The Brown University students that booed NYPD commissioner Ray Kelly off stage during a speech last week don't have to deal with Kelly's stop-and-frisk tactics at their Rhode Island campus. But those protestors will be stopped and will be punished, the University announced today.
Brown President Christina Paxson wrote in a letter to the Brown community today that the Ivy League University would not tolerate incidents like last week's fracas, when organized protestors shouted down a planned Kelly speech. "This is a violation of the University’s Code of Student Conduct," Paxson wrote in a statement. "If we are to prevent similar episodes in the future, these standards of conduct must be upheld and enforced."
To get to the bottom of the matter, Paxson will form a committee — the foreboding-sounding "Committee on the Events of October 29th" — to investigate what went wrong. And, if Brown gets the right people, to punish the wrongdoers:
"After the findings from the first phase of the Committee’s work are complete, we will determine whether individuals or organizations involved should be referred to the University’s established processes for resolving alleged violations of the Code of Student Conduct."
Paxson's views seem to align closely with the broader campus response. A Brown Daily Herald poll found that although an overwhelming majority of students approved protests of Kelly's speech outside the lecture hall, 73 percent opposed the disruption of the speech itself. And Paxson statement today shows she won't let those people get away with what she described as "a breach of the University’s fundamental value of open discourse. It cannot be ignored."