Earlier today, President Paxson released an extensive “Response to the Reports On the Events of October 29, 2013” in an email to the entire Brown Community. The response addresses the ongoing investigation of the campus events that surrounded then-New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly’s lecture at Brown. Paxson’s statement follows the tworeports previously made by the investigative committee she charged to examine the lecture and the happenings that ensued last October.
In her email, Paxson reflects on how “this incident sparked often difficult discussions about critically important issues, including freedom of expression and the limits of protest; racism and the mistreatment of communities of color by police; and, ultimately, the kind of community we strive to be—issues with which the committee grappled in its work.”
The response itself is divided into two sections. The first, Freedom of Expression and Protest at Brown, is intended to “reaffirm [the University’s] commitment to freedom of expression, which is essential in fulfilling the University’s mission. The second, Responses to the Committee’s Recommendations,”addresses the committee’s recommendations for Brown to cultivate a diverse and inclusive community while upholding our commitment to the free exchange of ideas.”
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
UPDATE: We’ll be live-blogging tonight’s forum starting at 8:30 p.m. Check back for our coverage of the event.
This afternoon, President Paxson sent out a campus-wide email informing Brown students and staff of a forum, to be held at 8:30 pm tonight in Alumnae Hall, for a discussion of the “exposed divisions in the Brown community.” After a week of multiple issues regarding free speech on campus, the community is invited to have what is hoped to be a uniting and organized dialogue.
This is the second email the University president has sent regarding Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly’s unsuccessful attempt to lecture on campus about New York City’s stop-and-frisk policy.
In case you haven’t seen it yet, here’s the message:
NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly‘s planned visit to Brown had been causing campus uproar for some days now, but the already tense dialogue surrounding Kelly’s controversial stop-and-frisk policy came to a head yesterday at the List Arts Building when protestors booed Kelly offstage. The program was concluded around thirty minutes in—after Vice President for Campus Life Margaret Klawunn and Vice President for Public Affairs Marisa Quinn deemed the heckling too disruptive. Kelly was invited to Brown to deliver the annual Noah Krieger ’93 Memorial Lecture.
Kelly, who has spent 43 years with the NYPD and has held the position of police commissioner twice, once from 1992-4 and from 2002-present, has been lauded for his counterterrorist work in a post-9/11 New York City as well as his effectiveness in lowering crime. However, the stop-and-frisk policy, in which NYPD officers question and search suspicious pedestrians on the street, has been deemed racial profiling by many activists. The vast majority of those stopped are Hispanic or African-American. Stop-and-frisk was ruled unconstitutional back in August.
As such, despite his long career as a civil servant, many Brown students found the Taubman Center for Public Policy’s invitation to Kelly offensive and racially insensitive.
Campus uproar began days ago. Posters reading “Stop Ray(cist) Kelly” and likening Kelly to Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan were plastered across campus and dissenters hosted a vigil on the steps of Faunce on Monday.
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…