist/racial equity orgs are corrupt. BLM was the same. They create ghosts and then shame people into donating to their scam.

  7. Breaking news: social justice org w/vague, idealistic, unmeasurable mission turns out to not have a very well-defined purpose for existing

  8. Please explain this? If the CSO complaint is anonymous, why are you naming the complaintant?

    “The Compliance Services Office received an anonymous complaint in 2021 about the Center from Saida Grundy, an associate professor of sociology at BU and former CAR employee.”

    • That was confusing to me as well at first. I think the anonymous complaint (probably from a staffer) was raised to Prof. Grundy and she was tasked with bringing it to the attention of the Compliance Services Office. That’s how I read it.

  9. Alessandra Kellermann of BU Parents United

    This is extremely sad to see and in short it sounds like this became a slow but continuous battle between Professor Kendi, his ego and personal book sales verses dedicated staff and scholars,students who were dedicated to ensure the intended higher purpose of building a world research and resource center for Anti-Racism.
    It’s even more disappointing that the promised courses for graduate and undergraduate students were never fully developed and initiated.
    Millions of dollars of donations and grants and lack of transparency? It’s no wonder the Boston Globe severed ties in order to preserve their own world class reputation.
    Hoping perhaps with some more changes such as a new role for Professor Kendi at BU and new leadership, we can resuscitate the center to benefit students and scholars worldwide and help us understand and combat racism more effectively.
    Bring back the fired staff and recruit researchers and scholars who are willing to put their egos and alleged greed for personal book sales aside for the greater good. Racism is more prevalent than ever and the work needs to be done.

    • Huh? New role? How about removal, civil and criminal charges for improprieties? Astounding. Excusing dereliction, at the very least, and most likely, willful dereliction and grift to go with it.

      • Well said! Another position within BU? Seriously? Why shouldn’t there be an investsigation to find out where all of those millions of dollars were spent.

  10. Disheartening to say the least. It’s possible that Prof. Kendi’s health struggles played a role in this debacle.

    • Nobody else has brought that up as a possible excuse. I think it’s just Occum’s Razor: He’s a grifter.

    • For $30M, he could have hired a manager to take care of things if he was too sick to handle it. This is such a big disaster, there is no explaining it away.

    • So close! Maybe the relapse will get him next time.

    • Thanks for sharing this link. It wasn’t difficult to find and include this information in the article…unless perhaps one is blowing a dog whistle. Given the many tone deaf comments here, it appears the dogs have responded en masse, tripping over themselves to post their usual pablum.

  11. The Center’s objective is laudable. It would be a shame if this situation discredits it.

    Having said that, some BU faculty feel that the Center has been remiss in not having taken a better look at its host institution. Below are links to two items from the Daily Free Press which refer to the case of Rodrigo Lopes de Barros, formerly of the Department of Romance Studies in CAS.

    Unfortunately, attempts to have the Center show even minimal interest in the case came to nothing. Yes, registering concern about this egregious case could be construed as “biting the hand that feeds you”, but if the Center has been sincere in its stated objectives, it should have spoken up at some point.

    Lopes de Barros’s status as an Assistant Professor at BU came to an end on June 30, 2023. His case before the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination is pending. If he wins, it will make the Center look worse than it currently does. (Antiracism should begin at home…)

    As an example of the attention this case is garnering at a national and international level, I append the text of a letter sent last spring to BU officials by the Officers and Executive Committee of the Brazilian Studies Association. It shows that this case is not just a trivial local matter.

