Policies and actions related to encampments and other activities

April 23, 2024

Over the past few days, we have heard troubling reports of unrest, disruption and, in a few cases, violence at other college campuses across the country, which have created concerns for safety and security of students, faculty and staff. We are writing to reaffirm both our commitment to the right to protest and demonstrate and that such actions must take place in accordance with University policies and state and federal law, free from intimidation, harassment, hostility, or abuse. We are first and foremost concerned about protecting the safety of our community while also ensuring that campus operations can continue.

On several occasions this fall and spring, we have shared messages with the University community about freedom of expression, protest and related policiesBrown’s policies protecting freedom of expression, and updates to university policies. The goals of these communications have been to provide continuing guidance in support of our commitment to the open exchange of ideas, including the right to protest and demonstrate. 

We will rely on appropriate codes of conduct to address violations of policy by students, faculty and staff.  Specifically, given the nature of disruptions on other campuses, we want to make clear that although encampment itself is not an arrestable offense, it is a violation of University policy (Greens Space Usage Policy 3.1) and will be responded to accordingly. Should the University believe an encampment or potentially unsafe gathering is being established, any individual participating will be reminded of relevant policies and directed to present identification to University officials. For Brown community members, if there is an appearance that any code of conduct is being violated, participant information will be provided to the appropriate offices for review and appropriate action. 

Conduct reviews and processes for any students in violation of University policies will begin immediately and could result in discipline up to and including separation from the institution. For graduating students, conduct processes could impact graduation and, for seniors, the ability to participate in Senior Week activities and Commencement. 

As a reminder, Brown community members must present ID upon request; failure to do so is a violation of policy. Individuals unaffiliated with the University will be advised to leave. If they refuse, they may be trespassed and escorted off campus. We have observed the unfortunate escalation of misconduct  at encampments at other institutions. The larger and the longer an encampment lasts, and the more disruptive it becomes, the more serious the outcomes of the conduct process will necessarily become. Employees are subject to relevant codes of conduct and disciplinary procedures.

While Brown has determined that encampment itself is not an arrestable offense, given the heightened safety and security concerns accompanying activism on other campuses, we want to be sure that all members of the Brown community are aware that actions that may create a violent, intimidating, hostile or otherwise unsafe environment for others will elicit responses from the appropriate offices. Any encampments or offenses violating the law — including any point at which escalating circumstances dictate the need for encampment removal — may include law enforcement response and arrest. The University will monitor any activity and determine when additional responses are required. Again, the safety of our community is our top priority.

Brown is a community whose members value free inquiry and expression, and we are also a caring community that looks out for one another. We have been encouraged by the many recent instances when community members engaging in protest and demonstration have done so in accordance with policies that uphold everyone’s right to participate in university functions. As always, members of the community can and should report incidents of bias and harassment using Brown’s reporting mechanisms, and they can access a range of resources, should they need support. Links are available on the Support Resources page maintained by Campus Life. 

We anticipate that our community will meet this moment by acting with respect and care for one other. 


Frank Doyle Provost

Sarah Latham, Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration

Eric Estes, Vice President for Campus Life