UMass Nursing Dean Fired For Saying "Everyone's Life Matters"

UMass Nursing Dean Fired For Saying “Everyone’s Life Matters”

Authored by Jonathan Turley,

We have been discussing the growing fear of professors and students over the loss of free speech on campuses for years, but recently those concerns have been greatly magnified with the investigation or termination of professors for expressing opposing views about police abuse, Black Lives Matter movement or aspects of the protests following the killing of George Floyd. 

There is a sense of a new orthodoxy that does not allow for dissenting voices as campaigns are launched to fire faculty who are denounced as insensitive or even racist for such criticism.  The most recent controversy involves the recently installed University of Massachusetts-Lowell Dean of Nursing Leslie Neal-Boylan. Dr. Neal-Boylan had only been in her position for a few months when she was fired. 

The reason, according to many reports, is that she sent an email on June 2 to the Solomont School of Nursing on the recent anti-racism demonstrations across the country that include the words “everyone’s life matters.”

As a blog dedicated to free speech, it has been difficult to keep up with the rising number of cases of the curtailment of speech or academic freedom on our campuses.  What is equally alarming is the relative silence of most faculty members as individual professors are publicly denounced by their universities, forced into retirement, or outright terminated for expressing dissenting views.  This case however raises an equally serious concern over the loss of due process for academics who find themselves the focus of a campaign for removal — or simply summary dismissal.

Dr. Neal-Boylan was heralded last September as a “visionary leader” by the university in taking over the deanship.  Her writings include strong advocacy for those with disabilities in the nursing field. Those writings show tremendous empathy and concern for inclusivity in the profession.

This controversy began when Dr. Neal-Boylan wrote the email which started with the following words:

“Dear SSON Community,” the email provided to Campus Reform begins.

“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. I despair for our future as a nation if we do not stand up against violence against anyone. BLACK LIVES MATTER, but also, EVERYONE’S LIFE MATTERS. No one should have to live in fear that they will be targeted for how they look or what they believe.”

One can understand that many felt that the statement detracted from the need to focus on the treatment and loss of black lives. However, one can also read these words as a nursing dean expressing opposition to all violence. 

However, the email was immediately denounced in a tweet as “uncalled for” and “upsetting”  by “Haley.”  The university quickly responded to Haley and said

“Haley – Thank you for bringing this to our attention. The university hears you and we believe black lives matter. See the letter the chancellor sent out Monday.” 

The letter isa statement in support of Black Lives Matter.  Soon thereafter the University reportedly fired Dr. Neal-Boylan.

University spokesperson Christine Gillette issued a statement to the site Campus Reform Wednesday that stated 

“The university ended the employment of Dr. Neal-Boylan on June 19 after 10 months in her role as dean of the Solomont School of Nursing. As with all such decisions, it was made in the best interest of the university and its students.”

What is particularly concerning is a June 19 letter referenced on the site that was allegedly written by Neal-Boylan and sent to Provost Julie Nash. The letter states

“It is important to point out that no one ever gave me an opportunity to share my views of how the college and school were interacting nor explain myself regarding the BLM email. My meeting with you, [Dean] Shortie [McKinney], and Lauren Turner was clearly not intended to give me an opportunity to defend my actions. I was condemned without trial.”

The statement from the university does not state what specifically is “in the best interest of the university and its students.”  However, the failure to specifically state the grounds and the process used to reach the decision is alarming.  The University let the public record stand — and the view that Dr. Neal-Boylan was fired for expressing the view that “Black Lives Matter, but also Everyone’s Life Matters.”

What is “in the best interest of the university and its students” should include free speech and due process.  The mere fact that we do not know if Dr. Neal-Boylan was afforded either right is chilling.  If there were other grounds against her, the university should state so.  Instead, the clear message to faculty is that the dean was fired for expressing concerns over the loss of lives across the country in these protests.

I can understand the sensitivity to those who feel that the inclusion of other lives tends to take away the focus on the need for action on the treatment of African-Americans in our society.  However, it is possible that, as a leading health care figure, Dr. Neal-Boylan was speaking out to seek to end all violence in the protection of human life.  Medical and health care professionals tend to oppose all loss of life and violence.  The question is whether an academic should be able to express such a view and, equally importantly, whether there is a process through which a professor can defend herself in explaining the motivation and intended meaning of her words.

