February 13, 2021
Vice President for Campus Life Eric Estes and Associate Vice President for Campus Life, Executive Director of Health and Wellness Vanessa Britto
Tags Undergraduates

To Brown 1st years: Reports of Prohibited Gatherings


Dear 1st Year Students,

We hope this message finds you doing well and successfully navigating your first semester at Brown. We know that your arrival to Brown this term has come under extraordinary circumstances that require social distancing, masks and limited in-person gatherings, among other measures to help protect individual and community health. We also know that meeting your classmates and forming friendships is a critical part of your Brown experience, and we want to support you in doing that safely. 

Given the tremendous importance of doing everything we can to care for the health of ourselves and others, the reality is that some of the ways students typically form connections cannot be permitted in the current context. We have received a growing number of detailed reports of gatherings in residence hall rooms that violate University health and safety policies and the personal commitment every Brown student made to take responsibility to work together and with the University to help protect the health and safety of our community. These gatherings of more than a pod (especially without masks and social distancing) put our community at risk. Each of these alleged situations is being addressed by the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards. Serious sanctions — up to and including suspension — are potential outcomes for hosting or attending gatherings that violate University policies. 

We are also deeply troubled by reports of students disrespecting and/or not complying with requests from RPLs and University staff who are addressing situations that endanger our community. This kind of behavior will not be tolerated and must end immediately. Brown is a community committed to our collective health and well-being, and respect for each other and our shared commitments is essential.

Concerns continue both locally and nationally about the potential spread of COVID-19. Nearby Providence College experienced a spike in COVID-19 cases this week with more than 90 students testing positive in a short three-day period and many additional students in quarantine as close contacts. In addition, more contagious variants of the virus have now been identified on multiple university and college campuses around the country. The health of our community can change quickly.

We must recommit ourselves immediately to following the public health guidelines and University policies that are in place for our collective well-being — and for the health of the communities that surround Brown’s campus. