US university fires dean over “everyone‘s life matters” statement

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The US University of Massachusetts-Lowell fired Leslie Neal-Boylan, Dean of Nursing, after she expressed concerns about violence against black people. Among other things, she wrote that it is not only that the lives of black citizens that matter, but she added that “everyone’s life matters.”

Leslie Neal-Boylan became the Dean of Nursing at UMass Lowell in September 2019. However, last month, she was abruptly fired because of an email addressed to the nursing school community on June 2. The university called the email offensive and dismissed Neal-Boylan.

“I am writing to express my concern and condemnation of the recent (and past) acts of violence against people of color. Recent events recall a tragic history of racism and bias that continue to thrive in this country,” the email said, with the dean adding that she despairs for the future of the American nation if it does not stand up against violence against anyone.

“BLACK LIVES MATTER, but also, EVERYONE’S LIFE MATTERS,” Neal-Boylan wrote, stressing that no one should be targeted for how they look or what they believe.

However, Neal-Boylan’s email was quickly posted on Twitter by a nursing student who called the dean´s statement upsetting and narrow-minded.

Later, on Twitter, the university thanked the student for bringing attention to the dean´s email and issued an official statement.

“Leslie Neal-Boylan’s employment at UMass Lowell ended on June 19, after she was informed she would no longer serve as dean of the Solomont School of Nursing. She had been in that role for 10 months. Although a tenured full faculty member, she declined to join the nursing faculty. As with all such employment decisions, it was made in the best interests of the university and its students,” said the statement.

The dismissed dean responded to the university´s decision, saying that she was dismissed without being given any chance to comment on the unfortunate misinterpretation of the email.

As Fox News reported, Neal-Boylan said her firing was “attributable to one phrase in my initial email that otherwise was very clearly a message to NOT discriminate against anyone.”

However, Neal-Boylan was not the first person to be suspended for a hint of criticism of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Recently, the same happened to the headmistress of a high school in Vermont, who wrote on Facebook that her not wearing a Black Lives Matter banner everywhere should not mean she is a racist.

Title image: Two young women take part in a Black Lives Matter anti-racism protest rally in Berlin, Germany, Saturday, June 27, 2020. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)

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