Letters to the Editor

Letter: Paxson’s letter misses the point of discourse

Thursday, November 7, 2013

I just received a letter from President Christina Paxson. I understand that as an administrator tasked with the orderly functioning of the University, Paxson disagrees with the tactics used by the protesters at the New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly lecture. However, I’m disappointed because this is the third letter sent out to the entire Brown community in which she argues her point and gives the protesters no opportunity to defend their actions or articulate their vision — it’s telling that in this letter she links to her own writing twice. This is a missed opportunity: Paxson could have shown how much Brown truly cares about open dialogue and debate and make the point that the best ideas will win out in an open forum.

I was taught at Brown that if my idea truly is better, I should feel comfortable matching it up against the best possible form of my opponent’s argument. Instead, Paxson has proved the protesters’ point that those with privilege and power have plenty of available platforms to advocate for their ideas, while others are limited to “persistent interruption.”


Remy Fernandez-O’Brien ’12


One Comment

  1. What did you expect the letter to say? She listened to the protestor’s POV for over a week, and she doesn’t agree that feeing offended gives one the right to censor opinions. She completely acknowledges the protestor’s opinion in the email, and said that she learned a great deal how personal it was — however, still doesn’t give them the right to censor.

    Just because the protestors didn’t get their way does not mean their voice wasn’t heard. Trust me — their voice was heard loud and clear. It just so happens that very few people agree with it (re: Brown poll, national sentiment towards Brown U as of last Tuesday).

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