Dr. Leslie Neal-Boylan, the Lowell Dean of Nursing at the University of Massachusetts, has been fired for apparently typing the words “everyone’s life matters.” Neal-Boylan used the words in an email in which she was apparently expressing compassion for the Black Lives Matter movement and what is represents.
Neal-Boylan was writing to the Solomont School of Nursing community on June 2 to express thoughts on the protests that are sweeping the nation.
“Dear SSON Community,” the email began.
“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.”
It’s unclear how the email was interpreted as Neal-Boylan expressing anything other than sympathy and solidarity with victims of racial injustice.
The controversy apparently began when someone named “Haley,” apparently a Solomont student took exception to the email in a tweet.
An upsetting statement made by the Dean of Nusing at UMass Lowell, including the statement ‘all lives matter’ was uncalled for and shows the narrow minded people in lead positions. A sad day to be a nursing student at UML. Dean Leslie Neal-Boylan your words will not be forgotten. pic.twitter.com/a9rTd4NGVP
— haley #BLACKLIVESMATTER (@psychohighrep) June 4, 2020
“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 University then responded. Soon after Neal-Boylan was reportedly fired.
“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,” a statement issued by the University read.
What is most striking is that apparently Neal-Boylan was not neither asked, nor given an opportunity, to explain herself.
“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,” a letter written by Neal-Boylan to an administration official reads.
“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.”