    May 24, 2023
    To Whom It May Concern:
    The Officers and Executive Committee of the Brazilian Studies Association register objection to the decision to deny tenure to Rodrigo Lopes de Barros, Assistant Professor of Spanish, Portuguese, and Latin American Studies of Boston University. Prof. Lopes de Barros is an outstanding scholar who has made original and necessary contributions to Latin American literary and film studies with a focus on Brazil and Cuba. He is an important voice in contemporary Brazilian studies in the United States and a cherished teacher, mentor, and colleague. His tenure and promotion case received strong support from a number of highly qualified scholars and was recommended by all the committees that reviewed his case before being rejected at the provost’s level. The Brazilian Studies Association urges President Brown and Provost Morrison to reconsider this decision and grant tenure and promotion to Prof. Lopes de Barros.
    Prof. Lopes de Barros is the author of a monograph, Distortion and Subversion: Punk Rock Music and the Protests for Free Public Transportation in Brazil (1996-2011), published by Liverpool University Press (2022), which has an excellent catalogue of titles relating to Brazilian/Latin American literary and cultural studies. We note, for example, that Liverpool UP also published Bruno Carvalho’s Porous City: A Cultural History of Rio de Janeiro, which received the Roberto Reis Best Book Prize from the Brazilian Studies Association in 2014 and was the centerpiece of Prof. Carvalho’s successful bid for tenure at Princeton University, before his move to Harvard University in 2018. Prof. Lopes de Barros is also the author of series of articles published by prestigious journals such as Comparative Literature Studies and Alea: Estudos Neolatinos and the co-editor of Ruinologias: ensaios sobre of destroços do presente (EdUFSC, 2016). In addition, he has directed film documentaries on Brazilian writers Chacal and Jacques Fux. All these works are marked by a unique critical gaze that investigates transversal, unsuspected connections between authors, contexts, and intellectual traditions. His monograph mobilizes an innovative set of methodologies to investigate how punk rock, understood as a musical, political, and performative practice, has impacted one of the most consequential chapters of contemporary popular movements in Brazil, which is movement for affordable public transportation. In doing so, Prof. Lopes de Barros offers a new reading of the history of the punk movement in Brazil, that takes into consideration its many aesthetic, political, and racial specificities in the context of expanding metropolitan areas in the country. In other portions of Prof. Lopes de Barros’s scholarship, he offers original contributions to reconsider the cultural and political stakes of the present through the lenses of avant-garde and other early-twentieth-century artists and thinkers, showing how theorizations on the concepts of ruin and fetish, among others, can tie together periods, authors, and questions rarely put side by side. Finally, Prof. Lopes de Barros has often probed the limits of critical activity by reinventing it as a documentary filmmaker and
    through hybrid critical and creative exercises, such as his work on Fux. Very few scholars today offer the combination of rigorous inquiry and creative energy found in Prof. Lopes de Barros’s work.
    Prof. Lopes de Barros has also received enthusiastic support from Boston University’s faculty as recorded in articles from the Daily Free Press as well as in a petition organized by students. All of these voices render evident his talent as a teacher, his continuous support to students, and his important mission as one of the only faculty members working on the Caribbean and on Brazil in the realm of literary and cultural studies on campus. We share their sense of dismay that Boston University stands to lose a talented and versatile scholar who has pursued a range of activities in serious and systematic fashion. Moreover, his colleagues have expressed their deep concern regarding the impact of such denial on the university’s stated efforts to increase diversity on campus. The absence of a reasonable justification for the tenure denial of a Black Brazilian professor who possesses the necessary qualifications for tenure and promotion, against the recommendation of the university’s own members, makes the present situation even more concerning.
    We are troubled by reports outlined in the public letter from faculty published in the May 1, 2023 edition of the Daily Free Press, which suggest that there were serious procedural errors in the report issued by University Appointments, Promotions and Tenure Committee (UAPT). The letter indicates that UAPT raised concerns about candidate’s citation rate, yet also noted that the committee used incorrect data due to confusion related to his compound surname. His faculty colleagues also pointed out that his citation rate is comparable to some of the leading scholars in his field. We further argue that measuring citation rate is not typically how humanities scholars are evaluated at such an early stage in a career. As his first book was published just last year, it’s too early to evaluate its citation rate. Finally, the letter indicates that the UAPT expressed concern that the response rate for letters of tenure evaluation was relatively low. His faculty colleagues have noted that this rate may be attributed to the Covid-19 pandemic, while also observing that it was comparable to the rate of a recent case involving a successful promotion to full professor. We would add that the response rate for these requests is not a useful metric for evaluating a candidate’s stature in the field. Potential evaluators regularly turn down or simply ignore these requests for any number of valid reasons that should not reflect negatively on the candidate.
    As an organization committed to the production and dissemination of high-quality scholarship on Brazilian studies, and to the promotion of a lively, healthy, and equitable intellectual community, the Brazilian Studies Association urges Boston University to reverse its decision and grant tenure to Prof. Lopes de Barros.
    Officers and Executive Committee Members of the Brazilian Studies Association
    Rebecca Atencio, Associate Professor of Portuguese and Gender & Sexuality Studies at Tulane University
    Sidney Chalhoub, Professor of History and of African and African American Studies at Harvard University and President of the Brazilian Studies Association
    Amy Chazkel, Associate Professor of History and Bernard Hirschhorn Chair of Urban Studies at Columbia University.
    Isis Barra Costa, Assistant Professor of Contemporary Brazilian Literary and Cultural Studies at Ohio State University.

