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Jackson Weighs In on the BU Center for Antiracist Research, Funding in Associated Press Article

November 26, 2023

The Associated Press

Jenn M. Jackson

Jenn M. Jackson

In September, Boston University announced layoffs at its Center for Antiracist Research, along with a change to its operating model. 

The news prompted former colleagues and current collaborators to publicly question the BU Center for Antiracist Research’s ability to deliver on the promises it had made to funders. 

Acknowledging the layoffs, the university and the center's director, Ibrahim X. Kendi, said it was not financially sustainable to conduct research and develop programs with its own employees, despite having raised more than $50 million for the center since its founding in 2020.

Observers, like Jenn M. Jackson, assistant professor of political science, say that this episode reveals a mismatch between what funders in 2020 said they wanted to do, which was to end racist policies in the U.S., and the way they went about it, which was to give millions to a new research center at a university.

“There’s still no engagement with decolonization, with actually thinking about what would it mean if these funders started funding radical organizations who wanted to actually think about what it means to be free,” Jackson says , speaking in general about philanthropic donations.

Read more in the Associated Press article, “Growing pains at Ibram X. Kendi’s antiracist center don’t signal a larger trend, experts say.”

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