Rally Against Racism and Bigotry and Homophobia

1989

1989 was named “one of the most racially-charged years in Brown’s history” as many racist incidents manifested throughout the year.

In January of 1989, Marc Rudolph, a black student and Douglas Hann, a white student, got into a fight at a fraternity party. A month later, Brown found Hann guilty of using racial slurs, so he was put on probation for a semester and ordered to attend a race relations workshop.

In March, 13 black students wore white clothes to an audition to protest the lack of opportunities for Third World actors in Brown theatre.

In April, posters promoting white supremacy were circulated around. “Keep white supremacy alive!!! Join the Brown chapter of the KKK today.” A couple of days later, president Gregorian promised to put the students involved on disciplinary action, and to establish a 24-hour hotline for students to call about campus crime. Gregorian took to the steps of University Hall during the Rally Against Racism and Bigotry and Homophobia to publicly announce that racism would not be tolerated at Brown. Later in the year, Gregorian also rewrote the definition of harassment in the Student Handbook, specifically stating that racial harassment of any kind would not be tolerated.

In November however, Kevin Webb a black student, was detained by the Providence Police while they were looking for a black man wearing a black coat, even though Webb was wearing a blue jean jacket. Further incidents of racial profiling against black students followed suit, both on Brown’s campus and in downtown Providence.