    Benjamin Cowan, Professor of History, University of California-San Diego
    Christopher Dunn, Professor and Chair of the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at Tulane University and Executive Director of the Brazilian Studies Association
    Reighan Gillam, Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology at the University of Southern California.
    Erika Robb Larkins, Associate Professor of Anthropology, Director of the Behner Stiefel Center for Brazilian Studies at San Diego State University and Vice President of the Brazilian Studies Association
    Ana Paulina Lee, Assistant Professor of Latin American and Iberian Cultures at Columbia University.
    Ynaê Lopes dos Santos, Professor of History of America at Universidade Federal Fluminense.
    Marcelo Paixão, Associate Professor of African and African Diaspora Studies at University of Texas- Austin and Past President of the Brazilian Studies Association
    Okezi T. Otovo, Associate Professor of History and African and African Diaspora Studies at Florida International University
    Flavia Rios, Professor of Sociology at the Universidade Federal Fluminense (UFF)
    Aldair Rodrigues, Assistant Professor of History at the University of Campinas
    Fabio de Sá e Silva, Assistant Professor of International Studies and Wick Cary Professor of Brazilian Studies at the University of Oklahoma
    Victoria Saramago, Associate Professor of Hispanic and Luso-Brazilian Studies at the University of Chicago
    Rebecca Tarlau, Associate Professor of Education and Labor and Employment Relations at the Pennsylvania State University
    Rubia Valente, Assistant Professor at the Marxe School of Public and International Affairs at Baruch College (CUNY)

    • Iffland .. it is comical you would expect a Research Center to take a stance in a tenure case. Shows you how out of touch you are about T&P.

    • I don’t think it is appropriate to attempt to hijack this discussion with your agenda.

  12. Grifter’s gotta grift. It’s BLMansions all over again.
    For someone who is an academic fraud being thrown large tubs of virtue money, this was more or less inevitable.

  13. Some of the best student reporting I’ve ever seen.

  14. A movement so fact starved that it cannot exist unless it gets society to suppress all criticism can’t find a way to do research? Surprise surprise.
    The first task should have been to find a way for the movement to create its first fact-based rebuttal. Instead of hiding behind a Slew of unresearched abusive accusations against its debate opponents. If you could just put together your first fact-based rebuttal that would help the movement so much.
    Second would be to repent from the evil of cancel culture. Harming people to suppress the facts that destroy your narrative is still harming people.
    Third would be to get enough facts to realize you are harming the black and trans communities. Haven’t heard of that,? See point ,#2.
    Oh, you are so convinced that you are so right. Then will you explain where you have allowed all the facts to be presented? No mainstream social media site will allow it. If you have to hide from the truth then you don’t have it.
    You won’t criticize or even allow us to criticize everybody who murders black people. Reprehensible. This prevents those murderers from being discouraged and then they go out and murder more black people. Their blood is on your hands. Academics.

  15. A movement so fact starved that it cannot exist unless it gets society to suppress all criticism can’t find a way to do research? Surprise surprise.
    The first task should have been to find a way for the movement to create its first fact-based rebuttal. Instead of hiding behind a Slew of unresearched abusive accusations against its debate opponents. If you could just put together your first fact-based rebuttal that would help the movement so much.
    Second would be to repent from the evil of cancel culture. Harming people to suppress the facts that destroy your narrative is still harming people.
    Third would be to get enough facts to realize you are harming the black and trans communities. Haven’t heard of that,? See point ,#2.
    Oh, you are so convinced that you are so right. Then will you explain where you have allowed all the facts to be presented? No mainstream social media site will allow it. If you have to hide from the truth then you don’t have it.
    You won’t criticize or even allow us to criticize everybody who murders black people. Reprehensible. This prevents those murderers from being discouraged and then they go out and murder more black people. Research that, Academics.

