The 41 students organized a protest on December 11 to call for a divestment resolution in support of a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.

Matt Garza is an alumnus and activist of the Brown University Class of 2011. Aiyah Josiah-Faeduwor is an alumnus of the Class of 2013 and a sitting member of the Brown University Community Council.

We implore Brown University President Christina Paxson and Brown leadership to drop the criminal charges against Brown Divest Coalition 41.

We believe in the power of diverse communities coming together to engage in critical and compassionate discourse and practice, and hope to address the fundamental injustice embodied by Brown’s arrest and the pursuit of criminal charges against the BDC 41 – the 41 students, mostly Black and Indigenous students and students of color who organized a peaceful protest on campus on December 11, 2023, calling on President Paxson to submit a divestiture resolution to the company in support of a cease-and-desist fires between Israel and Hamas.

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We also call on our community to discourage Brown’s use of public resources to file a lawsuit against the peaceful campus protests of his own students.

Brown’s continued refusal to drop charges against the BDC contradicts and dismantles the open curriculum and sets a dangerous precedent for future organizing on campus, especially after the charges against the twenty Brown students in Jews for Ceasefire Now , which were involved in a peaceful conflict, was rejected. protest of a similar nature and in line with the mission of the BDC 4, on November 8, 2023.

At a recent faculty meeting, President Paxson reportedly claimed that if (Brown) were to drop the charges, they would have no tools to ensure students understand their responsibilities and the consequences. We are troubled that the leader of any school would feel that the criminal justice system is the best and only tool for educating, when there are such far more effective, evidence-based pedagogies and philosophical methods for education.

Brown’s decision to arrest the BDC endangers the culture of Brown’s pedagogy toward fear, oppression, and punitive criminalization of the critical perspective, which contradicts the accusation Brown made himself in his report of the Brown University Steering Committee on Slavery and Justice in 2006: Establishing “the importance within the Brown community of continued inner examination and continued accountability for the profound effects of racial slavery, including systemic racism and economic inequality.”

Does Brown want to prosecute his own students in the criminal justice system or teach them to be deeply creative thinkers, intellectual risk takers, and global problem solvers? Even if Brown’s leadership believes that BDC 41 did not effectively design and facilitate their protest, Brown, as an educational institution, has a responsibility to engage these students in reflection, feedback, dialogue, authentic listening, responsive action, and caring practice. . Create a syllabus with students, no criminal record.

More: From Cambodia to Financial Aid: A History of Protests at Brown University

If Brown does not honor its strong history of student organizing on campus and its institutional commitment to facilitating critically diverse learning spaces for its students, how can you expect students not to yell and scream and do whatever it takes to get your attention ?

Together we have the opportunity to demonstrate humility; to show the world a process in which institutions, people and communities can move tenderly through painful tensions, with skillful compassion and intellectual rigor. Let’s move forward together. Brown, we implore you: please drop the charges against these passionate students and take the time to facilitate meaningful dialogue that strives for a non-criminalizing solution.