AAU sexual assault student survey results released


Last year, under the guidance of the Sexual Assault Task Force (SATF), Brown agreed to participate in a sexual assault student survey organized by the Association of American Universities (AAU). Across the country, 27 Universities participated in this survey. Today, the results of the AAU survey were released.  President Christina Paxson P’19 sent out a campus-wide email this morning to announce the release of both the general and Brown specific survey results. In her email, Paxson writes that these results will be used to assess the current climate of sexual assault at Brown and create data-driven initiatives that seek to make Brown a “safe and inclusive campus.”

The survey’s results show high rates of assault among survey participants. The survey found that 25% of Brown undergraduate women and 6.8% of undergraduate men who participated in the survey experienced “either unwanted sexual touching or attempted or completed penetration due to physical force or incapacitation.” Among senior participants, these numbers jump to 33% of Brown women and 8% of Brown men.

In Paxson’s email, she notes that rates of sexual assault reported by those who identify as TGQN (trans, genderqueer, questioning, or nonconforming) “were similar to those for undergraduate women.”

Perhaps most noteworthy is that 60.5% of students who had reported sexual assault by force on their survey, did not approach the University about the incident. Further, “an estimated 70.5% of those who did not report they had been victimized thought the incident was not serious enough to report, and 47.9% thought that a report would not be taken seriously.”

Paxson’s email mentions two opportunities to continue these important discussions:

  • This Wednesday, September 23rd, UCS will be holding an Open Forum on Title IX at Brown from  7 p.m. to 8 p.m. in Metcalf Auditorium.
  • The survey results will be presented at the next Brown University Community Council (BUCC) meeting on Tuesday, September 29, from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. in the Kasper Multipurpose Room in Faunce.

Paxson closes her email by encouraging all students to be actively aware of the high prevalence of sexual assault on our campus and to be committed to “cultivat[ing] a culture at Brown in which sexual assault, harassment, domestic violence and stalking are not tolerated.”

Image via.

Screen Shot 2015-04-23 at 9.51.33 PM

A recap of the State of Brown address

Last night, the third annual State of Brown address was co-hosted by UCS and President Christina Paxson, P’19. The event began with UCS President Maahika Srinivasan ’15 delivering a summary of projects undertaken by UCS this year. Paxson followed with a speech on her own major concerns for the university, noting that she could not give “a comprehensive list of everything that happened this year — it’s a lot, you know that — and the issues we’ve been dealing with aren’t just at Brown, they’re everywhere.” Much of the Q&A section of the event focused on the topics that have been of great concern to the student body and administration this year, including mental health resources, changing the university’s sexual assault and harassment policies, and diversity issues. 

What does UCS do?

Srinivasan began by noting that many students might wonder the above from time to time and she appreciated having State of Brown to clarify their role.

A major goal for UCS this year was to increase support for student advocacy, allowing student activists to either voice concerns to the administration through UCS or push for conversations where they could express themselves directly. To this end, they worked with the Student Labor Alliance regarding the protests for rights of university mailroom workers earlier this year, and they worked with students from the Imagine Rape 0 protests on communicating with the administration.

This year UCS has launched several important online initiatives; wtf*brown (beloved here at Blog) allows students to post and vote on suggestions for the university, and more recently their Textbook Exchange has created an online platform to buy and sell used textbooks, tagged by the class they are for.

UCS has also worked with ResLife to abolish the suite fee for all students; while this year the fee was decreased, they hope to see it gone in the coming years.

The future of Brown academics

President Paxson noted that State of Brown allowed her to answer the question “Where is Brown going?” for the student body, half of which had not matriculated when her Strategic Plan was released two years ago. To that end, she started with a briefing on some of the points of progress on said plan. Her desire is to move Brown’s open curriculum into the 21st century, using technology to embrace the unique cross-departmental education initiatives that Brown offers. An Engaged Scholars Program piloted this year in which students to engage with five departments, and integrate off-campus work into their education. Paxson also expressed desire to “blast away” large lecture classes, envisioning a Brown which uses technology to ensure that the university only offers small, intimate courses.

Diversity in Brown faculty

Paxson stated that the lack of diversity in our faculty posed a major problem for the university. Currently, only about 8.5% of Brown faculty is of unrepresented minorities, which Paxson acknowledged “just doesn’t reflect our student population.” Paxson stated she wanted to double this number in the next ten years; although 16% still sounds low, “it’s going to take a lot of work to do it.” The university has also started a diversity post-doc program, and will be making an effort to focus more on doctoral education in the next few years.