  16. Grifters gonna grift. Soon as he said all white people are hopelessly racist, not because of anything they’ve said or done, but simply because their white and breathe air, I knew this guy was a fraud. It was all about $. You reap what you sow. Hope he repents.

  17. Anonymous: Well, that’s part of the problem. Research on a subject like this (racism) would seem to demand some sort of praxis based on the research carried out. The praxis should apply, presumably, to the institution that hosts you. Otherwise, it borders on being a scam.

    On the issue of being “out of touch”, I would only point out that I had nearly a half century of experience with tenure cases at BU (I taught there from 1974 until 2023), including the Lopes de Barros case (he was a faculty member in my department). For the Provost and President of BU to reverse all the committee recommendations made on this case, with zero explanation, goes against all acceptable precedents in U.S. higher education. It only suggests that racism (let’s assume on an unconscious level…) may have played a role. The Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination will have the final word. If its finding goes against BU, it will make its Center for Antiracist Research look fatuous.

  18. Iffland, you were always part of the problem. Your years like a loyal party apparatchik you were defending the Center and it’s founder. Time to look in the mirror and face he truth.

  19. Good riddance.

  20. Iffland – being some where for that many years and even in a chair position doesn’t necessarily mean you know about academic process. Tenure cases get turned down all the time and often at the latter stages of the process. You should know better that a University sponsored research center can’t endorse a T&P case, and University doesn’t take endorsements/letters from internal faculty much less internal centers.

  21. As someone who put put great faith in and supported Dr. Kendi’s mission, it’s very disheartening to read that little has been done in the way of research that supports modern anti-racism efforts, pinpoints racist systems in need of dismantling, and provides a vision of what the specific alternative equitable, anti-racist and non-white-centered structures might look like. 🙁

    Now my question is – $43 million seems like a lot of money – if no real research was conducted and no scholarship produced, where the hell did all of that money go?

    • I feel sorry for you. You don’t have an ounce of common sense.

    • One doesn’t need much intelligence nor time to arrive at the obvious: any research conducted on “anti-racism” will produce results that the researchers won’t like.

      “Anti-racism” is an intellectually bankrupt academic subject area, born in the era of social media slacktivism. It is an obvious grift. That it received so much funding, for organizations nationwide, had everything to do with elitist fear/preservation, and trying desperately to get Trump out of office. I loathe Trump, FWIW. But it’s obvious to anyone that when the NBA gives $300 million to leftist political organizations and encourage players to wear the messages, “vote”, and “change” on their jerseys, we know what their real intentions are. (Don’t even get me started on the hundreds of millions, even billions, that Big Tech pumped into beating Trump). Hence why all the funding for social justice dried up once Trump was defeated. The woke left was used to get rid of the scary orange man.

      And now some of those chickens are coming home to roost at academic institutions and corporations. All this far-left grifting is destructive to the bottom line. And woke policies are a litigator’s wet dream. It’s only going to get uglier from here for the newfangled social justice movement.

  22. I’ve been reading (in print and online) the DFP since its founding in 1970. This is one of the best articles I can recall over all those years. Keep going!

  23. An independent audit is needed ASAP.

  24. Idk what everyone here is thinking!!!! That’s a huge amount of money, and hard to blow on 30 people or less. They need to interview staff and Kendi, conduct a financial audit, and see if malfeasance took place. In corporate America we get investigated for $500 expenses. Way too much money, way too little time. Extremely suspicious.

  25. In college he freely admits that he thought white people were aliens. You cant get much more racist than that. In college! Not high school or elementary, college. Look it up, he writes about it in his book. Why we look to this person for answers on anything is baffling.

  26. Shame on the Administration of BU!
    This was an aspirational idea with a charismatic person in the fore.
    The university has an obligation to ensure there was appropriate experienced administrative leadership to run the ship and allow Kendi to be a star.
    What evidence did they have that he should be expected to handle the administration of those funds and run a large organization??
    They basked in the limelight of the moment and set the entire program up for failure!

    Great reporting on a sad, sad story.

