In keeping with Brown’s commitment to academic freedom and a spirit of free inquiry, all members of the Brown University campus community are free to advance and debate ideas, hold forums for discussion, and invite speakers of their choice to campus. These rights extend equally to all members of the campus community. This policy outlines the required protocol for events that have the potential for disruption (and therefore the potential for infringement on Brown’s commitment to academic freedom and free inquiry and/or threats to personal safety). It simultaneously guarantees the right of individuals and/or groups to dissent and even demonstrate in opposition in ways that treat others with respect and do not inhibit the expression or rights of others. The goal of the policy is to ensure that all voices can be heard.
The University reserves the right to institute its Event Disruption Protocol when matters of personal safety and/or commitment to preserving the rights of academic freedom or freedom of expression require administrative support. In these instances, factors relating to the time, place and manner of an event may be determined by an advisory group that weighs considerations regarding safety of members of the community, invited guests and visitors to campus.
The protocol reflects that protest is a necessary and acceptable means of expression within the Brown community. However, protest becomes unacceptable when it obstructs the basic exchange of ideas. Such obstruction is a form of censorship, no matter who initiates it or for what reasons. Protests or demonstrations that infringe upon the rights of others to peaceful assembly, orderly protest, freely exchange ideas, or that interfere with the rights of others to make use of or enjoy the facilities or attend the functions of the University cannot be tolerated and are a violation of the Brown Protest and Demonstration Policy and the Brown University Code of Conduct.
Concerns about potential disruption of an event by either event organizers/owners and or Brown’s event risk management group will prompt the following protocol steps:
- Meet to discuss event goals and hoped for outcomes between the event sponsor and representatives of the following offices: University Events, Office of the Vice President for Campus Life, Department of Public Safety, University Communications and other appropriate staff.
- Outreach to members of the community who have expressed concern about the planned event (contact by DPS, Campus Live, Events, or the appropriate office)
- Create opportunities for dialogue between event sponsor and individuals and/or groups with different perspectives or concerns
- Develop logistical steps to be taken before, during and after the event related to time, place and manner
- Continue to review community discourse and identify opportunities for dialogue
- Hold follow-up planning meeting(s) as needed