Brown Students Take Over U. Hall, Call for Payment of Fair Share

Earlier today, students from Brown University held a rally and delivered over 600 signatures to University administrators in an effort to show student, faculty, and staff support for greater financial contributions and a deeper commitment to the city of Providence.

The students took over Brown’s University Hall for a short period of time, filling the building with the chant, “Brown needs to pay its fair share!” The petition, which in just two weeks gathered signatures from over 10% of the student population, called on the University to “contribute an amount no less than that which was originally agreed to by President Simmons and the Mayor,” about $4 million more per year.

Moreover, students urged the University to “open a space for dialogue to reexamine, restructure, and rebuild the relationship between Brown and Providence.”  The petition delivery follows the resumption of negotiations between Simmons and Taveras and also comes on the heels of an agreement by Johnson and Wales University to triple and possibly quadruple their contributions to Providence.

“Based on conversations with my fellow students in the past two weeks, it is clear that the Brown student body wants the University to step up and provide greater support for the city.  From their experiences as volunteers in the city, many students recognize that children, public employees, and others have already sacrificed tremendously in the last few years.  Now, they want to Brown to do their part,” said Benjamin Wofford ‘14.5.

During the rally, Rebecca Rast ‘13.5 reminded her fellow students that many in the community echo these sentiments and support a broad-based conversation about the larger relationship between Brown and Providence.  “It’s time that we talk not just among ourselves but with those who live and work in Providence about ways that the city and the University can support one another.  After all, the well-being of the city and Brown are closely linked.  We have a responsibility and an opportunity as students to make sure that our entire community at Brown recognizes this.”

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Aaron Regunberg is a community organizer in Providence and a state representative in House District 4.

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