  27. Great reporting! I am still in sock. It is amazing how sometimes actions and initiatives are not what they look like in the public. I pray for healing, the return of those professionals who were fired, and collaborative leadership. Dr. Ibram, this job is not for you.

  28. Excellent reporting…writing…and editing. Well done!

  29. Long ago COM graduate here. This story answered the old “who, what, when, where, and why” questions, essential to a proper news report. Reporter as “observer reporting FACTS” has for too long been subsumed to “All The News That Fits, We Print”. This article displayed an obvious in depth effort to find facts and report them, in an atmosphere which often requires that what is reported should fit in to advocacy concerns. Story flowed nicely, was clear, fact filled, unbiased and understandable. My compliments.

    That said, receiving the various literature and requests for Alumni $$, once I heard of this situation, my long career of developing white collar fraud cases told me that that Kendi was simply a grifter. Bright guy to realize that he could make money off the BLM etc. situation. But he dropped the ball when he produced ZERO. Had he even bothered to regurgitate what his book already said, he would have been ok and could have perpetuated this swindle. But he did not.

  30. Limited intellect coupled with outsized showmanship leading to great riches. Kendi is the PT Barnum of our age.

  31. This has always been the case for race grifters. They only know how to loot and destroy.

  32. Never understood some of the fear mongering that surrounds topics of anti-racism thought, these insitutions and individuals are exceptional at self-immolation and thus pose no threat to anyone but themselves, really.

  33. “Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket.” – Eric Hoffer

  34. Antiracist “research” is the new Lysenkoism, or maybe even alchemy…a popular sociopolitical project that fits the spirit of the age but doesn’t hold up to close scrutiny.

  35. Wait a minute! When reading this article I came across this line: “The Compliance Services Office received an anonymous complaint in 2021 about the Center from Saida Grundy, an associate professor of sociology at BU and former CAR employee.” So much for anonymity!

  36. The ongoing struggle for civil rights, long ago achieved, continues to be so lucrative that the incentive for activists, those misguided and those unscrupulous, is to perpetuate the con indefinitely.

  37. America’s education system has gone to hell. Thanks largely to activist. Figured out what “be the change” actually means yet ?

  38. LOL Nothing better than watching the wokies fighting with each other.

    You should look up Grundy. She’s a convicted sex offender and certifies racist:

  39. This is what happens when you sanctify skin colour.
    The fact that Kendi is Black and famous does not mean that he is competent.
    BU doesn’t want to touch him because of his ethnicity. That is actual racial prejudice because it has refused to act the way it would have done if it were a non-Black person.
    Let a comprehensive financial audit be undertaken. If there is conclusive evidence of fraud, the police should be called in. If there is conclusive evidence of incompetence, Kendi should be fired.
    That is the real antiracism: treating everyone equally, regardless of colour or political ideology.

    • Well said. Hopefully, this is the beginning of the end of the woke racial racket

    • This is exactly right. By far the biggest issue with woke ideology (I refuse to call it progressive or liberal ideology!) is that it only sees people by the color of their skin or by their gender or their sexuality. What’s more is that it then patronizes and infantilizes entire races of people again, based solely off of what skin color they were born with. Equality and color blindness are the only way we move forward as a society and close the gaps. We have to be able to hold each other to the same standards regardless of race, even if it means stomaching existing wealth and opportunity gaps for a few more generations.

  40. That wa a great piece of reporting. Thanks DFP.

  41. Al Sharpton is jealous……

  42. What do you expect when you hire an incompetent “intellectual” who seems aware of his lack of intellect and afraid of intellectual confrontation? Ibram Kendi does not grasp the depth of the field he is supposed to be expert on. His work only profits one person Ibram Kendi.

  43. Thanks for this article. A competent and transparent audit is in order. I’ve been disappointed in some of the reporting. I read Phillipe Copeland’s opinion piece in the Daily Beast and beginning with, “Dysfunction and layoffs is what we got instead.,” it is littered with subject-verb agreement errors and broken syntax. Why? Maybe it’s time to get back to some educational fundamentals. Binaries like you are either gay or anti-gay are exhausting and tautological.

  44. Great reporting! Like the BLM “leaders”, Kendi turns out to be just another fraud exploiting the gullibility and stupidity of progressives when it comes to issues of race. This man has been the face of Critical Race Theory and I hope this episode contributes to the complete discrediting of that destructive nonsense.

