Letters to the Editor

Letters: Community weighs in on protest, cancellation of Ray Kelly lecture

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

You could excuse an observer to the spectacle at Ray Kelly’s talk this afternoon for confusing it with a Tea Party rally. For a university that claims to hold sacrosanct the values of free speech, open dialogue and exchange of opposing ideas, we put on a display which left the distinct impression that those are little more than hollow talking points masking an unwillingness to hear out anyone who holds a different opinion.

But more than that, this afternoon was a supreme showing of disrespect — primarily for our administration (members of whom were repeatedly shouted down), the large numbers of Providence police officers (who no doubt were interested in hearing from a leading officer in their field) and Kelly’s right to speak. I disagree with his stop-and-frisk policy. But he is unquestionably one of the most influential and important people in the country, and I would have very much liked to hear him express his thoughts.

Surely a liberal education must include engaging meaningfully and civilly with those whose views differ from yours, and surely being open-minded means more than only interacting with ideas in accordance with your own.

Nihaal Mehta ’14


I was disappointed to learn a public forum at Brown was canceled because some students opposed the ideas they expected would be expressed. Muscling opposing views, even reprehensible ones, into silence is coercive and intimidating. A basic commitment of principled liberalism is tolerating the expression of unpopular or disliked views. To those who decided to use your vocal and numerical superiority to stifle expression: No one was asking you to host Ray Kelly in your home. We’re talking about a private entity, using its own resources, sponsoring expression it wanted to sponsor. If you only believe in freedom of speech with respect to your own beliefs, you don’t believe in it at all. In the future, do not complain if others silence you. By your conduct, you endorse the legitimacy of such silencing.

Bradley Silverman ’13


The student body and administration should be embarrassed by the behavior of the intolerant goons who prevented the speech. They should also be disappointed the administration tolerated such boorish behavior.

Despite all the proclamations of the liberal Brown University as a place of tolerance and diversity, modern liberalism rears its ugly head of truth: It only tolerates those who think “correctly.”

It amazes me that conservatives are called intolerant, yet one never hears of liberal speakers being overrun by conservative hecklers. The reverse seems standard.

Jonathan Bastian ’89


In response to the protest of Ray Kelly’s lecture, there will be an outcry from academic purists — as well as folks involved in the Political Theory Project — about how we need to engage with all voices and perspectives at Brown. This is a played-out argument, and here is why it doesn’t make sense.

The reason to maintain rigor in an academic environment is to eliminate bias and make sure no one perspective achieves such dominance that it is unchallengeable. We know that when this happens, freedom of speech is compromised, ideas are stifled and our conclusions become fallacious as a result.

This is exactly what the students protesting Kelly’s lecture were trying to preserve (among other things). The system Kelly promotes actively disenfranchises people of color. It makes them afraid to be in certain neighborhoods, to wear certain clothes, to be too close to the authorities. It breeds distrust and anger and, most importantly, is antithetical to a free and just society.

Racism is not a valid viewpoint. This much is written directly into Brown law. While racism is certainly wrong, it is also unrigorous. It makes assumptions without evidence. It does not need to be respected, valued or allowed, much like any other perspective which makes assumptions without evidence.

In this case, two wrongs do make a right, much like two negatives make a positive. It is the definition of tolerance to be intolerant of intolerance. As an alum, I am proud to be part of the community that booed Kelly offstage. Nobody needs to entertain arguments that assert this in any way prevents open discourse.

Chris Norris-LeBlanc ’13


The positive reactions from several students to the cancelation of the lecture are unwarranted. While I have seen many students express pride in the student body for having their voices heard and for raising the voices of the oppressed, those students are mistaken in what message was primarily portrayed this afternoon. The message delivered in List was not only dictated by what was shouted, but by the shouting itself. Through the uncivil and disrespectful manner in which this group of students chose to communicate with Ray Kelly, Vice President for Campus Life and Student Services Margaret Klawunn, Vice President for Public Affairs and University Relations Marisa Quinn, and Taubman Center Director Marion Orr, the message that Kelly’s policies are racially charged was overshadowed by the message that a population of Brown students are unable to, at the very least, listen to views that do not correspond with their own. The most upsetting aspect of this situation is the fact that I agree with the messages, in relation to Kelly, that these students wished to present. But the methods with which they were communicated were ineffective and immature. If we as Brown students wish to be regarded as an intellectual community, then we must express our opinions in a manner in which we will be perceived as such. What occurred today only moved us further away from that goal.

