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Letters: Kelly was not silenced

Thanks to Associate Professor of History Naoko Shibusawa P’14 for conveying her support and admiration for those who protested against New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly last Tuesday. I join her in standing in solidarity with these students and members of the Providence community. We live in a conflicted, unequal society and are at times presented with situations that can’t be adequately confronted within the customs of polite, institutionally structured debate alone. As Shibusawa says, there is a long, honorable history of disruptive protest that is part of the tradition of political democracy.

Professor of Biology Ken Miller’s ’70 P’02 claim that last Tuesday’s protest represents “a step . . . towards mob rule” strikes me as alarmist and one-sided. Kelly has not been silenced: His advocacy for a policy of intimidating racial profiling is widely known and currently being debated in the federal courts. For people who are being threatened and violated by stop-and-frisk, the time has come to combine serious debate with serious action.


William Keach

Professor of English



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