The uncertainty over the process used in this case creates an obvious chilling effect for other faculty members. In 30 years of teaching, I have never seen the level of fear among faculty over speaking or writing about current events, particularly if they do not agree with aspects of the protests.  Not only is there a sense of forced silence but universities have been conspicuously silent in the face of the destruction of their own public art and statues. Even New York Times editors can be forced out for simply publishing opposing views.

As we have previously discussed, chilling effects on free speech has long been a focus of the Supreme Court.  Free speech demands bright line rules to flourish. The different treatment afforded faculty creates an obviously chilling effect on free speech.  Avoiding the chilling effect of potential punishment for speech is a core concern running through Supreme Court cases.  For example, in 1964, the Supreme Court struck down the law screening incoming mail. A unanimous court, Justice William Douglas rejected the law as “a limitation on the unfettered exercise of the addressee’s First Amendment rights.” It noted that such review “is almost certain to have a deterrent effect” on the free speech rights of Americans, particularly for “those who have sensitive positions:”

Obviously, many of these school are private institutions but freedom of speech and academic freedom have long been the touchstones of the academy. What concerned me most was that I could not find a university statement on a matter that resulted in the canning of one of its deans — just an ominous note that the page of Dr. Neal-Boylan can no longer be found.

via zerohedge


  1. So typical of the EGG HEADS that run our universities!! They need to be exposed for the frauds that they .are . They are brain washers and are the antithesis of what they profess to achieve.
    enlightenment !!

    1. You are so right! The leftists have completely taken over our education system and brainwashed our youth. Thus we have the blm and antifa’s and their following of today. Our country is slowly being demolished from within, just as predicted years ago. And we can thank the democrats for this!!

    2. Proof you are totally correct; “An upsetting statement made by the Dean of Nursing at UMass Lowell, including the statement ‘all lives matter’ was uncalled for and shows the narrow-minded people in lead positions.” Note specifically the erroneous expression “narrow-minded” that contradicts the inclusive expression “all lives matter”‘ used by the Dean of Nursing.

      All humans’ lives matter.
      Blacks and Whites are human.
      Ergo, all Blacks’ and all Whites’ lives matter. No?

      1. If all lives matter is not acceptable then the Leader of UMass needs to tell us which lives he thinks don’t matter

  2. TCH As Americans it’s tine to march on the Capital not against our president but to tell congress enough of their anarchism against American exp those of Christian Faith and morals. You set the date I will go with you Praise GOD!!!

  3. BLACK LIVES MATTER is a racist organization, because by saying BLACK LIVES MATTER NO ONE ELSE LIVES MATTER. Firing this DEAN IS THE UTMOST HUMILIATION OF FREEDOM OF SPEECH. Everyone has FREEDOM OF SPEECH EXCEPT THIS UNIVERITY. I certainly hope that this DEAN sue’s their BIASED ASSES OFF. ALL LIVES DO MATTER and by saying that, I am expessing my FREEDOM OF SPEECH, WHICH THIS DEAN DID NOT GET. There are more WHITE PEOPLE KILLED BY POLICE THAN BLACK’S, yet it is only the BLACK VOICES THAT ARE HEARD, OVER A DEATH OF A BLACK. I believe that the police officer and the officers with him, should have been arrested for murder. This was an UNCALLED FOR MURDER. Yet, even after the police officer’s were fired and than arrested, people are still protesting and than are RIOTING AND ASKING FOR DEFUNDING OF THE POLICE DEPARTMENT. DOES ANYONE OF THESE PEOPLE KNOW WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF THERE ARE NO POLICE TO PROTECT US? Think about it. Back in the “OLD WEST”, GANGS RULED. They had shoot outs in the streets and EVERYONE WORE A GUN. People are going to get SHOT, JUST BECAUSE SOMEONE LOOKED AT THEM CROSSEYED. WELCOME TO THE “OLD WEST”, WHERE NONE OF YOUR FREEDOMS EXIST.

    1. This country has gone to shit it’s all ok blm but no one else’s lives matter go fuck off with all this bullshit

    2. BLM is a terrorist, communist group to make money for a few. The real problem is it’s a CULTURE problem

  4. So, let me get this straight. Asian people’s lives don’t matter, Native American lives don’t matter, white lives don’t matter…only black people matter. Ummmm Only stupid people would believe that nonsense!