Duane Barksdale ’17


I am adamantly against Ray Kelly’s policies, but I didn’t participate in the mass booing that ended his talk prematurely for a reason: I wanted to challenge him through the “open discourse” President Christina Paxson has openly shamed the Brown community for suppressing. Yet Paxson’s response sorely lacks in engagement with the complexity of this protest and the motivations behind it.

The students and community members who organized this protest did so not merely because they found Kelly “offensive,” as the president’s letter implies, but because of the deep inequalities he continues to perpetuate and stand for, as well as the lack of University engagement when it came to discussing choice of speaker. Were there better ways to make a statement than to shout him down? Probably. But the feelings that incited the crowd to this level of unrest are important and critical to address, something Paxson dismisses with axioms about how we should challenge intellectually rather than viscerally, or with statements that we are somehow infringing on an inherent right Kelly had to speak at Brown. But power dynamics have given Kelly a considerable, administration-backed platform that protestors cannot access. There has been no viable way to express dissent at the University’s choice of sponsored speaker in a setting where students feel like they are really being listened to. When Paxson tells us she is going to reach out and apologize to Kelly but makes no mention of the specific issues students have raised that question the potential implications of having him here, she does not take a stance against racial profiling and inequality. Instead, she makes it seem trivial — a matter of dissenting opinion alone. Yes, Brown students may have behaved “badly” in a sense. But the truth of this situation, and others like it, is that focusing on demonizing this particular behavior does not account for the entirety of the issue and fails to address the very things that students literally screamed to try and draw attention to.

Shouting is probably counter productive in some ways. But it is a tactic used when people don’t feel like civil discourse will result in change, and don’t think they’re being heard. And we should look into why we think that.

Yvonne Yu ’13


The goal of a liberal education is to give students access to a range of views on topics of the day. It is especially important to expose students to a range of different beliefs. Giving students exposure to different beliefs gives them a chance to make informed decisions about what they themselves believe. The people who silenced Ray Kelly at Tuesday’s lecture appear to be arguing it is wrong to let someone with whom you disagree speak. Censorship does not suggest moral authority to me so much as it does fear: a fear that letting an opposing viewpoint speak might make that viewpoint seem more understandable. The protesters who sought to defeat Kelly’s ideas by silencing him achieved the opposite of their intended goal: Their unintellectual aggression merely magnified the idea that he had something meaningful to say.

Elisha Anderson ’98, associate director of college admission


The Taubman Center’s full name is “The Taubman Center for Public Policy and American Institutions.” It follows that invited speaker Ray Kelly is indeed a high-profile individual working directly on public policy in an American political institution (shocker!). Therefore, it makes me uncomfortable that so many students participated in preventing Kelly from speaking and thus prevented this usually eloquent community from “lighting the fire under his unconstitutional ass with tough questions,” so to speak. This would have been a more peaceful, more constructive way to engage in discourse in the spirit of free inquiry.

As a highly liberal, LGBTQ woman of color who has spent more than enough time living in New York City to get a taste of the unsavory effects of Kelly’s policies, the whole incident underscores something bigger that I haven’t been able to adequately express. Yes, Kelly’s policies blatantly violate the Fourth Amendment. But the discourse on campus claiming that because the oppressed are never given adequate opportunities to speak, it is okay to belligerently prevent voices who challenge their so-called oppression an equally valid chance to speak is unacceptable.

This instance has made it clear we need to stop engaging in radical, bipolar discourse that pits a homogenous, “privileged” group against a homogenous, “oppressed” group. The “identities” and “histories” of individuals who do not fit the description of a stereotypical white male status quo comprise a multitude of experiences, and feeling unrecognized by the larger political and social bodies in our world is no excuse for bullying someone with opposing views into silence.

I have never felt compelled to write anything of this nature before because, while I certainly don’t fit into the heterosexual, white male status quo, I also don’t feel comfortable aligning myself with a constructed, unified group of individuals who differ from the majority due to various identity characteristics that may include, race, gender and sexual orientation, amongst other things. Let it be known that there are more than two voices at stake here. Until we acknowledge that, we cannot have productive discourse about anything on this campus.

