Boston University announces probe into woke author Ibram X. Kendi’s Antiracism Center over claims he was a bad boss
- Inquiry comes after almost half of the ailing center’s staff were laid off
- The center’s ‘culture’ and ‘grant management practices’ being scrutinized
- Celebrity author Dr Kendi made his name with book ‘How to be an Antiracist’
Boston University has announced an inquiry into Dr Ibram X. Kendi’s Center for Antiracist Research amid claims of ‘exploitative’ working conditions and bad management.
Complaints were received after the celebrity author laid off up to 20 of the organization’s staff of 45 last week.
Kendi – who won awards for his ultra woke bestseller ‘How to be an Antiracist’ – is now under a formal investigation by BU over his research center’s ‘culture’ and ‘grant management practices’.
Rachel Lapal Cavallario, Associate Vice President, said: ‘We received complaints after the Center for Antiracist Research recently laid off a number of employees. Those complaints focused on the center’s culture and its grant management practices.
‘We previously initiated an examination of those grant management practices and that will continue. Based on additional information provided to us, we are expanding our inquiry to include the Center’s management culture and the faculty and staff’s experience with it.
Woke activist Ibram X. Kendi’s Antiracist Research Center at Boston University laid off almost half his staff
Former and current staff alleged that the center had been poorly managed by Kendi
‘We recognize the importance of Dr. Kendi’s work and the significant impact it has had on antiracist thinking and policy.
‘Boston University and Dr. Kendi believe strongly in the Center’s mission, and while he takes strong exception to the allegations made in recent complaints and media reports, we look forward to working with him as we conduct our assessment.’
It comes after former staff at the ailing organization spoke out against ‘exploitative’ working practices.
Former assistant director of narrative at the center, Saida Grundy, told the Boston Globe she was often asked to work unreasonable hours.
She said: ‘It became very clear after I started that this was exploitative and other faculty experienced the same and worse.’
Spencer Piston, faculty lead of the center’s policy office told the publication that problems began ‘very early on’ with Kendi given too much authority.
Phillipe Copeland, a professor in BU’s School of Social Work claimed he found it difficult to schedule meetings with Kendi, while others described ‘paralysis’ due to Kendi’s inability to delegate.
In recent months, Kendi had been on leave from the center, according to BU.
The layoffs were announced last Wednesday as a means for the Center to move towards a fellowship model.
Former assistant director of narrative at the center, Saida Grundy, said the center lacked structure and she was often asked to work long hours
The center opened at BU during the turbulent summer of 2020 when the country was rocked by protests over the police killing of George Floyd
The center was established by Kendi, who made his name with the best-selling How to be an Antiracist in 2019, in the wake of turbulence protests surrounding the police killing of George Floyd.
Kendi’s hiring announcement was followed by an influx of donations to BU to support the center and Kendi’s work, including a $1.5 million, three-year gift from the biotech company Vertex and a $10 million donation from Twitter founder Jack Dorsey.
But many of the Center’s projects have yet to materialize, including Racial Data Tracker which would monitor nationwide racial disparities.
In recent months he had been on leave from BU, according to the Boston Globe, but returned last week to conduct the layoffs.
In addition to his work at the center, Kendi has created an anti-racist graphic novel, podcast and TV show.
His work became a cultural flashpoint within the country after he infamously implied white people should face discrimination if it helps achieve equity for minorities.
Kendi has defended his viewpoint and believes it is important to educate people on anti-racist thinking and the persistence of the horrific prejudice faced by black Americans.
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