  5. I tell you – they would have to drug me into a coma to get me to into Massachusetts. Has the water in that state been tested for lead content? I have been told by New Yorkers for years that there are many lead pipes along the water supply there. I guess like – by ALL Democrat standards – it’s ok for them – just not everyone else. Flint another Democrat controlled city with water problems – that really may explain a lot.

  6. Larry I can not agree with you more strongly, this is a movement of the globalist and elites using the black people to take them over. If they do not wake up are country is DONE. OR THE CONSERVATIVES WILL HAVE TAKE ARE COUNTRY BACK BY FORCE…Or as they say by ANY means necessary.
    Stay sharp. and lock and load…. always.

  7. A very violation of our constitution and the bill of rights. Freedom of speech what has happened???? I hope the university is hit with a lawsuit that is so large that they’ll have to close their doors. We do not need a lot of these type of educational facilities that do not up hold and teach our constitution ..

    1. If they university has to close because the Dean wins a HUGE sum of money I’ll be throwing confetti when the last door is locked!

      BLM is a racist, terrorist organization founded on a lie that needs to be designated as a terrorist group and arrested for their crimes against the country.

      Who are the racists?

  8. You want to march on the capital? Silly. That day has already been designated. Nov 3 (I think) 2020. When you vote, vote to remove the bad guys. There are a lot of them on both sides.

  9. Penn State researchers findings on the skin-whitening gene show that skin color accounts for a minuscule biological difference between humans and all people are roughly 99.5% genetically identical.
    “The newly found mutation involves a change of just one letter of DNA code out of the 3.1 billion letters in the human genome which is the complete instructions for making a human being,” the Post reports.
    The problem is the satanic evil Waring of their hearts to destroy everything the resembles God, Godliness and what is good. Tell me when you find one of them being a practicing Biblical believer.

  10. Just because some egghead says something or someone is racist does not make it so. It amounts to nothing more than a slur. I have a few names myself for these slur slingers.

    Our first amendment guarantees the right to say our minds; express our thoughts vocally. Those that fired her should be brought up on charges and punished for violating our First Amendment. They need to be punished!!!!!!!!!!

  11. So, no lives matter but black lives, isn’t that the pinnacle of racism ? This woman was fired for telling the TRUTH, all lives do matter in GODS world ! Good luck in court, you are GUILTY .

  12. She should contact a good lawyer to see if she can’t sue the pants off of this idiotic campus and the dean. I agree that the liberals have been downgrading and brainwashing our students for the past 50 years to finally get to this point in time. They are prepping for a battle.

  13. SICKENING!! U Mass needs to be SUED about this, and this woman is reinstated. She said nothing but GOOD and SENSIBLE things. The typical panderting, liberal, delusional, over-the-top low-IQ morons making this decision should be FIRED for incompetency, and BIAS behavior!!

  14. I grew up in the south in the 60’s and I can remember the civil rights bunch used to drop off bus loads of black men who waited outside of football games. They would wait to catch young high school age white boys by themselves and beat them up. In school they would sucker punch white boys. They hate for the sake of hating. I was told by black guys that didn’t even know me I was a racist. That was almost 60 years ago. I don’t believe the black community will ever be satisfied. Even if you gave in to every insane demand they won’t be happy. This is the same mentality that prevails in the middle east. They kill and hate because it’s in their DNA. Read Genesis 9:19-29. The curse of Ham.

  15. This is why we have an enormous number of morons in the young today. They are not educated, they are indoctrinated to the leftist view, and have no idea about real life. They are told what to think, and cannot think for themselves. Stupidity is running rampant in our society today. The far left should be run out of the country.

    1. All children should not be allowed on Social Media until they Graduate. Too much BS and the kids believe everything posted is gospel

  16. I believe it was Churchill who said “appeasers are the ones who feed the the crocodile hoping it will eat them last”!

  17. Haley, you cry baby. All lives matters all races has every chance in this country to be what they want to be and pursue it. Well I guess what your saying is your life don’t matter so why don’t your pack your FNing bags and get out of our country. Walk the streets at night and see where that gets you plz I’m begging you to do this hopefully you’ll meet up with a hood rat etc…..

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