FID in BDH Story on Perceptions of Brown

by Stephen Beale on 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 libertarian views, called the post-O’Reilly iteration of the party “an abomination, whose justification is an affront to logical reasoning, let alone spiritual well-being.”

In recent years, conservative students and alumni have vocalized criticism of Brown as a particularly left-leaning institution.

Stephen Beale ’04, who started the Spectator in fall 2002, formed the Foundation for Intellectual Diversity after encountering difficulty funding the Spectator as a student organization. A non-profit dedicated to promoting “underrepresented ideas, beliefs and perspectives” at Brown, the foundation provides money and assistance to conservative and religious student groups, according to its Web site.

“The most important kind of diversity on college campuses is intellectual diversity and so when you’re talking about other forms of diversity — racial diversity, ethnic diversity, sexual diversity — Brown may do very well,” Beale said. “But when you talk about intellectual diversity, that is something that Brown is very much lacking in.”

One “encouraging development,” according to Beale, is the Kaleidoscope Lecture Fund, which Beale said was started after members of the foundation discussed a perceived lack of diversity in campus speakers with President Ruth Simmons.

The fund is used to bring speakers that “in the stereotypical view are seen as being ‘not Brown,’ ” said Assistant to the President Hannelore Rodriguez-Farrar ’87 MA’90 PhD’09.
Started in 2005, the fund was originally constituted with $100,000 of the president’s discretionary funds. Past Kaleidoscope speakers include Sally Winn, then vice president of Feminists for Life of America; Peter Singer, a Princeton professor who is vocal on animal rights issues; and diplomats John Bolton and Richard Holbrooke ’62.

“What we need to do is fulfill our mission,” Rodriguez-Farrar said. “Part of that mission is intellectual diversity.”

Click here to read the whole article.

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