Sheila Sitaram ’15


Today’s lecture by New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly was an embarrassment to the Brown and Providence communities. Stop-and-frisk is obviously controversial, and this was reflected in a federal court’s August decision. The title of the lecture was actually chosen by Kelly and his staff. While I do not agree with stop-and-frisk, I believe this talk was a learning opportunity hijacked by a select portion of the Brown and Providence communities. As a Taubman Center public policy graduate student, this lecture presented me the chance to receive insight on policing in America’s largest city. The Taubman Center for Public Policy and American Institutions teaches that policies, both positive and negative, are learning experiences. While this policy of “proactive policing” left many victims of institutionalized racism, there are a broad number of experiences that only Kelly can reflect on. We lost the opportunity tonight to learn about those. I, as a future policy entrepreneur and former New Yorker, now lack knowledge I would have otherwise gained through a civil discourse. It is now unlikely I will ever be able to directly engage with Kelly and ask the questions I have for him. Those questions actually do not relate to stop-and-frisk but other issues prevalent among the NYPD that I have experienced as both a resident of New York City and a Bellevue rape crisis advocate.

There is a time and place for everything. The University is a place for productive, open discourse. Young people and future leaders are given the opportunity to challenge the ideas of these policies and other topics within the university. Today, members of my community — who made this conversation impossible — expressed a total disregard for the people who were there to participate in productive inquiry. The community members who participated in heckling demonstrated a total disregard for students who pay an enormous price for the privilege to sit in those seats, listen and ask questions. Brown provides community access to these lecture free of charge. A possible repercussion of today’s events may be banning community members from these forums. In addition, controversial speakers asked to come Brown in the future may not consider doing so. Brown students, especially those masters’ students like myself who receive little financial support, pay for the opportunity to have these discussions and incorporate them into our future careers in public service. For those who support today’s occurrences or participated in it, you blocked future policymakers from learning from the past and harm already done.

Lisa Opdycke GS


Since coming to Brown last fall, I have attended countless lectures and presentations on a range of issues. Some I agreed with, and some I did not. But for me, this opportunity has been the core of my education at Brown, offering exposure and the opportunity to learn more — the possibility of challenging my way of thinking. I thought this was the campus I was choosing to engage with.

Today, that engagement was shut down. There was no dialogue or conversation. There was no chance to learn the thoughts of another person. I strongly believe every story has multiple sides — it is important to be open-minded and to not only hear, but to listen. What is the harm in hearing a story through and then questioning what it is worth? What is the value of intentionally shutting off ideas? By shutting down Ray Kelly’s lecture today, protesters engaged in a “silencing” of their own. The few prevented the many students who wanted to hear from absorbing. Where is the civil disobedience in that? I had always thought two wrongs don’t make a right.

Jason Ginsberg ’16


The protestors succeeded in displaying  close-mindedness and suppression of free speech. The Taubman Center invited Ray Kelly to speak about a controversial public policy issue. Brown prides itself on providing an open environment conducive to free speech and diverse perspectives. Whether or not people agree with Kelly’s policies, the proper forum for voicing opinions would have been in the question-and-answer session or by protesting outside the building. Disrupting his lecture resulted in the following:

A) Preventing students seeking to learn from Kelly’s lecture from doing so.

B) Precluding a factual presentation from a knowledgeable source on the topic.

C) Contradicting Brown’s mission to support diversity in perspective.

This issue has made me embarrassed to be a Brown student.

Daniel Boulanger ’17


The behavior of Brown students during Ray Kelly’s address was in very poor taste. Brown students of my generation were respectful of all guests invited to speak, even when it was George Lincoln Rockwell.

Freedom of speech means freedom to speak! How embarrassing to our great university.

Steve Liebmann ’60


As I waited in line patiently to enter the List Art Center, I listened to the chants of my fellow peers. I enjoyed their passion and tenacity. Unfortunately, whilst deep in thought about how Ray Kelly would defend himself against such charges as racism, sexism and homophobia, I learned the venue was full and nobody else was going to be let in. I assumed it filled so quickly because many people were interested in what he had to say.

But as the afternoon went on, I began hearing the presentation had been cancelled.

It was not simply that Kelly had fallen ill or been unable to attend. No: We, the Brown and greater Providence community, had heckled him to the point where he could not give his presentation. This saddens me. What the Brown community claims to value the most — open-mindedness and intellectual conversation — are not what it practices.

We had the power to show we could be civilized enough to let a high-ranking public servant try to explain his ways in a factual, comprehensive and intelligent manner. But instead we acted like children and refused to hear what we do not agree with.

