Kelly Visit

January 7th, 2014

The following is a sampling of the letters the BAM received about the protest that greeted the recent campus visit by now former New York City police commissioner Ray Kelly. Our report on the incident can be found on page 13.

The recent national publicity that Brown received responding to the recent Ray Kelly issue made me sadly ashamed of my alma mater. When I was an undergraduate in the late 1940s and early 1950s, students behaved in a civil manner no matter how controversial the topic was. Hoodlumism should not exist in these hallowed walls.

Daniel M. Garr ’52
Vero Beach, Fla.


Congratulations on your articulate and thoughtful Nov. 4 commentary regarding “Intolerance at Brown.” As a member of the Brown class of ’58 I am outraged at the extreme intolerance of these students. Brown must be a place of rigorous intellectual inquiry. Brown cannot be a setting for barbaric, Hitler-like behavior where someone disagreed with is silenced before they speak. Hearing Ray Kelly should have led to a free exchange of ideas on big city policing procedures in the post 9/11 world and a lively discussion of the ramifications of such measures.
Kudos to President Paxson for her attempt to restore order in the face of such uncivilized and unacceptable behavior by Brown students. I hope that she will take action, as in expulsion, should this disgraceful performance be repeated in the future. Do the parents whose hard earned money pays these students’ tuition see their funds poorly invested?

Charles P. Paley ’58
Greenville, R.I.


Brown students were wrong for violating the free speech principles of the First Amendment by preventing NYPD Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly from speaking. And given Mr. Kelly’s demonstrated contempt for the probable cause and equal protection requirements of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments, Brown was wrong to invite him to the campus.                           

Mike Fahey ’67
New York City


I just saw TV footage of Brown students booing Ray Kelly off the stage. There is quite a contrast between the free-spirited atmosphere of Brown’s nudity week and the mean-spirited suppression of Kelly’s free speech, but together they suggest an institution whose values are upside down. Each time these events are publicized, my friends and family enjoy a good laugh at my expense, wondering why I actually attended this ridiculous institution. That is especially so when the most vocal students come across as illogical, inarticulate, and irrational. I wish Brown would pull itself out of this free fall. It is embarrassing. 

Jeffrey Shapiro ’83
McLean, Va.

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Related Issue
January/February 2014