Did you really read those mass emails from President Paxson?


This weekend, the Brown Corporation (which functions as the board of directors for the University) met for one of its tri-annual meetings to discuss policy and the state of Brown, including capital projects, acceptance of gifts, Paxson’s strategic plan, and the decision to divest endowment funds from companies that either use or mine coal.

Brown students are wont to skim these sorts of emails—especially when two lengthy ones enter their inboxes simultaneously. Didn’t catch all the details in President Paxson’s emails? We’re here to break down the news from the Corporation meeting.

Brown will not divest from coal. The issue of divestiture from coal has been promoted by Brown Divest Coal for several semesters and considered by an ad hoc committee of the University’s Corporation, appointed by Paxson, since May. In a separate email to the University community entitled “On the Matter of Divestment from Coal,” Paxson explains that the Corporation made the decision not to divest from coal in its weekend meeting. In this email, Paxson explains that the Corporation approached the topic through “serious, thoughtful and robust discussion” that “covered the full range of perspectives.” Read more about the specific perspectives covered in the email here.

Implementation of components of Paxson’s strategic plan. We’ve written about aspects of Paxson’s Strategic Plan before (in conjunction with UCS). After this weekend’s meeting, several of these aspects will be implemented immediately, including efforts to:

  • Improve financial aid to “recalculate need each year for aided international students.”
  • Support UTRAs and summer internships and UTRAs. The University is working to develop a program through which it will “will commit $500,000 to defray summer earnings expectations for aided students with non-paying or low-paying summer internships or other educationally valuable but poorly compensated summer activities.”
  • Introduce a new sophomore seminar program in fall 2014, which will explore “topics of identity, equity and justice.”

President Paxson explains that there are other components of the plan that “require further study,” including the Provost’s faculty committee that will consider “opportunities for growth in Masters programs.” Paxson describes these efforts as “ambitious and achievable.” Stay tuned in the future for updates about the implementation of these various projects and initiatives.

Gifts. The University received a grand total of $53 million in gifts, each with its own unique designation(s), from self-identified and anonymous donors alike. Gifts ranged from endowments to specific departments/schools/programs—including Modern India Studies, the School of Engineering, and the Watson Institute—to research and the establishment of professorial positions, to undergraduate scholarships for students in need and the renaming of the John Hay Library reading room (currently undergoing renovations) to “The Willis Reading Room.” These are just some of the several gifts the University received and accepted.

What do you think about the news that came out of this October’s Corporation meeting? Let us know in the comments.

Image via


  1. Christina Paxson’s “strategic plan” is neither strategic, nor is it a plan. As the auto industry comes into being, planning to make better buggy whips ignores the key issues.

Leave a Reply