Wouldn’t it have been more effective to listen and reserve hopefully thought-provoking questions until the question-and-answer session at the end? Wouldn’t it have showed that we truly will hear others out on issues where we disagree? Wouldn’t it have been the right thing to do to uphold the free speech we used to protest by letting him at least give his piece?

But no. We showed the world that if you don’t agree with us, you don’t get to share your opinion or be heard. It’s no wonder Brown has such a controversial reputation around the country.

Ben Owens ’17


I transferred to Brown two years ago in order to find an open-minded and vibrant intellectual community. Unfortunately, I have instead found far too often an overwhelming homogeneity of opinion in campus discourse and, more troubling, demagoguery of the worst kind by a minority of radical thinkers. I recognize many of our students are proudly progressive and gravely concerned with questions of social identity and equity. But when students — in the name of creating a “safe space” — deem some voices so outside the bounds of accepted discourse that they cannot even be heard, our community ceases to be one of ideas. After what happened to Ray Kelly, which other speakers of an even remotely non-leftist stripe would ever consider coming to Brown? Instead, we are creating an echo chamber in which we only host thinkers espousing our own narrow set of accepted views on politics, gender identity, race and social equality. I wish I could say this intolerance was not representative of student conduct here, but unfortunately I think we all know it is. I am profoundly embarrassed to attend this institution.

Ross Lerner ’14


The cancelation of the Ray Kelly lecture is an example of why I sometimes get tired of Brown. In a school where we say we are open to and accepting of different ideas, we don’t always allow everyone to voice their opinion, but instead try to force a set of single-minded ideals, feeling offended when someone has a different opinion. Why can’t we ever actually focus on dialogue and ask important questions, rather than draw conclusions from what we think we know about issues and protest everything? Unfortunately at Brown, I have come to realize that debate and discussion are not part of the community. Instead, they are substituted by protests and tmany people feeling like they are being offended as theyjump  on the I’m-a-cool-liberal-at-Brown bandwagon. Here’s to hoping for a more accepting and better educated Brown.

Arturo Cardenas ’15


I find the use of free speech to deny others the opportunity to speak offensive and unconscionable anywhere, but particularly on a university campus.  I came to Brown almost 45 years ago because Brown was a place where people were able to listen to others and respected their rights.

Maurice Glicksman, professor and provost emeritus


I don’t understand what denying Ray Kelly the ability to speak accomplishes, besides denying fellow students the right to hear him. Was it just an attempt by the protesters to stroke their own egos by shouting down someone they disagree with — someone big and powerful, someone more successful than them? Or do they believe their fellow students are so juvenile and impressionable that they can’t listen critically and form their own opinions? Are they afraid Kelly might somehow be so convincing and trick us all into supporting racial profiling? My classmates and I are intelligent enough to make up our own minds. I don’t need to simply buy into what one side tells me. I have the right to form my own educated opinions based on multiple perspectives. I realize that because I’m white some might deem my opinion invalid. I am Jewish though, and if a neo-Nazi came to speak, while I would certainly protest against his beliefs, I would never infringe on his right to speak. I know what freedom means. It’s ironic that some of these so called fighters for it don’t.

Zachary Fredman ’17


There is a great deal of shame circulating through the student body: shame for silencing Ray Kelly, shame for silencing the University’s right wing, shame for failing to recognize the importance of dialogue. These feelings are not unwarranted. Today marked another tragic moment in that oft-bemoaned history of Brown’s coercively left-leaning discourse.

But this is not the matter at hand.

To make Kelly’s talk a matter of intra-university discourse is an immensely arrogant error. I agree with the critics: I would have loved to hear how Kelly would have defended himself. But this desire — to engage in a dialogue, to appreciate the full range spectrum of opinions — is a privilege, fundamentally failing to recognize the real, tangible horrors of Kelly’s stop-and-frisk policy.

If we believe in the terror of stop-and-frisk, then we have to evaluate critically the best way for the students at this university to fight against it. Discourse aside, there is no doubt that today’s lecture shut-down was the most effective way to speak out against stop-and-frisk. As a result of today’s protest, the opposition to stop-and-frisk has been bullhorned to an exponential degree: Media outlets from the Wall Street Journal to the New York Times are paying attention, the Taubman center is certainly paying attention and administrators have been forced to confront a real, active student voice.

