Saida Grundy: A Rumpus Roundup


Dr. Saida Grundy, a recently hired Assistant Professor of Sociology and African-American Studies at Boston University, turned to Twitter to gripe about white privilege, writing, “White masculinity isn’t a problem for America’s colleges, white masculinity is THE problem for America’s colleges,” among other things.

A college student at the University of Massachusetts Amherst saw the tweets and posted them to his blog, SoCawlege. From there, conservative pundits at Fox News, looking to incite controversy, declared the comments racist.

Boston University at first explained that Grundy’s Twitter account was a matter of free speech—that vaunted concept once deemed essential for academics and the pretext for tenure protections—and (rightly) defended Grundy’s right to her opinions.

But then alumni, agitated by the punditry, started threatening to withhold donations.

Boston University’s President issued a statement reiterating a commitment to faculty free speech rights—while also chastising Grundy for exercising hers.

Grundy, too, has issued a statement of regret, calling her tweets a product of “personal passion.”

Boston University earns a diversity ranking of .54 from US News, which places the college almost perfectly in the middle between the most diverse college campus (Rutgers Newark, at .76) and least (Yeshiva University, at .02). Nevertheless, critics agree the university has a race problem; they just don’t necessarily agree whether the problem is anti-black or anti-white.

Really, though, it seems pretty clear the race problem is anti-black, with administrators like Jean Morrison, a Boston University Provost, explaining that the real challenge is in the slim pool of academically qualified black students. The student body is currently 5.3% black.

Ian MacAllen is the author of Red Sauce: How Italian Food Became American (Rowman & Littlefield, April 2022). His writing has appeared in Chicago Review of Books, Southern Review of Books, The Offing, 45th Parallel Magazine, Little Fiction, Vol 1. Brooklyn, and elsewhere. He tweets @IanMacAllen and is online at More from this author →