Committee Membership Announcement

Dear Members of the Brown Community,

I am writing to tell you who will serve on the Committee on the Events of October 29. This Committee will examine the events surrounding the disruption of a lecture that was to be given by NYC Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly. The Committee’s broad charge is to help us understand what happened, why it happened, and 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. The full committee charge is below.

The members of the Committee are:

  • Carlos Aizenman—Associate Professor of Neuroscience
  • Amanda Anderson—Professor of English
  • B. Tony Bogues—Professor of Africana Studies (committee chair)
  • Lina Fruzzetti—Professor of Anthropology
  • Philip Gruppuso—Professor of Pediatrics
  • Terra Laughton—Undergraduate student, Class of 2014
  • Lakshmi Padmanabhan—Graduate student, Modern Culture and Media
  • Dakota Rice—Undergraduate student, Class of 2016

The Committee will be staffed by Dean Besenia Rodriguez, from the Office of the Dean of the College, and Michael Grabo, Office of the General Counsel.

I want to thank these members of our community who have agreed to serve, and to Professor Bogues for chairing the Committee. I also want to thank the FEC, UCS and GCS for their help in identifying committee members.

Sincerely,

Christina H. Paxson

Committee on the Events of October 29, 2013

This Committee will examine the events surrounding the disruption of a lecture that was to be given by NYC Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly at Brown University on October 29, 2013. The Committee’s broad charge is to help us understand what happened, why it happened, and 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.

The Committee’s work will take place in two phases. In the first phase, the Committee will review the activities and circumstances related to the October 29 lecture, including the manner in which student concerns were addressed prior to the event; the role of groups from outside of Brown in the disruption; and the way the lecture itself was managed. The Committee report from this first phase will inform the University’s review of policies and procedures surrounding lectures and events on controversial topics and its handling of alleged student conduct code violations. The Committee will not be charged with making recommendations on possible disciplinary actions. This phase 1 report will be completed no later than the end of winter break.

In the second phase, the Committee will address the broader issues of campus climate, free expression, and dialogue across difference that were brought to the fore by the events of October 29 and subsequent campus discussions. The Committee will consult widely with members of the campus community and make recommendations regarding how Brown can maintain an inclusive and supportive environment for all of our members while upholding our commitment to the free exchange of ideas. This could include (but is not limited to) recommendations for how to:

  • Strengthen and clarify our norms for Brown community member behavior on issues of free expression;
  • Cultivate an environment in which community members from all backgrounds and intellectual viewpoints feel comfortable on the Brown campus, possibly through improvements to student orientation or programming that takes place throughout the year;
  • Create academic opportunities (classes or seminars) for students and faculty to explore issues of freedom of expression within a diverse society.

The Committee will be asked to produce a phase 2 report no later than the end of the spring semester.