THE BLOG

Brown Out

Apr 29, 2014 | Updated Jun 29, 2014

I received an email this afternoon from Christina Paxson, the President of Brown University explaining that she would not comment about why Brown allowed a rapist to return to college after being found guilty of sexually assaulting a female student.
President Paxson wrote:

We are limited by law in what we are permitted to say about the circumstances of any specific case.

President Paxson, please tell me what law is this you are hiding behind? What law prohibits a university from commenting on a specific case?

Such a law would violate the Constitution of the United States and the State of Rhode Island.

Obviously there is no law in the United States that prevents universities from commenting on anything, and everything.

The Constitution protects Ms. Paxson so she can comment publicly on any controversy. There are many reasons Brown University may want to hide their actions, decision-making, views and policies. But our laws do not prevent them from doing so.

Please, Ms. Paxson don't tell us there is a law that prevents you from addressing this issue specifically.

You cannot protect your students until you show the courage of opening your own policies to public scrutiny. Don't hide behind a "law" that you have invented.

--Maxwell Kennedy