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Ibram X. Kendi's antiracism center saw poor financial, admin decisions, former staffers say: report

The Center for Antiracist Research at Boston University is in the midst of hardship, former staffers told the New York Times.

The Center for Antiracist Research at Boston University, founded by Ibram X. Kendi, the academic known for his hardline left-wing racial views, has been in the midst of financial and administrative disarray since its inception, according to media reports. 

Former staffers at the center had become frustrated with being required to take on jobs they were neither hired to do nor qualified to complete, Yanique Redwood, the center's former executive director, told the New York Times. 

"Everyone was overwhelmed," Redwood told the NYT. "There were too many promises being made to funders. Products were being promised that could never be delivered."

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"Nothing was in place," she said. "It was unbelievable that an institution like that, with so much spotlight on it, just did not have systems. I understood why I was being brought in."

Staffers also told Redwood they were unsure of the center's mission. The center was founded by Kendi in 2020 following the death of George Floyd, which ushered in a wave of racial and social justice protests and calls for racial equity. 

Liberal philanthropists donated tens of millions of dollars. Prominent donors included George Soros’ Foundation to Promote Open Society, Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, the Ford Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation.

Kendi is one of the leading figures pushing for the inclusion of critical race theory in schools. The author has stated that he is a believer in systemic racism and the only possible way to dismantle it is for America to "identify and describe it" first. 

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He rose to prominence for his defense of critical race theory as well as teaching racial concepts to children. He has published several books on the subject of racism including "How to Be an Anti-Racist" and the children’s book "Antiracist Baby."

In an attempt to address the confusion and frustration at center, Redwood advised Kendi to hold a retreat so employees could air their grievances, the NYT story said. 

During the gathering, Saida Grundy, a sociologist, accused Kendi’s vision of social change of being "a mile wide and an inch deep" and argued that the center needed a more specific goal than just "fighting racism." Research emerging from the center was relatively low, producing only two pieces of original academic research through November 2023.

In addition, Kendi allegedly withheld information about the center's finances for six months, according to the report. He also caused a stir when he agreed for the center to partner with the diversity, equity and inclusion arms of the consulting firm Deloitte, according to the Times. Staffers were upset over not being consulted and because Deloitte contracts for police departments and prisons.

In September 2023, Grundy told the Boston Globe that "it became very clear after I started that this was exploitative and other faculty experienced the same and worse."

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The center was investigated by Boston University for mismanagement but it found no evidence of financial misconduct. Fox News Digital has reached out to the university. 

The center has since fired 19 of its 36 staffers in September 2023, the Times reported..

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