Boston University has opened an inquiry into Ibram Kendi’s Center for Antiracist Research following complaints of financial mismanagement and a “dysfunctional” work culture, according to the Boston Globe.
Boston University, which hosts the center, is investigating whether or not it followed funding guidelines and if it treated staff appropriately, according to the Globe. The inquiry is the center’s latest setback, following reports of layoffs and poor research output.
Phillipe Copeland, who worked at the center, said it “was just being mismanaged on a really fundamental level,” while another employee, Saida Gundy, said that she doesn’t “know where the money is,” according to the Globe. An email was sent to Boston University by a staffer in December 2021 alleging a “pattern of amassing grants without any commitment to producing the research obligated,” the Globe reported.
Kendi rose to prominence following the publication of his 2019 book “How To Be An Antiracist,” which argued that one is complicit in what he identifies as racism unless one is actively campaigning against it.
After receiving $43 million in donations from charitable foundations and individuals as of 2021, according to budget records obtained by the Daily Free Press, Boston University’s student newspaper, the Center for Antiracist Research has published almost no original research. The center only helped produce two academic papers during its more than three years of operation.
Massive cash injections have not been enough to keep the center’s workers employed, with roughly 20 staff members having been let go last week via Zoom meeting, according to the Boston Globe. Sources previously believed that between 15 to 20 of the center’s 45 staffers would be laid off, according to Semafor.
Kendi at one point told staff members that the center was financially unsustainable, multiple employees have stated that Kendi is not equipped to lead the center and one employee said that their co-workers were nervous that funders may back out due to the center’s internal problems, reported the Daily Free Press.
Boston University told the Daily Caller News Foundation that the complaints surrounding Kendi’s center “focused on the center’s culture and its grant management practices” and that they had “previously initiated an examination of those grant management practices.” The university decided to expand their “inquiry to include the Center’s management culture” in light of new information.
The university highlighted the value they see in Kendi’s work. “We recognize the importance of Dr. Kendi’s work and the significant impact it has had on antiracist thinking and policy,” the statement reads.
The Center for Antiracist Research did not respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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