brown university timeline
May 2, 1963
The Northern Student Movement conducts a fund drive in the Faunce post office, seeking buttons with “SNCC” on them, to support voter registration drives in the deep South.
December 12, 1963
James Farmer of the Congress of Racial Equality speaks to the Brown campus about civil rights.
April 16, 1964
Freedom Singers perform in Sayles Hall to raise money for the SNCC.
May 18, 1964
Brown-Tougaloo Cooperative Exchange initiated, funded in part by the Ford Foundation
Afro-American Society is founded; Alumni of Color Network founded.
September 16, 1968
The BDH asks if 1968 is “The Year of the Black?,” and discusses new courses and programs for Black students, which are intended to increase their voice on campus and meet the needs of students more generally
October 28, 1968
Andrew Young of the SCLC speaks to the campus, urging new tactics and new approaches to resolve “the race problem”
December 3, 1968
23 Pembroke students warn that they will walk out and “cease to be a part of Pembroke College.” This threat is the endpoint of prolonged and unsuccessful negotiations over the size of the black student population at Brown, among other issues
December 3, 1968
BDH opinion article claims that Pembroke women were “too quick to walk out” and didn’t think through their decision. On the next day, faculty fail to collect support for the more centrist “Project Equality,” and struggle publicly to understand the Pembroke students.
December 5, 1968
Statement of Black students published in BDH.
December 6, 1968
At 12 PM, 65 black students walked to the Congden St. Baptist Church and occupied it for the day. Students gathered to hear complaints about the president for failing to listen to student demands.
December 10, 1968
BDH letter to the editor, by the chaplain of university, speaks out in support of the walkout and says Brown, like all of American society, is racist.
The University first adds courses in Black history and Black literature, and then an interdepartmental interdisciplinary concentration in Afro-American Studies approved.
New Curriculum is approved.
September 29, 1969
One former Brown student and 7 others arrested in Panther support march in downtown Providence.
November 13, 1969
Coalition on Equal Opportunity demands increased opportunity for hiring of minority groups for University positions.
December 13, 1969
After the Coalition’s proposal, the Afro-American Society boycotts classes for two days before negotiating with the University. The Faculty Policy group subsequently recommends the hiring of 12-15 black professors for the 1970-71 academic year. The Advisory and Executive Committee also passes a statement on minority hiring.
Controversy over potential admission bias against black applicants at Pembroke.
Afro-American Studies approved as a stand-alone program, and officially housed in Churchill House.
Sankore Society created for Black faculty and administrators.
Third World students protest in support of the demands of 1968.
March 9, 1972
First BDH article published on Rites and Reasons.
Minority Peer Counselor program established.
March 22, 1973
Letter to the editor about racism in the BDH and their refusal to acknowledge the Rites and Reason theatre.
Article by Matthew Wald ‘76 describing subtle and not-so-subtle segregation on campus.
Confronting budget cuts, and insisting that the demands of the 1968 protests should be met, a Third World Coalition takes over University Hall and issues new demands.
April 6, 1976
BDH reports that the university’s Affirmative Action plans have stalled, and cites a fear of minority influx as the reason.
Third World Center established in basement of Churchill House.
CIA Director William Casey’s speech is disrupted by a reading of “Jabberwocky.” The so-called “Jabberwocky 13” is brought to the University Council of Student Affairs, and given minimal discipline.
A minor fracas in the BDH about whether the desire for black students to sit at black tables at the Ratty counts as seperatism.
April 3, 1985
President Swearer releases a statement, indicating that racial progress has been elusive.
April 17, 1985
Amidst rising tensions on campus, students occupy the John Carter Brown library and a sit in at the Faculty Club. Later 1985 will be renowned for protests in suport of minority faculty hiring, against apartide, and against CIA and defense contractor recruitment.
April 24, 1985
The BDH commemorates the 10 year anniversary of the ’75 takeover of University Hall.
September 6, 1985
White students proclaim the Third World Transition Program to be “separatist.”
