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.”