Brown University condemns anti-Semitic incident on campus

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Brown University is condemning hate speech after two people were seen making an anti-Semitic sign on the Ivy League campus.

The Providence Journal reports that Brown issued a notice saying two people had been seen making a “vulgar and highly offensive anti-Semitic sign” while filming a video of themselves Tuesday.

School officials say the people were not affiliated with Brown and that a school safety officer asked them to leave the private campus and move to public property.

Shontay Delalue, the university’s vice president for institutional equity and diversity, says the school supports free speech but doesn’t tolerate behavior that creates a hostile environment.

She said Brown can’t control hate speech in public areas, but the school will offer resources and support to those affected by it on campus.

Here’s the text of the notice Delalue sent to the Brown community.

Dear Members of the Brown Community,
 
I am writing to report a disturbing bias incident that occurred at Brown earlier this week. On July 31, two individuals who are not associated with Brown were seen making a video of themselves on and around campus, displaying a vulgar and highly offensive anti-Semitic sign, and attempting to engage members of our community in discussion. 
 
At Brown, while we welcome free expression, behavior that creates a hostile environment on campus is not tolerated. This includes expressions of hatred based on race, religion, gender, sexual orientation and any other protected classes. I and other members of Brown’s senior leadership — including the offices of the President, Provost and Campus Life — have been in close discussion to learn as much information as possible about this incident. We are saddened that some Brown community members and campus visitors had to witness such abhorrent behavior.    
 
While Brown’s campus is private property, it does abut public streets, and one of Brown’s Public Safety officers instructed the individuals that their activities had to move to public property. The unfortunate reality is that hate speech activities that occur on the public city sidewalks and streets that intersect campus are beyond Brown’s control, but we will continue to offer resources and support to members of our campus community who are directly impacted as a result of hate speech.
 
Addressing incidents like this must continue to be a community-wide effort. If you observe a bias incident on campus or in neighboring areas surrounding Brown, please report it immediately to the Department of Public Safety at 401-863-3322 and/or to the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity at 
oied-intake@brown.edu. This could include verbal harassment, or demeaning or threatening flyers, posters and graffiti. Even if we cannot stop the behavior, we can alert Brown employees and students, the Providence police, and relevant community groups when it’s appropriate to do so. 
 
In Spring 2019, my office will roll out a new on-line bias incident reporting system that we have been developing in coordination with the Undergraduate Council of Students. This will make it easier for Brown students and employees to report incidents, and for Brown to monitor trends and patterns. You’ll receive more information about the system when it’s ready to launch. 
 
Although incidents like these are very disheartening, I take comfort in knowing that the Brown community stands united against prejudice and bigotry. 
 
 
Shontay Delalue
Vice President for Institutional Equity and Diversity 

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