Brown University freshmen hit by anti-Israel protest
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Brown University freshmen hit by anti-Israel protest

BDS protesters rain leaflets on incoming students at campus welcome ceremony

Brown University students welcoming the 2019 freshman class. (Brown University, courtesy)
Brown University students welcoming the 2019 freshman class. (Brown University, courtesy)

Protesters at Brown University who support divesting from Israel disrupted a welcome ceremony for next year’s freshman class, including dropping informational leaflets from the balcony of an auditorium onto the participants.

Members of the incoming class of 2023 had just finished watching a promotional video about the university, as part of A Day on College Hill on Sunday, when the protesters began chanting chanted “Brown students voted yes on divest. Provost Locke: what’s next? End our complicity now,” the student newspaper, The Brown Daily Herald, reported.

The protesters dropped leaflets describing Brown Divest and its mission. A video of the protest was posted on the Brown Divest Facebook page.

In March, Brown undergraduates voted in favor of a referendum to divest from Israel by a more than 2-to-1 margin.

Brown University president Christina Paxson (center). (courtesy)

Brown University president Christina Paxson said she will not act on the referendum, saying that the university should not embrace any of the planks of the BDS, or Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel.

The nonbinding measure proposed to “identify and divest from companies that profit from Israeli violations of human rights” and accuses the university of furthering actions that “engage in human-rights violations” for its cooperation with Israel or firms that work with Israel.

“Brown’s endowment is not a political instrument to be used to express views on complex social and political issues, especially those over which thoughtful and intelligent people vehemently disagree,” Paxson said last month, in a statement issued by the university.

TOI staff contributed to this report

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