Why we call this weekend “Fall Weekend”


On April 7, 2009, Brown’s faculty voted to rename the annual holiday on the second Monday in October “Fall Weekend.” The vote was made at one of the faculty’s regular monthly meetings; under the rules of Brown’s governance, all decisions regarding the academic calendar are made by an all-faculty vote. Then-President, Ruth Simmons, and other university administrators were not involved in the decision, while then-chair of the Faculty Executive Committee, James Drier, professor of Philosophy, abstained from the vote.

In their statement released the next day, the Committee noted that, “since fall 2008, faculty, staff and student committees at Brown have discussed proposals to eliminate the formal observance of Columbus Day. Following much discussion, the vote was not unanimous, reflecting the difficulty and complexity of this sensitive and symbolic issue.”

Columbus Day became a federal holiday in 1937 to honor the supposed discoverer of America. His 1492 landing in the Bahamas marked the beginning of European colonization of the Americas, which would result in the death of entire indigenous populations within forty years, due to disease and warfare. Columbus’ history of genocide has in many ways been erased from our societal narrative, marginalizing many communities. Although Brown faced some criticism in the media following the renaming in 2009, many schools and even cities have made similar decisions.

While the faculty ultimately made the decision to rename the holiday, the movement and strong desires that propelled that decision came from within the student body. “A small group of students who wanted the University to stop recognizing Columbus Day” worked on a project not unlike the sort we see on campus today; recognizing that there was a problem with a celebration named after Columbus, they engaged in months of dialogue with university administrators and faculty.

Although the students initially asked that Brown instead give off another Monday of the month, it was decided that Fall Weekend would coincide with the national holiday to better accommodate the faculty and staff with children in local schools. The Herald poll from the time indicated that “the majority of Brown students disapproved of continuing to call the holiday Columbus Day.”

This brief history lesson hopes to provide information on how we as a university and community came to refer to next weekend as “Fall Weekend.” For many, it may be a surprise how recent a change that was, or the work that past students and some current faculty put into making it happen. On Monday, there will be a demonstration on the Main Green hosted by the Native Americans at Brown with the goal of having the holiday renamed “Indigenous Peoples Day.” BlogDailyHerald will be providing coverage of the protest next week.

While everyone on campus may not support the desires of some students on campus to rename Fall Weekend, we as publication think the topic deserves due coverage. The BlogDailyHerald of Wesleyan, Wesleying, published a post earlier this year called “Responsibility and Inclusion in the Argus and on Wesleying.” The article, which is definitely worth a read, makes the point that campus publications have a responsibility to the students they attempt to represent and report to. “Publications are not mere platforms for discussion, they are institutions that make choices.”

BlogDailyHerald is, of course, not immune to making mistakes in neglecting topics that are relevant to underrepresented communities on campus, and in publishing content that does not properly represent the entire student body whom we hope to serve. As a campus life publication, we need to work hard to make sure we are providing content that speaks to all areas of campus life. We want to acknowledge our commitment to this responsibility.

BlogDailyHerald Presents: Storytime With Uncle Teddy, Episode 3: “You Can Lead a Cow to U. Hall…”

Brunonians were def more rowdy back in the day.

Enjoy the third installment of Storytime With Uncle Teddy, an oral history of Brown provided by Theodore F. Low ’49.

See the first and second episodes here.

16mm footage courtesy of Uncle Teddy.

BlogDailyHerald Presents: the Storytime With Uncle Teddy premiere

Brown has been here for a really long time. And so has Great Uncle Teddy.

Join BlogDH and Theodore F. Low, known to us as Uncle Teddy—a Providence native, Moses Brown graduate, and member of the Brown University class of 1949—as we embark on a new storytelling series. Uncle Teddy’s oral histories recollect his time at Brown as a child, student, and parent over the last 87 years.

In the first episode, Uncle Teddy tells us about his background:

In episode two, Uncle Teddy tells a story about a WBRU romance:

16mm footage courtesy of Uncle Teddy. 


Ra Ra Brunonia Throwback: That time Hunter S. Thompson got plastered in Sayles


On November 21st, 1987, Hunter S. Thompson, the journalist and famed author of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, The Rum Diaries, and many more, came to Brown to participate in an academic debate with G. Gordon Liddy, moderated by none other than the legendary Dean Barrett Hazeltine. Liddy, a lawyer who, among other things, directed and organized the burglary of the Democratic National Committee in 1972—a scandal that would infamously come to be known simply as “Watergate”—stood in stark contrast to the staunch liberal and psychedelically inspired writer.

The event was made possible, in part, by a student named Dan McCormack ’90, who met Thompson in his Colorado home that summer and suggested the idea. After some consideration and administrative scheduling, dates and times were set, flights were booked, and tickets were sold all leading up to a highly anticipated campus event. However, on the day of, those times were pushed back, the flights were missed and not tickets, but rather drugs—lots of drugs—were sold to and consequently consumed by the esteemed author. The Brown Daily Herald reported on the event in all of its glory, and to its credit, documented everything it could have possibly known. Looking back some 28 years later, details of the Thompson-Liddy debate were overlooked, missed and risk being forever forgotten and unheard. Thanks to an unnamed source—call him our “Deep Throat“—the full story can now be unveiled.

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Imagine 250+: Ra Ra Brunonia: Brown Stadium


Today, students and alumni alike will make the seemingly transcontinental trek up Elmgrove Avenue — clearly a made up place — to watch our beloved Brown Bears take on the Harvard Winklevi in a rousing match of hand-egg (see below and take note).

At the tailgates, middle-aged men (and women! and phes!), sipping on their b-o-u-r-b-o-n, will be far drunker than is socially acceptable, and undergrads will leave behind an aluminum mess to rival that of the People’s Climate March. At game time, however, they will all pile into what is probably only the second biggest pure concrete structure on campus to watch some good ole’ fashioned American Football.


But what about that large-ish — seriously, the Scili puts everything in perspective — concrete structure we’re standing in during our beat-down of the Excellent Sheep from Cambridge? Brown Stadium, which no alum has paid to name after him/herself (yet), has an impressive history to it.

According to Encyclopedia Brunoniana, the stadium opened in its current location in 1925 and can actually fit up to 27,646 people. We were so excited about our new digs that in the stadium’s opening year, we decided everyone would have to come to us to play. We’re not lazy; we promise!

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Imagine 250+: Ra Ra Brunonia: Brown-Harvard Football Game


Go to the football game this weekend: a simple, yet surprisingly complex demand within the context of Brunonia. Though the air is becoming a bit more crisp and the work is beginning to pick up, we need to carry on the tradition of old and support the worthy purveyors of our athletic program (yes, we have one). The upcoming Fall Celebration for the University’s 250th Anniversary provides the perfect opportunity to make the “arduous” trek up to Brown Stadium to watch your Bears compete against the most feared hue in all the land: The Crimson. Though we understand that you may not know the rules of the game or even question why that yellow line from the TV isn’t on the field, attending the game is above all a way of channeling that often diffuse sense of school spirit. Instead of providing a general reason why you should go, it seems more appropriate to issue this “call to action” on a class-by-class basis:


It’s your first year on campus. There is absolutely no excuse for not attending this game–as long as you aren’t expecting a tailgate reminiscent of a Big Ten school or the pomp and circumstance of the University of Alabama (Roll Tide). The Brown-Harvard game is a wonderful way to build relationships with your peers, make a few memories, and if you are lucky, make it into that one Brown Athletics body-paint pic from the night (you know the one). Also, the game serves as a wonderful opportunity to show your friends that you, too, are having a great time in college (5-10 Facebook tags guaranteed).

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