Distributed March 23, 2001
For Immediate Release
News Service Contact: Mark Nickel
or Tracie Sweeney

Brown issues statement in response to mail threat

Following a Brown student's receipt of threatening mail, Interim President Sheila Blumstein condemned all forms of racism and intolerance. The University informed students of support and stepped-up security services.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Brown University issued the following statement this afternoon (Friday, March 23, 2001):

On Thursday, March 22, an African-American undergraduate student received an anonymous letter, postmarked from outside Rhode Island, that was threatening, demeaning and offensive.

Following the student's report to University officials, members of the administration met with a number of students, listened to their concerns, and reviewed with them the security services available to all members of the community throughout the academic year and particularly throughout spring recess (March 24-April 1). There have been other reports from Brown community members, including faculty and staff, of similar incidents via e-mail, anonymous voicemail messages and Internet postings. These have been directed against members of the community on all sides of the issue.

Brown Police and Security will vigorously investigate all reported incidents. Appropriate actions through either the Office of Student Life and/or the criminal justice system will be pursued whenever information of a violation of the Code of Student Conduct and/or the laws of the State of Rhode Island is developed.

E-mail notifying the entire Brown community about this event and about security services that will be provided throughout spring recess was distributed on March 23.

Interim President Sheila Blumstein issued the following statement this afternoon (Friday, March 23, 2001):

Brown University consistently, forcefully and without ambiguity condemns all forms of racism and intolerance. Anonymous threats, racial slurs and harassment of any type will not be tolerated. Such behavior is antithetical to the values of the Brown community.

At this time, we believe the anonymous letter mailed to a Brown student was generated by persons outside the University. Regardless of the source, we must take seriously any racist provocation directed toward individuals in our community.

The safety and security of our students is always of paramount concern. I have directed the offices of Student Life and Brown Police and Security to step up measures to ensure the safety of all members of the Brown community.

As I stated at the community forum on Wednesday of this week, this is a time when we need to come together as a community and support one another. No matter what our personal views or opinions are, we need to share them in a way that shows respect and concern.