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 producing company Boston Playwrights’ Theatre passed statements on diversity and anti-racism that included compulsory speech requirements for faculty, and mandated the teaching of certain materials using an explicitly anti-racist framework. The Academic Freedom Committee of BU’s Faculty Council raised concerns that provisions in the statements violated faculty members’ academic freedom rights. In response, BU’s administration advised that concerned faculty members could seek redress through BU’s grievance procedure. FIRE wrote to BU’s president on October 27, 2021, sharing concerns that the statements violated professors’ academic freedom, and called on the institution to ensure the statements protected the academic freedom rights of all faculty without forcing individual professors to use the grievance process.