Boston University: Compelled Speech Requirements for Theater Faculty

Category: Free Speech, Freedom of Conscience
Schools: Boston University

In 2020, Boston University’s School of Theatre and the university’s Boston Playwrights’ Theatre producing company adopted statements on diversity and anti-racism that included compulsory speech requirements for faculty, and mandated the teaching of certain materials through an “anti-racist lens.” After the Academic Freedom Committee of BU’s Faculty Council raised concerns about the statements, BU’s administration advised that concerned faculty members could seek redress through BU’s grievance procedure. FIRE wrote to BU on October 27, 2021, sharing concerns that the statements violated professors’ academic freedom, and called on the institution to protect the rights of all faculty without forcing individual professors to use the grievance process. BU responded on January 7, 2022, clarifying that no faculty members are institutionally bound by the statements.