September 16, 1985
A defense of the TWTP is issued in the BDH.
October 29, 1985
A coalition of faculty, moved by the protests, creates a new class on American racism and democracy. American Civilization concentrators are required to take the class.
October 30, 1985
The BDH summarizes the state of things, after the “stormy spring” of ’85.
November 4, 1985
The visiting committee appointed by President Howard Swearer to investigate the conditions of racial harmony and minority life on campus concludes its visit.
TWC moves to Partridge Hall.
February 13, 1986
Shantytown is created on the College Green by the Brown Free South African Coalition, and 3 graves are dug on the green to "call attention to the quiet suffering of the South African people." 4 students take up a hunger strike in Manning Chapel, and are disenrolled by the University.
April 22, 1986
Students arrested at the Rhode Island state house for protesting the escalation of US military involvement in Central America.
Visiting Committee on Minority Life issues a report with 17 recommendations to “institutionalize racial harmony,” including a required class on diversity, special student support for the TWC and for Latino Students.
October 23, 1986
Asian American students protest the differential treatment of Asian students in the admissions process, promoting President Swearer to direct the Office of Admissions to draft a new and consistent policy
Students urging divestment in South Africa disrupt a Corporation meeting.
Protests lead to the establishment of Ethnic Studies and the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity.
Rumors of the Ku Klux Klan’s presence on campus circulate. There are also major concerns related to police harassment of black students, and violence on and near campus. A look back in 2004 by the BDH describes it as one of the “most racially charged years in Brown’s history.”
TWC Third World report, “Redefining the Concept of Community: A Framework for Pluralism in the 1990’s.”
Second occupation of University Hall, this time by a group named Students for Admissions and Minority Aid, in support of need-blind admissions. Over 250 students are arrested during the event.
Harambe House created.
Ethnic Studies concentration is approved.
Affinity groups for alumni of color are created.
The Student GISP on "Third World Activism and Institutional Change" is approved.
African American Studies is departmentalized and renamed Africana Studies.
BDH Publishes advertisement against reparations by conservative activist David Horowitz. Students destroy the paper run.
Interim President Shelia Blumstein releases "Reflections on a Shared Vision for Diversity and Community"
July 1, 2001
Brown's first African American present (who is also a women!) is appointed (Ruth J. Simmons) and she becomes the first black president of an Ivy League.
Article by the Brown ACLU condemning student action destroying the paper.
Brown brings need-blind admission.
Steering committee on Slavery and Justice established, including faculty, staff, and students.
September 13, 2006
Campus march against police brutality, with chants of 'Brown is brown,' after a black undergraduate student in computer science is racially profiled and arrested.
The report of the Committee on slavery and Justice is released.
Diversity action plan released under president Simons, set diversity goals with the help of the newly established Office of Institutional Diversity, and instructs the provost to begin need-blind admission.
University releases the its official response to the Slavery and Justice report.
March 30, 2007
The TWC celebrates its 30th year.
September 8, 2008
The TWTP continues to be defined as "separatist," prompting this reply by two participants and leaders.
March 18, 2011
The University releases a "follow up" document on the slavery and justice report, to show what has been done since 2006.
October 5, 2011
The Occupation of College Hill
Brown Daily Herald proclaims that the Slavery and Justice report has been forgotten, or that it is "dead"
The center for the study of Slavery and Justice opens in Alumnae Hall.
October 27 2013
President Paxson issues her report on the University's possible divestment from coal.
Brown Daily Herald:
Brown Alumni Magazine:
October 27, 2013
Activism group created stemming from students feeling their concerns on campus where not being taken into consideration after the universities decision with coal divestments. They choose to tackle speaker Raymond Kelly's visit to campus next, calling for the lectures cancelation.
October 28, 2013
In preparation for the planned protest at Ray Kelly's lecture, activists hold a vigil. The community begins to disagree how the protesters should voice their concerns.