The counterargument here is valid: The anger with which the protest fought today was not particularly conducive to convincing “undecideds”— let alone Kelly himself — to end stop-and-frisk. But the politics of disruption is not civil, and it does not abide by traditional rules of respect — for people’s time, for people’s emotional comfort and certainly for the University’s finances. Ray Kelly was never going to walk away from his question-and-answer session thinking, “Well my gosh, those students are really sumthin.’ Better pony up and ditch that Stop-and-Frisk policy!” Today, students participated in real civil disobedience in support of a real cause of justice.

This is not a matter of principle. When we confront issues of hatred, discrimination, violence and evil, we must engage in a strategic politics above all.

Today was a small tragedy for discourse, to be sure. But it was a big victory for justice.

David Adler ’14


  1. Gotta tell ya Dave, I think there’s probably some principle in there somewhere.

  2. Dear Brown University students. Today you made me proud by not allowing opposing voices. My own Brown Shirts (wow, apparently that fits) could not have done better. With warmest regards, your friend,Adolph.

  3. Brown should ask the students who prevented Ray Kelly from speaking to identify themselves. When the first jihadist nuke goes off in a US city, virtually everyone will be eager to know who agitated for non-surveillance of terrroist associates. The students will be able to claim “they made a difference,” but they will be horrified at the results of what they did. If the world is going to come unglued, it first has to have provicial thinkers like these students.

  4. Concerned Grad says:

    Free speech was crushed today. What a blow to the university’s reputation. We should be ashamed to be associated with this type of radical behavior. All involved should hang their heads.

    • Ray Kelley has spent his whole career fighting the Constitution, he doesnt get to play it both ways when it is convienant

      • That’s a despotic attitude. All people are entitled to free speech, regardless of what they do or say.

        • YouDontUnderstand says:

          Should our university be supporting hate speech, neglecting student requests for him not to come, and then protecting and paying him for it? Yes, free speech is important. But so is preventing hate speech. And this was not set up to be a debate of free speech. Free speech is supported when both parties are given power, and the power in this situation was set up to be all in Ray Kelly’s hands.

    • lol'free'speech says:

      Yeah, it really is a shame that the communities unfairly profiled on a regular basis were not able to be there to present their views since they were in prison. One of these days we’ll get to hear them speak though, don’t worry.

  5. Ray Kelly doesn’t just have “another perspective” to share — he has systematically implemented a policing system that targets communities of color. The way that stop and frisk targets communities of color has been documented over and over again by community members, academics, the ALCU and more. People did not protest because they “disagree” with Ray Kelly. People refused to allow Brown University to give a platform (and money!) to a powerful racist man.

    Furthermore, this was set up as a lecture. Ray Kelly was going to lecture the students of Brown University on the merits of his policing system (which have been deemed unconstitutional), and then there was going to be a little time for Q&A. This was not a debate, if there had been another person up on stage who had been given equal power to Kelly, who was allowed to challenge his ideas, that would have been a different story.

    I am honored to be an alum of Brown University, and know that there are students unwilling to allow my alma mater to give a platform to a man who espouses racist policy as a rational for “keeping our communities safe.”

    • You’re ignorant of the stop & frisk policy in NYC. It was supposed to be a means where police could stop somebody who was a suspected criminal. For example, a bodega gets robbed by 2 teenage black youths wearing Yankee jerseys. The police could (and IMO should) stop a teenage black youth in the area with a Yankee jersey on suspicion. Of course, since over 80% of crimes in NYC are committed by minorities , this would result in a dispropotionate number of minorities stopped anyway.
      The problem was when the police took it to another level. Instead of targeting crime suspects they were targeting “potential” criminals. While some of that was stopping gang members (any police officer can spot a gang member FYI since they wear their colors) it also meant stopping some with no probable cause.
      Has stop and frisk gotten out of control in NYC? Yes. Is it a reasonable crime fighting tool if used properly? Definitely IMO. What some fail to grasp is if the vast majority of crime is committed by minorities then the vast majority of crime suspects are going to be minority.

      • yeahokaythenguy says:

        What others fail to grasp is that when only one race of people are profiled as “potential” criminals on a systemic basis while another particular race is exempted from such profiling, the logical conclusion is that one race will appear to commit more crimes. I’m wondering how white people would feel about an analogous “stop and frisk” policy for private corporations since the majority of white collar crimes (which impact FAR more people than street crime) are committed by white people.

