ACLU of Rhode Island and the Brown University Chapter of the ACLU commended Brown University President Christina Paxson’s response to the reports on the incident surrounding former New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly’s planned lecture on the Brown Campus last year.

ACLU of Rhode Island executive director Steven Brown issued the following statement: “The ACLU commends President Paxson’s clear and thoughtful response to the civil liberties and civil rights issues raised by last year’s incident. We cannot do better than echo her succinct observation that ‘we do not need to choose between supporting freedom of expression or racial equality. Protecting freedom of expression and furthering human rights are mutually reinforcing.’

“University campuses must be a haven for the expression of unpopular viewpoints if they are to fulfill their basic mission.  As President Paxson noted: ‘If we do not protect the expression of all ideas, valuable ones may not be heard.’ By protecting freedom of expression, seeking to promote diversity of viewpoints, and promoting a more diverse faculty and student body, Brown University will be upholding the best traditions of academic freedom and inclusion.”