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Letter to the Brown Community Regarding Upcoming Nonie Darwish Lecture

Dear Members of the Brown Community,

The Office of Campus Life and Student Services will sponsor a campus lecture, open to the public, by Nonie Darwish on Wednesday, February 7, 2007 at 7:00 pm. Given recent discussion on campus regarding Ms. Darwish speaking at Brown, I wanted both to make the community aware of this event and clarify a few issues about which members of our community have expressed concerns.

The Office of Campus Life and Student Services, like many campus departments, routinely sponsors student-initiated programs, lectures, and events. We do so in compliance with the well-known and often-articulated University policy to support a wide range of perspectives and ideologies and without regard to the content of the message or argument of any particular speaker or program. We do so as part of the University’s mission of supporting student efforts to contribute to the intellectual, cultural and social discourse on campus. We do so because we believe that the university community benefits from the opportunity to be exposed to and engage in discussion with the broadest possible spectrum of ideas and positions. Our purpose in sponsoring such a variety of student events is strictly to support students in their efforts to bring many different voices to the campus discussion and is not, in any way, based on promoting, endorsing or subscribing to specific arguments. Our intention is to help foster the vibrant and open exchange of ideas on campus which is, of course, what a university is entirely about.

Finally, it has been reported in many venues that the Muslim Students Association voiced objections to the original idea of bringing Ms. Darwish to the Brown campus. That is not, in fact, true. The Muslim Students Association was not approached as a group about the event nor did they express any objection to her speaking at Brown. Any representations to the contrary are false. The MSA, as well as the Hillel Executive Board and the MultiFaith Council and many other student organizations, has done wonderful work on campus promoting understanding and communication across difficult and controversial issues facing our community as well as the nation and the world. I applaud all students who are engaged in such work and encourage all community members to actively support their efforts.

Sincerely,

Russell C. Carey
Interim Vice President
Campus Life and Student Services