        • lining in the hood in the BK says:

          Does the NYPD pick the race of victims? I’d imagine that the criminals do that, and everywhere in this country, most violent crime is committed by assailants who assault members of their own race. To make it plain, most crime victims are black, and they are assaulted by other blacks. If you are stopping and frisking based on crime locations, victim reports, or assailant descriptions, in NY you will be dealing with black males, suspected of victimizing other blacks in black neighborhoods. Don ‘t like the facts? Take your wonderful, Ivy League Brown education, and to Bed-Stuy or Crown Heights or East Flatbush and do something to protect the overwhelmingly black victims of crime that Ray Kelly has been doing yeoman work to protect. During Ray Kelly’s tenure at NYPD, the murder rate has fallen from 2000/year to aprox 500/year. Virtually all of the lives that were saved were those of young black males. Contrary to the Brown liber-o-nazi intolerance that labels Kelly someone who is so unworthy that he doesn’t deserve the right to be heard, he should instead by hailed as one of the greatest saviors and protectors of young black males in this country.

        • You prove my point and show your ignorance of the stop and frisk policy. I’m a NY’er and know the policy. More whites were stopped than any other race in proportion to population and crime victims description of suspects. So according to your incorrect belief, more minority’s need to be stopped to equal out the equation ? But don’t let statistical fact get in the way of your uninformed agenda I guess? How very hip.

    • Your alumni allows the black anti-semetic group Nation of Islam to promote this hateful ideology on campus so don’t be so f ing proud you hypocrite.

    • You seem to think that there is a time and place when free speech is inappropriate. You gave this person no opportunity to voice ideas only because you didn’t agree with them. Free speech is always easy when we reinforce our ideas. Harder when we have to allow others their voice, ideas we don’t like because that challenges us to answer them in complete sentences instead of slogans.

  6. ManWithoutAPoliticalParty says:

    I can’t help but notice that some assumptions have been made about Mr. Kelly. Clearly, the policies he enforced had real implications concerning constitutional rights and racial discrimination, but are we just assuming he is in fact a racist? Did he spend his life garnering power in an attempt to execute a plan designed specifically to oppress and dishearten minorities? Perhaps he did, but my brain tells me that it’s more likely he crafted a misguided law and produced abhorrent results. Either way, it doesn’t make him a good guy, but it does mean the difference between him being shouted down rather than engaged intellectually. I tried not to make these assumptions beforehand, but unfortunately, they have been made for me.

    • logics2procantcompete says:

      So he’s not a racist because he doesn’t think that he is, even though his actions specifically target an entire group of people on the arbitrary basis of race? Just like how all white people weren’t racist before the civil rights movement because public opinion polls show that the majority did not think they were. That’s so logics.

      • ManWithoutAPoliticalParty says:

        The point I am making is that the intent of the law and the results are not necessarily the same thing. We both likely think the law is unjust, but I don’t automatically assume that Kelly is evil for it. Who is to say he didn’t have the best intentions? I doubt he’s a good guy, but I certainly can’t say for sure that he isn’t, which is why I chose not to shout him down.

  7. Ray Kelly got much better treatment than New yorkers get from the NYPD

    • Nonsense. Do you live in NYC? Kelly has been the 2nd best thing to happen to NYPD in last 50 years. The first was Bratton who preceded Kelly and implemented a lot of the policies now in place.
      If not for Kelly and Bratton you wouldn’t be visiting NYC much because it was too dangerous.


    Enough is enough

    University used to be
    open to freedom of speech and intelligent opinion, but now is chaotic, lacks
    social discipline and its purpose got lost .

    Brown main goal is to teach science, arts and civility by
    meanings of respect for others opinions, beliefs, ethnicity, religion and
    personal choices.

    Basically students should study and learn.
    Teachers should teach science and respect.
    The Corporation should manage and finance.

    The Kelly’s fiasco, offense and disrespect is just the tip
    of the iceberg of the total de- composition and social dizziness of some Brown

    While Columbia invite, listen and respect Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s opinion, Brown students can’t even respect invited Raymond Kelly’s speech.

    I call for exemplary discipline for those disrupters and for the return to
    civility and order.

    I call for the publication of Kelly’s speech, which is not more than a call for a
    proactive, crime preventing police in contrast to a crime reactive and report
    taking police.

