90 FSU professors use in-class lectures to teach 'Black Lives Matter'

Professors at Framingham State University (FSU) have changed their lesson plans this week “to relate to the #BlackLivesMatter movement.”

Assistant professor of sociology, Xavier Guadalupe-Diaz, with the help of three of his colleagues, organized a Black Lives Matter (BLM) teach-in at FSU. While teach-ins are not uncommon at universities, typically these activities are held outside of regular classroom hours allowing students the option to attend. Instead of holding a traditional teach-in, professors decided to replace their normal lectures with BLM-themed discussions since campus activists are already “stretched thin.”

“Students, open to learning and activism, are stretched thin by financial and family burdens. Thus, while #BlackLivesMatter teach-ins outside of traditional classrooms have been occurring at other institutions across the country (Cornell and Missouri to name two), our model was centered within our classrooms, and evolved into a campus-wide re-direction of our courses for a week this semester,” Guadalupe-Diaz wrote in a promo for the teach-in.


Ninety professors agreed to participate in the teach-in and over 140 classes from a variety of disciplines are participating.

“My colleague had a simple idea: why not just ask our fellow faculty if they would adapt their Spring course content to relate to the #BlackLivesMatter movement?” Guadalupe-Diaz said. “Would they be willing to adjust their courses during the same week? We asked…and had 30 classes enrolled after a day of mentioning it to colleagues. And now, for the week of February 22-26, over 88 faculty from 30+ disciplines in 143 classes will explicitly link #BlackLivesMatter to their course content and student communities.”

Students and professors at FSU are advocating for the teach-in on social media.

“Dr. Guadalupe-Diaz holding it down,” one student posted on Twitter with a picture of Guadalupe-Diaz endorsing the movement with a BLM sweater.

“I’m taking one crim, one soc, one psych, and one writing class and they all are participating in #BLMatFSU,” another student tweeted, indicating that professors across all disciplines are participating.

One professor, Dawn Vreven, will “look at research related to implicit bias” in her cognitive psychology course. A biochemistry class will take the week to study the Flint water crisis, and sociology students will be looking at topics “ranging from Black lesbian families and respectability politics, to the case for reparations, and the foundations of mass incarceration.”

Other professors will be looking at topics such as:

Some professors have gone so far as to change their syllabi to include lesson on BLM for the remainder of the semester.

“Many professors report having change more than just this week in their classes,” he said. “Online classes, graduate classes, freshman classes, and senior seminars have all found a way to connect.”

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