Brown University is creating a committee to review how a talk by New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly was canceled last week after a noisy protest. Kelly’s critics object to his department’s controversial stop and frisk policy.
Kelly was repeatedly interrupted by students and outside activists when he tried speaking during an October 29 appearance at Brown. The university responded by cancelling the talk and clearing the room where the event was taking place.
In a letter to the Brown community, university president Christina Paxson says she empathizes with both Kelly’s critics and those who wanted to hear his comments. Paxson says Brown must support the free exchange of ideas, even for views that are “controversial of deeply unsettling.”
Paxson says she plans to appoint a committee of faculty and students to review the disruption of Kelly’s appearance. She says the goal is maintaining a supportive environment for students while upholding a tolerant environment for different ideas.