PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — This afternoon, officials at Brown University closed a lecture by New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly and cleared the auditorium.
That decision came after nearly 30 minutes of disruption by activist students and members of the local community. Loud shouting, persistent interruption, and coordinated chants made it impossible for the lecture to take place.
Disruptive members of the audience disregarded requests from deans, faculty, and University officials for the program to proceed in a civil and respectful manner, allowing time for remarks followed by questions and discussion.
“The actions that led to the closing of this afternoon’s lecture prevented any exchange of ideas and deprived the campus and the Providence community of an opportunity to hear and discuss important social issues,” said Brown University President Christina H. Paxson. “The conduct of disruptive members of the audience is indefensible and an affront both to civil democratic society and to the University’s core values of dialog and the free exchange of views.” (See also President Paxon’s letter to the campus community.)
Kelly was to have delivered the Taubman Center for Public Policy’s annual Noah Krieger ’93 Memorial Lecture titled, “Proactive Policing in America’s Biggest City.” It was to have followed a standard lecture format with nearly an hour set aside for direct audience questions. As with nearly all public lectures at Brown, the event was free and open to the public.