The University announced the creation of a policy governing public statements on behalf of the institution about national and world events in a Today @ Brown announcement on Wednesday.
The policy, which was posted on the University Policy website on May 13, is the result of “frequent interest” by members of the Brown community in public statements made by administrative and university units about national events and worldwide, according to the announcement. The process of establishing this policy began in January 2021 and involved discussions with directors of Brown’s institute and center, as well as university chairs.
The policy defines public statements as any message “claiming to be on behalf of the University, any of its schools, academic units, or administrative units and distributed, broadcast, posted online, or otherwise shared via mass distribution with the public” which provides commentary on “matters external to” Brown. The policy does not apply to posts about academic or administrative activities, initiatives and resources.
The policy’s new guidelines are intended to ensure that public statements made by academic units or faculty represent members of the groups issuing the statement, according to the announcement. The policy also specifies a process for trustees and deans to review public statements.
According to the policy, the University, academic units, and individuals speaking on Brown’s behalf are prohibited from issuing public statements that promote, endorse, or oppose candidates for government office. The policy also prohibits statements that threaten, harass, discriminate, defame, disclose private or confidential information, violate an individual’s or organization’s intellectual property rights, or fail to comply with the Code of Conduct. University.
Additionally, the policy adds that the University itself “may issue a public statement on political, social, or political issues or individual rights issues, where such statement is aligned with the identity of the University in as a learning and research community” and meets certain criteria listed on the policy, such as whether the external issue or current event affects Brown or the Brown community.