Members of the Brown Community,

We have come to the conclusion of what has certainly been the most tumultuous, contentious and bitter presidential election in memory. The election has exposed deep and troubling divisions in this country — divisions defined by race, class, gender, national origin, and more. The period after the election may continue to be fraught with discord, anger and anxiety.

Regardless of the voting decisions made by individual members of our community, all of us want to understand what the outcome of the election means for the country as a whole and its place in the world. The election has raised concerns about race relations in this country, issues of respect for gender and identity, and issues pertaining to immigration that directly affect many families. For many on our campus, these issues are felt deeply and are very personal.

As a community, there are two things we can do as we grapple with the results of this election. The most important is to take care of yourselves and give support to those who need it. The second is to approach the post-election period in a way that is consonant with Brown's values. As an academic community, we should aim to understand the divisions in our country, and develop ways to address them. Even more, we can succeed in elevating the level of discourse above what we have seen in the political arena over the past year.

In the coming days and weeks, there will be many opportunities--informally with friends, in classrooms and work places, and at lectures and panel discussions--to understand what this election means for the country. I encourage you to participate in these discussions, and use them to share ideas, listen, learn, debate and consider what possibilities lie ahead for each of us to play a role in defining the world we want to live in.

I invite you to stop by the Leung Family Gallery this evening between 6:00 and 7:30 PM, for informal conversation about the election and its consequences and, of course, something to eat, hosted by my office and the Office of Campus Life. I look forward to seeing you there.


Christina H. Paxson
Professor of Economics and Public Policy
Brown University