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Letters to the Editor, Op-eds, Opinions

Letter: Paxson should hear Carroll’s request to eliminate undemocratic student committees

Sunday, September 20, 2020

To the Editor: 

In his Sept. 16 op-ed, Jason Carroll ’21 makes a strong and reasonable case for student selection of student representation on advisory committees at the University. I have attended other universities and taught at other universities that have nowhere near the sense of community that Brown had when I was there — and still has, if the atmosphere I detect during my visits every five years is any indicator. This sense of community is at the heart of what I love about Brown. From the moment I started as a first-year student to this very day, I have felt like a full-fledged member of the Brown community. The Brown ring on my right hand is quiet testimony to that membership. Maintaining student selection of student advisers strengthens that sense of community and fits extremely well with the academic culture of choice (i.e. the Open Curriculum). And although that process, like other elements of democracy, can be messy, it does typically result, as Mr. Carroll indicates, in better decisions in the end.

In sum, I hope that President Paxson will lend her ear to Mr. Carroll’s request, reverse course on the “undemocratic committees” and continue to strengthen that priceless sense of community at Brown.

Ever True,

Dr. John Troidl ’76

John Troidl ’76 can be reached at Please send responses to this opinion to and op-eds to

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