    • Jack Inyart says:

      I watched the fiasco at Brown today. This was classic Saul Alinsky behavior. In essence, if you don’t like what you might hear, don’t let him speak. This gives the power to the loudest voice or the biggest gun (so to speak). This has nothing to do with the righteousness of any cause in a venue of interactive speech. In fact the disruptive students gave the hallowed reputation of Brown a really bad rap.

  9. toomanyfallacies says:

    How DARE these students demand that their tuition money not be used to enrich a man who enacts violence against entire communities on a daily basis?!?!?! WHAT ABOUT TEH FREE SPEECHES THEY’RE ALL DEAD NOW YOU KILLED THEM ALL

    • The lecture was funded out of an endowment from the parents of a deceased Brown student, not tuition money.
      You’re an uninformed idiot.

  10. Holly Doerflinger '13 says:

    My comment on the Ray Kelly situation:

    I definitely do NOT agree with his policies, personally believing that stop and frisk promotes racial profiling, and think that the Taubman Center did a poor job at selling this lecture (such as titling the lecture “Proactive Policing…”). However, Brown has always served as a safe space for dialogue and I see the forced shut down of the lecture as an attack on that safe space. In orders or us to fight against racism at the institutional level, we must understand the viewpoint of those creating such policies. We must hear them out, even if we don’t agree with them, so that we can engage in conversations that will lead to progress. Silencing opposition is not the answer. We do not attend lectures like this one because we support the work but because we want to learn more about a perspective so we can have fully informed opinions. While I commend the activists for sticking to their convictions, the way in which this was done makes them out to be the bigoted ones. It would have been better to invite another speaker to counter Mr. Kelly’s presentation than to shut this lecture down.

  11. The fault here is with University administration. It is their responsibility to promote an environment where ALL voices can be heard and the tyranny of the mob does not prevail.

    By meekly cancelling the event and not disciplining the students involved, they are encouraging the bullying tactics of the protestors. The University is abdicating its core responsibility to teach its students tolerance of competing ideas, even ones that they strenuously disagree with.

    Instead, students are learning that if they make a hysterical claims of ‘racism’ and ‘violence’ that they wield the power of censorship.

  12. Why is anyone surprised at what happened on Brown’s campus yesterday? The shutting down of Ray Kelly is a black (no racial intent) eye on the University and it’s administration as a whole! But surprised…never…the University and it’s administration has fosters this behavior and has in the past in a number of different types of incidents. It refuses to hold students accountable for bad behavior and send a powerful message that wont be condoned. They have…as far back as 11 years ago condoned several assaults on the University Police Officers…jumping on a police officers back..punching a police officer in the face….kicking a police officer injuring him to the point where he was out of work for months all condoned without any consequences!! In REAL life you are held accountable for your actions…at Brown..not the case. Until this changes..nothing will change!
    It is OK to disagree it is OK to express yourself, that is what our country was founded on….but being disrespectful is not OK!
    The President of Brown made a public statement saying that Brown does not condone this behavior…the student who organized the protest proudly said they achieved their goal. Let’s see who is in charge, let’s see if the President meant what she said…and holds the organizers accountable!

  13. maybe once all of you mature a little bit, you’ll realize that each of us has a constitutional right to voice our opinion. only fools consider the “shout down” of commissioner kelly a victory…take that with you to the nearest third world country…

  14. I am an alum who has contributed considerable dollars to Brown and am deeply embarrassed and disgusted by the behavior of the liberal thugs who hijacked Ray Kelley’s presentation today. I am voting with my feet (and my pocket book) – Brown has seen the last of my contributions. The administration’s abject and persistent failure to create and enforce an environment where free and open discourse on Brown’s campus is preserved for all points of view is disturbing and, frankly, highly offensive. While the students and community activists engaged in shameful and despicable behavior yesterday, the failure of the administration to hold the offenders accountable through swift and strict discipline is far more troubling, offensive, and shameful. This university has become a national laughingstock, and deservedly so. President Paxson, we’re watching you and waiting for more than cheap lip service (in the form of your letter yesterday to the Brown community) to address this issue. The disgraceful events were filmed. Identify the offenders and teach them, the Brown community, academia, and the nation a lesson by holding these young fascists accountable through meaningful discipline. Please, show some guts.

