Perhaps someone on Brown’s honorary degree committee has a keen sense of ironic humor. Though I suspect most would not find much to laugh about.

During commencement ceremonies this weekend, Cecile Richards (Brown ‘80), president of Planned Parenthood, is to receive an honorary degree: Doctor of Humane Letters.

It is one thing to consider abortion an acceptable (though unfortunate, i.e. “safe, legal, and rare”) medical service; quite another to consider its provision an act of the highest human morality. Among the other recipients of this award in 2010 is Nelson Mandela — a man whose great accomplishments are now placed at moral equivalency with those of Mrs. Richards.

Why is Planned Parenthood controversial, even among many who accept abortion in principle? After all, the organization does a great deal of health counseling and other genuinely helpful work. The answer lies in its history: Planned Parenthood was founded by eugenicists for the express purpose of limiting the growth of “undesirable” minority populations. (Cf: Sanger, Margaret.) Indeed, while more subtle in modern times, over 40% of abortions today are performed on black women — an over-representation of nearly 400%. The organization serves primarily in poorer communities, heavily biasing the demographics of the clientèle served. And, while clearly an exceptional case (though not out of line with the above), a recent sting operation found a number of Planned Parenthood clinics eagerly willing to accept donations earmarked specifically for abortion procedures for black mothers. (Not to mention illegally covering up cases of statutory rape.) So extreme is Planned Parenthood in its advocacy of abortion that it opposed legislation in Illinois designed to protect babies “born alive” following botched abortion procedures, and has admitted to a policy of “negligent homicide” in these cases elsewhere.

But the situation regarding Cecile Richards is actually more complex. Mrs. Richards is not simply the president of Planned Parenthood. She has in fact been championing the most extreme causes on her side of the spectrum for her entire career. She she spent the 1990’s attacking religious groups in Texas (some admittedly deserving of criticism, though many far from it), and serving as a labor activist for the most forceful and politicized labor unions, such as the SEIU (of which her husband is a high ranking director). In 2004, she presided over the “Get Out the Vote” efforts of ACORN,, and an assortment of large labor unions, under the auspices of her umbrella organization “America Votes.” And she was deputy chief of staff to (of course) Nancy Pelosi.

My point in saying all of this is simply that one would be hard-pressed to find a more intensely partisan individual than Mrs. Richards, or a more controversial organization than Planned Parenthood. Brown has given its highest endorsement to the left-wing equivalent of Jerry Falwell or Pat Robertson. Declaring America’s foremost abortionist to be a “doctor of humane letters” is a political statement of unprecedented magnitude, even for Brown.

Regardless of how one feels about abortion per se, therefore, I believe that it is in the interests of the entire alumni community to oppose the conferring of this award: at the very least, this action is likely to ostracize a significant number of graduates. Personal belief is one thing; institutional advocacy quite another.


We are pleased to announce that we are bringing Dinesh D’Souza to speak at Brown on April 26. Below is our press release with more information.


Contact: Stephen Beale                                                                  

Noted Conservative Commentator Dinesh D’Souza to Speak at Brown U. April 26

PROVIDENCE, RI – Noted author Dinesh D’Souza will be speaking at Brown University April 26 in an event sponsored by the Foundation for Intellectual Diversity and the Brown College Republicans.

The speech, entitled ‘Is God the Problem’ will be delivered 8 p.m. April 26 at MacMillan Hall Room 117 on the Brown University campus. The event is free and open to the public.

Many people, notably atheists, allege that belief in God is not merely unscientific and irrational but also dangerous. They argue that religion is the cause of many of the evils in the world, from the Crusades and the Inquisition to 9/11 and the current unrest in the Middle East.  In his talk, D’Souza will challenge this critique of religion and show that God, far from being the problem, is actually the main part of the solution. He will not just be making case for the utility of religion, but also an argument for the truth of religious belief.

