The Question: What’s it like being a Republican at Brown?

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Arjun Narayen Photography

Hi! My name is Gabrielle Frampton. I’m from Trinidad and Tobago but I grew up in China. I’m a sophomore concentrating in International Relations and East Asian Studies. I’ll be blogging for “The Question“. Together we’ll be figuring “THE ANSWER(s)” to your questions, and maybe even some of my own, about life at Brown.

Brown is often described as a bastion of ‘ultra-liberal’ thought. Top universities, especially prestigious, private ones on the east coast -read, the Ivy League- are generally the more left-leaning than the general population. BUT Brown is often singled out as being the most left leaning of them all.

This reputation probably arises from a combination of factors, including; Brown’s long and *proud* tradition of student activism, *revolutionary* open curriculum and anti-grade policies.

More recently this perception of the university may have been exacerbated by FOX new’s ongoing love affair with Brown students. Jesse Watters- host of the Watter’s World segment on the O’Reilly Factor has made numerous trips to Providence to highlight student activities such as the “Holiday Tree”, which he highlighted as an assault on Christmas, and “Nudity in the Upspace”. Although, recently it seems that FOX news has been giving Harvard its fair share of “love”.

It’s definitely safe to say that Brown does have a very liberal climate. Students are active and aware and social justice groups range from the Brown chapters of the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Association for Advancement of Colored People to Brown Divest Coal Coalition.

And although about 86% of Brown students identify as Democrats, the  Brown Republicans are a very active on campus group. They hold weekly meetings and become especially visible during election times. Brown is also home to a large number of ‘political’ magazines. Some, like Brown Political Review, are dedicated to showcasing a wide variety of political opinions. For these organisations maintaing impartiality  is key to maintaing their journalistic integrity. Others like the, Brown Spectator, which espouses libertarian viewpoints , are dedicated to showcasing a single political affiliation. 

Diversity of opinion and free exchange of ideas are core principles of the universities ethos.  Nobody, regardless of how liberal their views, should expect to come to Brown and remain completely secure in their opinions. At Brown, I’ve been encouraged, even forced, to question my core beliefs.. I am constantly challenged by discussions in and outside of class.  I’d say that this is an experience I share with most if not all of my friends.

In short, Brown is a welcoming, challenging place. Here you’ll always be free to express your opinions however loudly you choose. And although you’ll always be encouraged to express your views- that doesn’t mean that they’ll go unchallenged.

If you have any more questions for me to answer, shoot me an email at gabrielle_frampton@brown.edu

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