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Letter: Brown’s gift policy is rooted in ethics

To the Editor:

A recent guest column in The Herald, while well intentioned, incorrectly implied that Brown does not have a gift acceptance policy that is ethical. We want to assure the Brown community that the University does.

The Communications, Alumni and External Affairs Committee of the Corporation of Brown University has primary responsibility on behalf of the Corporation for oversight of the University’s fundraising policies. The Corporation exercises judgment in assessing whether or not a gift is aligned with Brown’s core mission of education and research, as well as University values.

Although we periodically review our policies, the following principles remain consistent: Brown does not accept gifts if it’s evident the proceeds were obtained illicitly, and only accepts gifts that are aligned with Brown priorities and do not carry strings dictating educational or research decisions.

And as President Christina Paxson P’19 wrote in an op-ed in The Herald earlier this year, “We start from a place of respect for the legitimate business activities, political views and behaviors of donors, even if some members of our community disagree with them.” Our gift policy is ethical and supports the mission and values of the institution, including the freedom to disagree.

Brickson Diamond ’93, trustee

Bernadette Aulestia ’94, trustee

Chair and vice-chair, Communications, Alumni and External Affairs Committee, Corporation of Brown University


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