• Doug Most

    Associate Vice President, Executive Editor, Editorial Department Twitter Profile

    Doug Most is a lifelong journalist and author whose career has spanned newspapers and magazines up and down the East Coast, with stops in Washington, D.C., South Carolina, New Jersey, and Boston. He was named Journalist of the Year while at The Record in Bergen County, N.J., for his coverage of a tragic story about two teens charged with killing their newborn. After a stint at Boston Magazine, he worked for more than a decade at the Boston Globe in various roles, including magazine editor and deputy managing editor/special projects. His 2014 nonfiction book, The Race Underground, tells the story of the birth of subways in America and was made into a PBS/American Experience documentary. He has a BA in political communication from George Washington University. Profile

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There are 5 comments on BU’s New Trustee Committee Accelerates Work to Eliminate Systemic Racism

  1. I appreciate BU’s effort in this area, and would like to share my personal experience, which may be instructive. For those who are members of underrepresented groups, the higher you rise and the harder your work, the more challenges you will encounter.

    At one point, a rule was created to discourage me from applying for promotion, even though my tangible records of excellence in research, teaching, and service met the requirements for promotion as described in the Faculty Handbook. (These were reflected through the usual marks of academic excellence such as a Guggenheim fellowship, national and international grants and reputation, refereed articles in top journals in my area, book chapters, a book with Oxford University Press in press, etc., and excellence in teaching and service both at BU and outside.) Ultimately, I was promoted to the rank I deserved the following year, but only after being told that my work was not good enough and that I should wait until the reviews of my OUP book were available (which obviously would take years and was not in the Faculty Handbook criteria for promotion).

    I suspect that I am not alone in having had this kind of experience at BU. There is a real need to implement policies and practices to insure that others do not have to deal with being scrutinized more than their white colleagues and having their record of excellence (no matter how stellar they may be) implicitly or explicitly questioned and degraded due to racial bias. Many of us ask for nothing more than to be treated with respect and fairly. I survived because I am stubborn and have a thick skin. Why should these qualities be prerequisites for members of underrepresented groups to survive in academia, when they are doing their job well by all tangible measures?

    I hope the committee will consider providing more training to department chairs and program directors in issues of equity, fairness, and racial bias. I appreciate BU’s efforts to attract more diverse people. But I think that it is equally important to examine what happens to those people once they join the BU community.

  2. So…BU—the school that my son attends and hopes to hold a degree from, the school from which MLK Jr. is an alumnus—is telling us that they’re systemically racist?! That they’ve been marginalizing and victimizing certain students and denying them opportunity based on their genetics or sexual orientation?! Is that what “this problem” is that needs to be addressed and resolved of which Godfrey speaks?? If so, then may I suggest that BU needs more than just a committee to address this admitted behavior?

    My son and his seven suite-mates are of various different racial backgrounds, and even from different countries, yet they found each other at BU and came together as supportive friends based on their common interests. They were all admitted to BU, are all doing well academically, and none were denied housing. From my, admittedly, limited vantage point I didn’t see any racism in action.

    But now, on top of telling me that BU is systemically racist, you’re openly questioning whether two “white men” could possibly lead this new committee. How offensive and disturbing. Would you question, for example, whether two “black women” could lead a committee? Would that be appropriate? Yes, I’m beginning to see that maybe BU does have a racism problem—at least the racism problem they’re creating by looking at everything through the lens of one’s skin color.

    BU seems to be heading down the rabbit hole, further and further away from MLK Jr.’s dream where people “will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” Maybe my son should begin questioning the future value of a very costly BU diploma.

    1. Good comment. I am a BU Dad and I feel the same. Any institution that makes decisions or grants benefits based on skin color is engaging in racism. It doesn’t matter if the goals are worthy (i.e., achieving “equity”) or sinister (i.e., marginalizing “POC’s”). I’m certain MLK, Jr. would oppose this new fad of dividing us by race in the interest of doing social good.

    2. You speak with such confidence but have no idea what you are talking about, as you admit. Do you know what percentage of faculty are people of color? I imagine not since that would be an example of examining racial disparities which, according to you, is racist? This is sloppy thinking and ignorant as is your anecdotal evidence of BU diversity when Black students at BU are organizing to improve a university they often find problematic if not racist. But I know you don’t see color so it can’t be a problem for actual POC.

  3. As tuition payors, its easy to feel slighted when things get too black and white (pardon the pun). As a minority tuition paying student it is easy to see the “racism” not in terms of the staff or students, but in terms of the curriculum – how would you like to be told in a Certified Financial Planner program, direct quote “Those more likely to default on student loans include minorities…” It gives no weight to factors such as employment or living status, just that if you are a minority you are more likely to default. I never knew that you can make a judgment about someone based on how they look…. (I guess that’s what the above comments are seeking to address).

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