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Paxson speaks on national admissions scandal

University Community Council discusses application fraud, sustainability, new sports, arts facilities

President Christina Paxson P ’19 assured community members that the University was not involved in the national college admissions scandal during yesterday’s Brown University Community Council Meeting. The BUCC also discussed the University’s plans for new facilities and increased sustainability efforts on campus and beyond.

As reported on March 12, numerous college staffers and parents of students across the country were indicted for conspiracy to commit racketeering. The allegations include bribery, mail fraud, wire fraud and fabrication of student records to increase students’ chances at admission. “None of the indicted families are parents of Brown students, … (and) none of the indicted coaches have worked at Brown,” Paxson said.

Since the scandal broke, the University has conducted a “case-by-case review” of every varsity athlete, Paxson said. The University is now “satisfied” that no current varsity student athletes were “pretending to be … athlete(s)” in their applications in order to increase their chances of admission, she added.

Paxson stressed the University’s commitment to both “the integrity of our admissions process … (and) educating students from the widest range of socioeconomic backgrounds.”

The University’s Admission Office “has a very productive collaboration with the athletics department,” Paxson said. “The applications of student athletes are really reviewed,” and the admissions process has “checks and balances” to ensure that each application is properly scrutinized.

Still, Paxson emphasized the need to discuss the scandal and to remain vigilant for similar, undiscovered instances of bribery and fraud in which the University could be implicated.

“It’s possible that there are many more students out there whose parents have paid to have their SAT or ACT scores doctored that we don’t know about yet,” Paxson said. “Maybe it was just blind luck” that the University was not involved in the scandal, she added.

After Paxson spoke, Vice President for Facilities Management Michael Guglielmo presented the University’s design for a new facility for lacrosse and soccer.

The goal of this new project is to “enhance team and game-day experiences,” Guglielmo said. While the facility’s design is still in a “very conceptual” stage, the University is scheduled to break ground on construction in May, with an anticipated opening for games in February 2020, he added.

The three-story facility will be able to seat around 3000 people and is expected to include wheelchair accessibility for both the building and the bleachers, Guglielmo said. The facility will utilize indoor plumbing as opposed to the outdoor portable toilets, which are currently used during Brown’s soccer and lacrosse sporting events, he added.

Guglielmo also discussed the University’s plans for a new Performing Arts Center, which will be a transformative space designed to accommodate a variety of performances and events.

During the meeting, Associate Provost for Academic Space Leah VanWey presented the University’s newly approved sustainability initiative to the BUCC. The initiative is dedicated to achieving a 75 percent reduction in on-campus greenhouse gas emissions by 2025 and net-zero on-campus emissions by 2040, The Herald previously reported.

The plan is “making a difference in the world and making a difference at Brown,” VanWey said.


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