October 29, 2013
Ray Kelly Lecture Canceled after student protest. President Paxton issued a letter to the campus community in response.
October 30, 2013
Faculty and students gather to discuss the incidents of the Ray Kelly protests. Most people agree with the student's disapproval of Kelly's policies, but not with the protest itself.
October 30, 2013
Teach in discusses the racial implications of the "stop-and-frisk" policies.
With all the talks around campus, the Brown community becomes increasingly divided on the Kelly controversy.
November 6, 2013
USC debates if the name of the TWC is too political.
November 7, 2013
Committee is created to decided upon the university actions in response to the Ray Kelly protests. President Paxton's role comes up or debate.
November 21, 2013
Janus forum held to further discuss Brown's issues of free speech.
The center for the Study of Slavery and Justice from the Alumnae Hall to a new, stand alone building on Waterman street.
April 22, 2014
Brown is charged with mishandling a sexual assault case, and on the 22nd, students and faculty gather in solidarity to hear the results of the case.
May 20, 2014
Second report on Ray Kelly issued.
With the year anniversary of .Ray Kelly's scheduled talk in 2013, the protest back into conversation.
November 18, 2014
Forum sparks sexual assault debate, raising the question, again, of freedom of speech at brown.
November 25, 2014
After the supreme court's ruling on the Ferguson case, protesters spill on to I-95.
December 2, 2014
Brown students stage a "die-in" to protest the Ferguson grand jury decision.
The fraternity Phi Psi undergoes investigation their involvement in the drug and rape of two female Brown students. The investigation produces controversy in the Brown community.
March 5, 2015
A group of Brown students protest the Universities recent handling of sexual assault cases at the Women Leaders Panel.
March 11, 2015
400 Brown students silently march though the quiet green to protest against the Universities poor handling of sexual assault cases.
April 12, 2015
Brown students march for sexual assault awareness.
October 5, 2015
October 12, 2015
Brown students stage a "die-in" to demand greater resignation for native Americans.
November 12, 2015
in solidarity with Mizzou and Yale, and because of the rising hostilities on the Brown campus, activists hold a blackout in protest.
December 5, 2015
"Day of Reclamation" as students occupy parts of University Hall, publishing a list of Demands.
Final version of "Pathways to Inclusion"released.
February 1, 2016
Second faculty letter in the BDH.
February 2, 2016
Fall Weekend renamed Indigenous People's Day.
February 18, 2016
BDH article and COED write articles claiming how the large amount protests are causing Brown students to fail and drop out of classes.
March 16, 2016
Student protests cause guest speaker Janet Mock to cancel her talk at Brown.
March 17, 2016
Anti-Semitic , homophobic vandalism found in Marcy House.
March 8, 2016
Hummus options added after SJP protest.
April 7, 2016
Candidates for the Undergraduate Council of Students presidency brought the role and mandate of UCS into focus as they squared off on social justice activism, the Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan, mental health, sexual assault and other hot-button campus issues at the debate.
April 21, 2016
Brown university students protest graduate students use of cultural approtpriation in their "Hindu performance."
April 30, 2016
BDH publishes an article about how years of activism shaped the Paxton administration.
July 12, 2016
Graduate student makes documentary explores what he calls Brown's 'censorship culture.'
November 14, 2016
Brown students tear up the American flag on Veterans Day causing counter protests.
November 16, 2016
Over 400 Brown students protest on the quite green in light of the 2016 election results.
November 16, 2016
Brown students walk out of their classes in further protest.
BDH Brown Bites publishes a review of the activism throughout the year.
Brown students circulate a petition to protest the honorary degree to be awarded at that years commencement to Pepsi Co CEO, and Trump supporter, Indra Nooyi.
February 14, 2018
Brown students write a response to the circulation of anti-black pamphlets.
May 4, 2018
A student creates the SPEAK program to diversify speakers at Brown, but the Ray Kelly incident is not forgotten, reflected in the university's protest and demonstration policy.