    • CRT is tough, because theoretically adding an element of assessing power balances into our understanding of history is a very intriguing idea. The problem is that it requires that we be able to have meaningful, difficult, and inevitably fractious discussions on said power balances and unfortunately people like Kendi and other woke activists have made it literally impossible to even have those discussions. I can’t bring up these topics at work because I WOULD be fired, and I’m a data scientist working for a financial services company. The language of victimization and “safe spaces” and “inclusivity” have made CRT practically impossible.

  45. Great reporting. All of this comes against the background of a failed presidential search and the abrupt resignation of the provost. Sadly, BU appears to be in disarray.

  46. Serious academics of colour such as John McWhorter and Thomas Sowell must be appalled at ‘Kendi’ – he was born Henry Rogers, not quite so marketable – and this fiasco. Ironically it has done the cause of anti-racism no good at all, and will perpetuate negative stereotypes, as did the BLM mansion scandal. But if you hand a lot of money to someone almost purely because of the color of their skin, you are asking for trouble. (And they might have checked on his intellectual credentials: in an Aspen Festival of Ideas symposium he was asked for his definition of racism and provided a hilariously circular response that cited the word ‘racism’ three times.)

    • This is the crux of it. BU is really to blame here for hiring someone woefully unqualified for this position. It was unfortunately a very post-modern form of tokenism by BU to hire Kendi for this position without really doing any due diligence or interviewing other candidates. Glenn Loury himself used to head a research center at BU doing exactly this type of research in the 90s just with zero funding and far more meaningful output. He’s very happy at Brown it sounds like but there are plenty of legitimate academics who would have jumped at this opportunity and been wildly more qualified than Kendi/Rogers.

  47. Wonder why Kendi hasn’t made any statement? Is he still perpetuating this narrative? The jinx is up. Now he has to justify where the money went. This should be interesting.

  48. When rigorous scholarship and responsible oversight take a backseat to political correctness, this is what you get.

  49. It’s kind of ironic how many of these comments are racist.

  50. While one would hope this might change how we are doing “anti-racist” work in our universities, something tells me heels will continue to be dug in. The comments will be dismissed as right wing racism and the show will go on. As someone who experienced severe mental and physical abuse for decades, I healed enough to want to take the next step. I went back to school to accomplish my dreams and to live believing in myself and my worth. What I experienced at university in the name of “anti-racism” felt very, very familiar as I was reduced to my physical characteristics. The fact that I overcame decades of trauma and abuse, addiction, poverty, homelessness, and invisible disability was unimportant. My perspective was asked to “step back” and “make space” for “marginalized voices”. I was silenced while “marginalized” wealthy students who were loved and supported by their families were put on a pedestal. I saw, over and over again, tantrums over every cryptic”micro aggressions” and demands white students “do the work” when asked for specific direction. Specific direction is labeled “emotional labor”, and black students are “so, so tired” of teaching whites. Classes were canceled and struggle sessions were had. Learning was halted. It felt a whole lot like being abused and gaslit, I made my feelings known and I was highly disliked. I needed to be hospitalized as a result of the retraumatization and am still recovering. I hope very much people understand these practices are not working but worse, are actively harming good people who have trauma, are trying to heal, and who want to have a voice in the world. The silencing and cancel culture feels terrifying to us and is not the way. Time to have a serious discussion on how to improve the conversation.

    • I unfortunately agree. Performative anti-racist rhetoric is just too comforting of an excuse to explain society’s disparities. People are too uncomfortable to really look under the hood at the varying cultures that drive us and our development as people in this country, it’s much easier to just blame racism for everything.

  51. This is what happens when you ask empty activists to actually back up their rhetoric. John McWhorter had I believe the most generous reaction to this collapse in his New York Times piece last week but I know Glenn Loury also had some very poignant takes on this as well. Essentially both of their viewpoints boil down to running this institute should have been left to an actual seasoned academic, not an author and celebrity activist who was gifted a token teaching role.

  52. Abraham Linkin Park

    Ahhh hahahhahahahahahahahhahaha I bet those who were let go and those who hold accountable are “racist “ so happy to see this nonsense falling apart.