  15. and another thing…it’s high time the university begin teaching such radical topics as “the importance of taking individual responsibility”, self reliance and the importance of standing on your own and not feeling the need to hide within a specific “group” identity. it’s pathetic that the brown student has lost the ability to come up with their own original thought, rather…they have to align with some radical “group” that will do their thinking for them…

  16. Louis Farrakhan made a tour of college campuses all around this country, including Brown, with no protests whatsoever even though his hate speech against Jews, gays and whites is as hateful as the KKK’s was against blacks. The double standard is despicable. To all those saying “racism is not free speech and should not be on campus”- why isn’t that applied to Farrakhan and other instances of intolerance by blacks and Muslims? Only when it goes the other way does freedom of speech get shut down.

  17. To David Adler: Precisely what “victory” did you accomplish?

  18. I am a New Yorker. Quite frankly,I’m impressed with the response of the Brown student body,weather you’re on the left or right who were angered by Brown University’s own “brown shirts”. If I need to explain what a brown shirt is then chose a course other than “everyone’s a victim of evil white Amerika” and truly educate yourself. Then educate yourself on stop and frisk,I mean really educate yourself on this policy by other means than “Mother Earth” or the teachings of Louis Farrakhan ,who I understand you welcomed with open arms. Hypocrisy your name is Brown! It WAS found to be legal by the US Supreme Court. This decision by a radical NY judge,one of the most overturned I might ad ,was and will be proven to have been little more than an extension of her well known radical agenda in stead of fact ,law and evidence presented.Then educate yourselves on what free speech really means. It’s not free speech as long as it’s my speech. You childish “mommy never said no to me” juvenile bully’s owe an apology to all who wanted to hear,question and god forbid, maybe be educated. Who knows, maybe Mr Kelly might have learned something from you! But thanks to a handful of children employing Nazi Brown Shirt tactics, we’ll never know. If the answers scare you,then don’t ask difficult questions. And let’s hope the school President does more than just issue a half assed letter of commendation and protects the rights of your invited guests and student body….Schools out.

  19. Student #13 says:

    There is a back story here that isn’t being recognized. Although Ray Kelly bore the brunt of the turmoil at Brown right now, the Ray Kelly shutdown was not just about Ray Kelly. Paxson’s repeated refusals to give an inch to student activist groups is what led to such an overwhelming action. She’s radicalizing parts of the student body by being such a spinelessly staunch conservative.

    • Paxson is a conservative? Next you’ll be telling me that Obama is a rascist. LOL
      It is not Paxson’s job to give way to the demands of whichever mob yells the loudest. Nor is it her job to step in and micromanage every event so that it conforms to every demand of said mob.

  20. Jeff Portner says:

    N. Mehta-
    Regarding your remark about the debacle with Ray Kelly and its similarity to a Tea Party rally: Can you please cite an example in which an invited guest to a Tea Party rally was shouted down before he/she could speak? I have been to such events and have watched more online, and I am unaware of such a thing ever happening. There’s no need to bash an organization whose goals you do not share to make a valid point.

  21. '`*-.,_,-*'`*~-.,.~*'*-.,_,-*' says:

    “Today was a small tragedy for discourse, to be sure. But it was a big victory for justice.”

    thank you, david adler. i’m not sure if i agree with you, but you very nicely articulated a view i couldn’t quite get a handle on.

  22. These entitled arrogant students are disgraceful. I wonder if the circumstances had been reversed and there was the booing of a liberal speaker..what would have happened? Front page news and on every tv station. The interesting thing is that these immature kids think they did something cool, edgy and possibly radical. They did nothing other than show the world how little they know, how truly uninformed they are. They are like sheep, followers not leaders. Wonder if they realize what its like to live in a city and be frightened about your safely on a daily basis. They just showed how totally clueless they are. The student above calls this a victory for justice, hardly. The fact that the campus could not remove them is really disturbing, afraid of Mommy and Daddy and their lawyers!

  23. Disappointing. Admissions needs to do a much better job of screening applicants. Really, with all of its selectivity, Brown can’t attract people who can engage in civil discourse?

  24. I actually find the whole incident quite refreshing. At least there are signs of life out there at Brown and some students are alive enough to get riled up about something and put themselves on the line. While it would be lovely if we could all learn and change through a calm, rational discussion, life doesn’t seem to work that way often. So, I for one, am happy to see a little ferment at this university. I hope it is a sign that more students are engaged with learning and life rather than simply preparing themselves to play dead man’s shoes in the job market.

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