“In the past year, we have consistently criticized Brown University for its lack of intellectual diversity,” said Stephen Beale, President of the Foundation for Intellectual Diversity. “Our purpose is not merely to criticize, but also to provide constructive alternatives to the dominance of left-wing ideology and pervasive political correctness on campus. We think this speech is the perfect example of an event that brings intellectual diversity to Brown.”

Student organizers said the event would debunk common misperceptions of religious belief and highlight the personal and societal benefits of faith in a Creator.

“I am extremely excited for Dinesh D’Souza’s arrival. His topic, “Is God the Problem?”, is ever pertinent in our current age of rampant, baseless criticism against the presence and role of religion within society,” said Anish Mitra, the vice president of the Brown College Republicans. “While there have been many unsavory actions fueled by religious fervor (which currently continue) throughout history, I am confident Mr. D’Souza will not only elucidate the myriad misconceptions of past religious behavior, but reveal the true evils of society, and ultimately show how dangerous a world without religion can be.”

“Though the buildings, letterheads, and merchandise of Brown University are adorned with its motto, ‘In Deo Speramus,’ most Brown students do not understand the paramount discipline of hoping in God,” added Keith DellaGrotta, the president of the College Republicans. “Such a principle was integral to the foundation of the country in which we reside, not to mention America’s continued political successes since. In bringing Dinesh D’Souza to lecture on campus, the Brown Republicans seek to promote discussion of the most valuable quality of faith in a Creator.” [click to continue…]


Students Launch Campaign to Bring Back ROTC

April 16, 2010

Below is a press release from Brown Students for ROTC.
Brown Students for ROTC today launched a petition drive demanding that the University bring the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps back to campus.
“The current stance taken by Brown with regard to ROTC is discriminatory in nature,” said Keith DellaGrotta, the president of Brown Students for ROTC. [...]

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FID in BDH Story on Perceptions of Brown

April 15, 2010

We appeared in our second Brown Daily Herald story of the week today. This story focused on perceptions of Brown and we spoke to the issue of how intellectually diverse the University is. Here is more:
A 2006 article by Herald Opinions Columnist Sean Quigley ’10 in the Brown Spectator, Brown’s publication for conservative and [...]

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FID in BDH Story on Simmons

April 12, 2010

FID President Stephen Beale was quoted in a Brown Daily Herald story today about President Ruth Simmons. Below are excerpts:
Stephen Beale ’04, co-founder of the Foundation for Intellectual Diversity — a non-profit that funds the Brown Spectator and brings speakers to campus — said Simmons’ resignation from the Goldman Sachs board “shows that she [...]

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Donate and Help Us Fight Radicalism at Brown

March 31, 2010

At the Foundation for Intellectual Diversity, we endeavor to not only create awareness about some of the political radicalism taking place on campus, but also to offer constructive alternatives. Over the course of this year, we have exposed Brown’s plan to make reparations payments to Providence public schools, the University’s hiring of a radical, [...]

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Why We Criticized Sex Week

March 31, 2010

Our recent commentary and criticism of Sex Week at Brown has stirred a lot of reaction among students—as well as an some internal discussion at The Foundation for Intellectual Diversity. Many students seem confused that an organization with diversity in its name could have a problem with Sex Week, presumably because [...]

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An Open Letter to President Simmons

March 30, 2010

In light of our recent commentary on Sex Week at Brown, we publish the below letter which draws attention to two other related events held earlier this semester. We think the author raises a number of important points.
Dear President Simmons,
I am writing to you as a Brown alumna, as a professor and academic leader, [...]

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Letter from Alum on Sex Week

March 25, 2010

We recently received a letter from an alum raising a number of important and interesting questions about Sex Week. Below is the letter:
Here are some additional questions I have about Brown Sex Week activities:
1. Did the Wet Spots’ spanking of audience members cause injury
to someone? It is clear from their publicity materials that this is [...]

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Forum on Sexual Fantasies Went Too Far

March 22, 2010

As stated in our initial post, out main objection to Sex Week 2010 was not even that it was happening, but that the offices of Residential Life, Campus Life & Student Services, and Institutional Diversity were listed as sponsors. We are willing to grant that there is some validity to the claim that the University [...]

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