Students organize Blackout at Brown and teach-in in solidarity with Mizzou

A few hundred students, dressed mostly in black, stood by the Van Wickle Gates at noon today to take a photo to show solidarity and support for Black students at the University of Missouri. Attendees remained huddled, some under umbrellas, to listen as several Black students, one by one, took to a megaphone to share their stories. They spoke about the institutional racism they had personally experienced, about the University’s refusal to value their existence and acknowledge their identities, and called for institutional changes to prevent future traumas and actualize equality on campus.

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Many students spoke about their own experiences with racism in the classroom. A first-year spoke about being in an MCM class in which the professor, after quoting a text, repeatedly used the n-word to refer to Black bodies. “It happened five times before I had to walk out,” he said. After tweeting about the incident, the student has met several times with school administrators, and said his professor sent out an email acknowledging her use of language. “But it wasn’t an apology. It was an excuse.”

Another student expressed frustration with having to continually meet with administrators about the perpetuation of institutional racism by faculty members. “I’m here because I’m tired,” they said. “I haven’t done schoolwork in months, but I’m meeting with administrators.” Others elaborated on the discomfort that many Black students feel in classrooms with professors that have made racially charged comments or have criticized the work of activists on campus. “Ken Miller, David Josephson, Ariella Azoulay, Glenn Loury — these people aren’t being punished, but we are.”

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In reference to the email sent by President Christina Paxson P’19 and Richard Locke, one student asked, “Why did they all of the sudden send out that e-mail after Mizzou and Yale?” The letter, titled “Promoting a Diverse, Inclusive Academic Community,” was sent this Tuesday to the community. “Are they scared [of losing their jobs]?” the student continued. “They should be. I’m very tired of institutional racism. If it doesn’t stop, if free speech isn’t removed from this discussion, she should be afraid.” Another student added, “I just want to say that our humanity is not up for debate.” One speaker pointed out that it took a year for the University to put a “Do not touch” sign in front of the only slavery memorial on campus, although “white children played on it the day after it was put up.”

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Students call for renaming of Fall Weekend to Indigenous Peoples’ Day

Today at noon, over 200 demonstrators gathered on the Main Green to stand in solidarity with indigenous people and urge the administration to officially change the name of Fall Weekend to recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Native American students, faculty, and community members wore their people’s traditional regalia and others attending in solidarity wore red and black to commemorate the day. 

The event began with members of Native Americans at Brown (NAB) introducing themselves, speaking in their respective indigenous languages and English, and welcoming the protestors. The organizers of the demonstration, Sierra Edd ’18, Kara Roanhorse ’18 and Phoebe Young ’17, spoke about the purpose of the event and of NAB. Young said Native Americans at Brown exists “first and foremost to provide support for Native students on campus.” The demonstration also included calls to sign a petition asking the administration to rename Fall Weekend to “Indigenous Peoples’ Day.”

Over the course of two hours, demonstrators gave speeches celebrating the resistance and resilience of indigenous people in America and discussing their hopes for the future. The leaders of the demonstration performed the Pequot Flag Song and led the crowd in a round dance before marching and chanting through campus to President Christina Paxson P’19’s house.

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While the relevance and significance of this demonstration was felt strongly on campus due to the events of last week, the movement for Indigenous Peoples’ Day is occurring nationwide. Edd stated that Native Americans at Brown have been planning this event long before last week, and that she felt the need for more awareness and support from Brown as early as the first day of school. Their intention is that the university will dedicate space and institutional support to native and indigenous people at Brown. In Floripa Olguin ’16‘s words, this in part means “institutionalized recruitment,” particularly of the Wompanoag and Naragansett tribes, as Brown’s campus itself exists within their tribal lines.

NAB’s hope is that the Brown community can use this demonstration as an opportunity for change and historical accountability. Olguin encourages us, as academics, to take on the “learning that is needed for growth, even if it is very different than folks are used to.”

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Brown students flood New York for People’s Climate March

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Yesterday, hundreds of thousands of people gathered in New York to demand that the United Nations, whose General Assembly is meeting this week, take action to stop climate change. Among the throngs of activists, faith groups, front-line community members, and students was a large crowd of Brown students, myself included. Over 150 students traveled to New York through 350.org’s official buses alone, so it’s likely that the grand total of members of the Brown community who were present is much higher.

Though some traveled to New York on Saturday to attend a very engaging Youth Convergence conference at a Manhattan high school, the main event began Sunday at 10:30 AM, when the Rhode Island contingent, including U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, convened at 71st street and Central Park West. At first, there was very little marching to be done. With over 310,000 400,000 (!!) people clogging up about a mile and a half of a New York City avenue, it took a while for there to be any empty space available for one to move into. The waiting did, however, provide ample time for judging the very creative costumes and signs near us. The clear winner was an older man holding a poster that read, “I couldn’t buy a politician, so I bought this sign.” He got a picture with Senator Whitehouse.

Anything to protest in front of a Trump property.

Anything to protest in front of a Trump property.

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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


NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly to speak on campus today

NYPD Police Commissioner Ray Kelly Speaks To The Media

New York Police Department commissioner Ray Kelly will be delivering the annual Noah Krieger ’93 Memorial Lecture today at 4 p.m. in List 120. The event is sponsored by the Taubman Center for Public Policy.

Kelly’s lecture is entitled “Proactive Policing in America’s Biggest City.” According to the Taubman Center, it will cover policing on 9/11 and the policies he has implemented throughout his 11-year tenure. The Center’s event description states that the NYPD’s strategies under Kelly “have enabled the New York City Police Department to drive crime down by more than 30% since 2001.”

However, Kelly’s invitation to speak at Brown has sparked controversy on campus. A group of students has vocally pushed back against the lecture and the manner in which the Taubman Center framed it. A few days ago, a petition in protest of his appearance began circulating. Its authors’ opinion is that Ray Kelly’s policies, which the Taubman center alluded to positively in their event description, are in fact “harmful and unconstitutional.” The petition demands that the “lecture be cancelled.”

It seems that the lecture will go on as planned today. Last night, protesters held a “Racial Profiling Vigil” on the Faunce steps. This afternoon, they will protest the event itself with a rally outside List Art Center. We’ll be live-tweeting the lecture this afternoon (follow us on Twitter @BlogDailyHerald). This is shaping up to be quite the interesting week…

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Harvard students protest Tyga

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After Harvard’s College Events Board announced that hip-hop artist Tyga, known for his hit single “Rack City,” will perform at Harvard’s 2013 spring concert, Yardfest, students took to the internet to express their opposition. Harvard student Leah Reis-Dennis decided to take action by creating a petition late on Sunday night on Change.org. The petition protests Harvard’s decision to invite a headliner whose music “promotes sexism and rape culture.”

According to The Harvard Crimson, within an hour, the petition garnered 400 signatures and continues to attract signatures from students and alumni. The petition currently has over 1,000 signatures. The petition states that “Yardfest without a headliner would be better than a Yardest that amplifies misogyny and violence.”

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