You are currently viewing the printable version of this article, to return to the normal page, please click here.

Brown done 1st phase of review of speech protest

- Associated Press - Thursday, February 20, 2014

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - A Brown University committee has wrapped up the first phase and started the second in its review of a rowdy campus protest that shut down a speech by then-New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly on his department's stop-and-frisk policy, and expects to make recommendations this spring on how the school can handle controversial speakers on campus.

University President Christina Paxson released an 11-page committee report this week about events that led to the Oct. 29 protest. The report did not draw conclusions, but rather focused on documenting what happened in the weeks leading up to the speech, in which Kelly had planned to discuss the policy, which allowed police to stop and search anyone they deem suspicious. Critics said the practice unfairly targets blacks and Hispanics.

Kelly's speech was cut short by university administrators after a crowd, including Brown students and members of the Providence community, repeatedly shouted Kelly down.

Paxson appointed the committee - of faculty members and students - to first review what happened and then come up with recommendations "regarding how Brown can maintain an inclusive and supportive environment for all of our members while upholding our commitment to the free exchange of ideas."

Professor Anthony Bogues, the committee chairman, said Thursday the second report is due out before the end of the spring semester and will provide recommendations on university policies and the university's relationship to the community.

"What is the role of a major private research university in the community and how do we navigate that?" he said. "Those are serious questions."

Bogues said one thing the committee would "absolutely not" consider recommending is placing restrictions on members of the outside community who wish to come and hear speakers on campus.

"It sets up the university as an institution apart from the community. A university cannot carry out its function of training young people for citizenship and then isolate itself from the community. It cannot do that," he said. "That's not a recommendation we would make."

Meanwhile, university spokeswoman Marissa Quinn said the administration would await the recommendations before making any major changes.

"While we are not currently changing any policies, we will seek to work more diligently to plan, manage and implement safe, secure events that are accessible to the Brown campus and to members of the broader community," she wrote.

The new mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio, named a new police commissioner and said last month the city would agree to appoint a monitor to oversee the process to change the stop-and-frisk practice.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.