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Faculty postpone vote on establishing PPE Center again

Corporation updates, Task Force on Child Care also discussed at March faculty meeting

<p>The meeting also featured a report from President Christina Paxson P’19, and a moment of silence for the passing of two faculty members: Andrew Holowinsky and John Coleman.</p>

The meeting also featured a report from President Christina Paxson P’19, and a moment of silence for the passing of two faculty members: Andrew Holowinsky and John Coleman.

Members of the University's faculty and administration opted to delay a vote on establishing a proposed Center for Philosophy, Politics and Economics at the March 1 faculty meeting. The vote will instead be held at the May 3 faculty meeting.

The vote on establishing the proposed center has already been delayed, after previously being scheduled for the February faculty meeting, The Herald previously reported.

Govind Menon PhD’01, professor of applied mathematics, opened the meeting on behalf of the Faculty Executive Committee and outlined the committee’s proposed timeline for future consideration of the establishment of the PPE Center on campus.

Faculty members have expressed concern with voting on the establishment of the center before the Advisory Committee on University Resources Management decides on a proposal altering the University’s gift policy, The Herald previously reported. The proposal was submitted by Scholars at Brown for Climate Action and aims for the University to “avoid business with groups … that support climate disinformation and support obstruction,” J. Timmons Roberts, professor of environmental and society and sociology, said at the February faculty meeting.


The Office of the President has received ACURM’s report, which will be posted with a feedback form on ACURM’s website today, Menon said. This posting will be open for public comment until March 15. Paxson will also issue a communication about ACURM’s recommendation through Today@Brown, Menon added.

The FEC will hold a Faculty Commons to facilitate discussion of the ACURM recommendations March 18 at noon. There will be space for further discussion of the recommendations and PPE proposal at the April 5 faculty meeting, Menon said.

Roberts encouraged all faculty members to “carefully look” at ACURM’s report at yesterday’s meeting.

“Brown could become a leader in this area by leading an effort to create a clearing house or protocol … to screen donors and business partners,” Roberts added. “Large nonprofits and universities will be very interested in this. We could make a huge difference on a number of issues that are really fundamental to our values.”

Menon advised the faculty to “preserve the spirit of robust debate and due process that lie at the foundation of our governance system” as considerations continue.

The meeting also featured the President’s Report, in which Paxson announced that Mukesh Jain’s tenure as the dean of medicine and biological sciences began March 1. Tejal Desai PhD’94 will begin her tenure as dean of engineering starting Sept. 1. Paxson added that the University's internal search for a new dean of faculty is coming to a close.

The President’s Report also summarized the February Corporation meeting, where the Corporation approved a 2.85% undergraduate tuition increase, a salary pool for faculty and staff of 4.25% and an employee appreciation bonus, The Herald previously reported.

The Corporation also accepted gifts of about $140 million, including a $10 million gift to directly support the Brown-Tougaloo Partnership. Five million dollars of the gift will be held in the Tougaloo College endowment to support scholarships of present Tougaloo students, while the other half will support Tougaloo students when they come to Brown as special students, graduate students and medical students, according to Paxson.

Paxson also addressed the University's new financial projects, including expansions of the University's research activity, academic innovations that build on the Open Curriculum, building the residential experience, reimagining the CareerLAB and consolidating financial gains.

Speaking on the recent decision to extend the BrownTogether Campaign goal by $1 billion, Paxson highlighted shifts in the aims of the campaign, including a new focus on providing additional financial aid to veterans and international students.


Paxson also commented on the Federal Trade Commission and Rhode Island Attorney General’s recent rejection of the proposed merger between Lifespan and Care New England, and the two health systems’ decision to withdraw their merger application.

“We want this to be a region where everybody can access really great medical care … Between the med school and the School of Public Health, we have the opportunity to really make that happen,” Paxson said. “We’re going to continue that work.”

Menon spoke further on the formation of a joint Task Force on Child Care organized by the FEC and the Office of the Provost. The task force is charged with assessing pre-K child care for faculty, staff and graduate students, according to Menon.

The task force will be co-chaired by Dave Sobel, professor of cognitive, linguistic and psychological sciences, Lisa Di Carlo MA’97 PhD’01, lecturer in sociology, and Elizabeth Doherty, deputy provost for academic affairs. The group is expected to submit an initial report to the FEC and the Office of the Provost by the end of spring 2022.

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The meeting also featured moments of silence for the passing of John Coleman, professor emeritus of biology, and Andrew Holowinsky, associate professor emeritus of molecular biology, cell biology and biochemistry.

Alex Nadirashvili

Alex Nadirashvili is the managing editor of multimedia and social media for The Brown Daily Herald's 133rd Editorial Board. As a former University News editor, he covered faculty, higher education and student life, though his proudest legacy is The Brown Daily Herald TikTok account.


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