We previously have reported on the shout down of NYC Police Commissioner Ray Kelly at Brown University on Tuesday, causing cancellation of his lecture:
- The angry face of the Brown U. shout down
- Author at The Nation: Ray Kelly being shouted down “was glorious”
- Brown U. student called “White Supremacist” for wanting to hear Ray Kelly speak
- Brown U. students shout down Ray Kelly
A public forum was held at Brown last night to discuss the controversy generated by preventing Kelly from speaking. The forum was reported live by multiple campus student publications.
One of the early speakers was Marion Orr, Professor of Political Science, Public Policy and Urban Studies. Orr also is Director of the A. Alfred Taubman Center for Public Policy and American Institutions, which invited Kelly.
Orr apologized “especially to my black students and Latino brothers and sisters” for the “hurt” he caused by inviting Kelly, and indicated he did not expect such a reaction.
Orr also requested a list of people he should not invite in the future. I spoke with Orr, who said that he meant that request for a list as “tongue in cheek” and that everyone in the room understood that he did not really want such a list. Orr said that he was trying to make a point along the lines of “do you really want to have a list?” Orr did not dispute the substance of the quotes attributed to him regarding the list, but disputed what he meant by the request.
The Brown Daily Herald reported, Hundreds assemble to confront Kelly controversy (emphasis added):
Marion Orr, director of the Taubman Center, which sponsored Kelly’s lecture, expressed regret for the controversy.
“I sincerely apologize to my students,” Orr said. “Especially to my black students and Latino brothers and sisters — it wasn’t my intention to hurt you, and it hurts me to hear that my decision caused so much pain.”
Orr asked the students to submit a list of speakers whom they would not approve of coming to campus, adding that he never expected the intense reaction to Kelly’s event.
The Daily Herald also had a live blog, and reported the exchange as follows (author name, time and graphics removed for ease of reading, but available at the link):
Marion Orr, director of the Taubman Center, takes the mic.
He’s been here at Brown for 14-15 years… taught at Duke before he came here.
“i feel bad in a real, fundamental way. It hurt me that the invitation I sent to Kelly hurt so many people.”
“I’m a human being,” and it hurt him to see so many people distraught.
“Let me just say, I don’t support stop-and-frisk. Here’s what I thought … I really thought that you all, my Brown students, would challenge him in a fundamental kind of way.”
“I wanted to hear what Ray Kelly had to say about his policy, and let me just say I don’t support stop and frisk. But… I really thought that you all… would challenge him in a fundamental kind of way” by david_oyer 9:54 PM yesterday
“As long as I’m the Taubman director, I’m going to think twice about who I’m going to invite now. It would be very helpful for me if you give me the list of people who you don’t want me to invite to Brown. OK? I didn’t think Ray Kelly would be on that list, I’ll be very honest with you.”
Apologizes especially to his “black brothers and sisters and latino brothers and sisters” who were hurt by Ray Kelly’s arrival on campus.
There also was a Live Blog at Brown Political Review (emphasis added):
Marion Orr, Director of the Taubman Center, takes the mic.
Marion Orr: “I’m the director of the Taubman Center and I’ve been teaching here at Brown for 15 years now. I’ve never seen anything like yesterday before. I didn’t know what the hell to do!”
Orr is offering something of an apology for yesterday’s events.
Orr: “I feel bad in a real fundamental way. It hurts me to have the invitation that I sent to Mr. Kelly hurt so many people. In my heart, it hurts me to know that that invitation hurt so many people in this campus and I never forget it. That wasn’t my intention. It really hurts me. I’m a human being and it hurts me when I saw people distraught.”
Orr explains his intentions: “I want to associate my comments with Dr. Ross Cheit. I wanted to see what Ray Kelly had to say about his policy and let me just say, I don’t support stop-and-frisk. Here’s what I thought: I thought that you all, my Brown students, would challenge him in a fundamental kind of way. I don’t think he could’ve withstood it if you guys had challenged him in that kind of way. There’s no way he could have stood up to it. That’s what I wanted you all to do.”
Orr to students: “It’ll be very helpful for me if you give me the list. Give me the list of people who you don’t want me to invite to Brown. Give me the list. I didn’t think Ray Kelly was on the list.”
The Political Review live blog further reports that Political Science Professor John Tomasi, who runs the Janus Forum which invites controversial speakers to debates on campus, took the mic shortly thereafter and stated that he wanted the list of banned speakers so that Janus could invite them:
Prof. John Tomasi takes the mic, the head of the Political Theory Project.
Tomasi: “Marion Orr said that if there’s a list, then he wants the list. I also want the list. But I want the list because I want to share with my students, especially in the Janus Forum, so we can think together: how can we create environments in which even these people can be brought to campus in a way that’s instructive for all of us?”
Tomasi: “Not to celebrate them, not to even say whether I think this protest was right or wrong, but to bring the community forward, to a new kind of place, where we can sincerely celebrate bringing in the most controversail speakers. There’s been a lot of talk about bravery.”
A call and email to Prof. Tomasi have not been returned yet.
But I was able to speak to a student who was present, when Orr spoke.
The student indicated that when Orr first made the comment about requesting a list of who not to invite, the student became “a little worried” about whether Orr was serious or not. The crowd, the student stated, applauded: “Everyone in the audience clapped and cheered and was really happy” when Orr mentioned the list. The student stated that while he first assumed it was sarcastic, when the crowed reacted Orr “didn’t give any indication he was joking.” The student said he “wanted affirmation that it was a joke, but I didn’t get it.”
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