Dear Members of the Brown Community,

Last November, I charged a faculty-student committee led by B. Anthony Bogues, professor of Africana studies, to examine the events surrounding the disruption of a lecture that was to be given by New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly on October 29, 2013. The committee was asked to conduct its work in two phases. For the first phase, I asked the committee to document the events surrounding the episode. For the second phase, I asked the committee to consider and make recommendations regarding how Brown can maintain an inclusive and supportive environment for all of its members while upholding our commitment to the free exchange of ideas.

The committee has submitted its phase one report. I have attached it here and posted it on my website.

I would like to thank the committee for its work to date. As you will see, the report contains a careful and thoughtful narrative of the events leading up to and concluding with the lecture. It provides information and insights that will be useful to me and the rest of the University as we revise and strengthen our policies and practices for handling controversial events, so that similar episodes do not occur in the future.

The second phase of the committee’s work is likely to be even more valuable. Over the last several months, members of the Brown community have been involved in conversations on topics that range from the effects of stop-and-frisk policing and racial profiling on communities of color to freedom of expression on university campuses and the role of students in university governance.  These conversations have been productive and, at times, difficult. I look forward to hearing the committee’s recommendations for how Brown can move forward as a leader in cultivating an open environment in which community members from all backgrounds and intellectual viewpoints feel welcome.


Christina H. Paxson