Continue Reading

Paxson’s latest email gives insight on GHB case


In her most recent “Letter to the Brown Community,” President Christina Paxson reflected on the three-pronged student conduct issue that has dominated campus this semester: the case involving the fraternity Phi Kappa Psi, the individual student charged with use of the date rape drug GHB, and the sexual assault charge, all of which occurred on one night last fall.

Paxson detailed some of the difficulties facing the University and particularly cited her frustration in keeping confidentiality when there is so much misinformation circulating in the media. Apparently, the administration is unable to set the record straight while maintaining mandatory privacy measures for the parties involves.

In a marked change in tone, President Paxson fired back at those who suggested that corporation money played a role in the GHB case:

“Recent suggestions of a ‘thumb on the scale’ of justice because one student, whose name has been circulated on campus although not in the press, is the son of a trustee are completely false. There is no evidence whatsoever that anyone improperly influenced the investigation or adjudication process. I would not allow that to occur. The members of Brown’s governing body are aware of this and know that it would not be tolerated. Our administrators also understand it, and firewalls are in place to protect the integrity of the system.”

President Paxson went on to say that the University is making the necessary changes for the drug testing in these instances to be more reliable in the future. Brown will also continue to work towards fair processes, and a safer campus. The Sexual Assault Task Force is still hard at work, and students should expect a survey sometime after spring break on “campus climate and their experiences with sexual assault, harassment, and gender-based violence.” In addition, Brown will soon have a “new Title IX program officer [that] will oversee sexual assault cases as well as enhanced training and education programs for students, faculty, and staff, with the primary goal of preventing sexual assault.”

The email ends with an assurance that the administration is dedicated to this cause:

“We clearly have work to do and it will take a great deal of caring, wisdom, and willingness to get it right. I ask for your support in doing so.”

Image via.

Not quite viral: President Paxson’s online office hours

Screen Shot 2015-02-27 at 4.12.09 PM
Yesterday, The Brown Undergraduate Council of Students set up their own version of a Reddit-style AMA for President Christina Paxson. From 2:30-3:30pm they opened up a comment thread on their Facebook page and invited students to ask the president questions which she could respond to in real time.

There were 33 questions asked. Here are some things we learned:

Classes of ’16 and ’17 will not see a renovated Ratty.

Screen Shot 2015-02-27 at 4.14.11 PMStill, the new Ratty may not feel all that new.

Screen Shot 2015-02-27 at 4.15.53 PM

Paxson will go anywhere with Margeurite.

Screen Shot 2015-02-27 at 4.19.44 PM

Continue Reading

(BlogDH) Orientation2013

BlogDH(Panel) Explains Orientation

Ah, orientation—that week before your freshman year when you can attend an array events all built around the copious opportunities to awkwardly introduce yourself to hundreds of people and hope a few become your best friends. But those events are not all created equal. Here’s BlogDH’s preview of the Orientation calendar’s greatest hits.

Paxson’s Welcome
It might feel like you’ve already been welcomed by the entire Brown community, but the official welcome from President Christina Paxson is a must. The class of 2018 is only the second one to be treated to the Pax’s wisdom, so consider yourselves Paxsoneers. Get to the Main Green early to save seats in the shade for yourself, your parents, and maybe even your first-day-friends if you’re feeling the welcoming spirit. Cheers of “Pax on Pax on Pax!” are encouraged as the Prez steps up to the podium. Try to contain the excitement of being surrounded by your 1500 classmates for the first time and actually listen to the president’s words. Having just completed her own “freshman” year, she’s sure to give some valuable frosh advice. After the speech, don’t miss out on a photo-op behind the podium on the Faunce steps: it makes for a great (if slightly pretentious) first Brown mupload.
–Kate Storey-Fisher Continue Reading


Did you really read the Ray Kelly Committee summary?

This afternoon, President Paxson sent out a brief email with a long attachment that detailed the findings of the committee created in November to examine the protest and eventual cancellation of the Ray Kelly lecture last October. The committee, formally known as the “Committee on the Events of October 29, 2013,” is led by B. Anthony Bogues, professor of Africana Studies, and consists of five faculty members, two undergraduates, and one graduate student.

Paxson had two primary goals for the committee: first, to investigate the details of the event and the discussions leading up to it, and second to come “to make recommendations that will establish Brown as a leader in supporting an inclusive environment for members of our community while upholding our deep commitment to the free exchange of ideas.” Again, today’s attachment is only the report of the committee’s findings after gathering materials relating to the event, talking to event organizers, students in attendance, administrators, and activists (the completion of goal number one).

We at Blog understand if you had a tl;dr reaction to the attachment and are hoping to provide you with a roundup of what you may have missed: Continue Reading