25th Reunion, class of 1985

25th Reunion, class of 1985

The Brown University class of 1985 was an active one. The votes of over 2,000 students passed a referendum urging the university to stock suicide pills for distribution in the event of a nuclear war and almost seventy students organized a protest against General Dynamics and Raytheon when they came for recruitment sessions.

This interview with members of the Brown University class of 1985 summarizes the economically, socially, and racially diverse undergraduate experiences of Frances S. Lee, Suzanne Beth Goldberg, Margaret E. Rosen, Karen Smith, Allyson Tucker, Katherine Sabin Melchoir, and Jill Anne Hereford, at their 25th reunion.

First, the interviewees are asked why they chose to attend Brown and what their thoughts and experiences were concerning the “new curriculum” that abolished course requirements and allowed for a more open exploration of subjects.

They go on to recall fraternities being one of the major issues on campus for their lack of inclusiveness in terms of race and gender as well as the aggression they demonstrated towards Black and female students. Other issues discussed include Apartheid, Brown’s divestment from South Africa, and nuclear weapons. Specifically, the group recalls being deeply affected by a racially charged cover of the Brown Daily Herald and overt financial and institutional inequalities between men and women’s sports teams. Lee and Tucker Mitchell remember participating in protests against these discriminations. 

The interviewees conclude with a conversation about how their different socioeconomic backgrounds may have affected their experiences. 

This interview is particularly strong in illuminating racism and sexism on the Brown campus. 

Recorded on May 29, 2010

Pembroke Hall, Brown University

Interviewed by Jane Lancaster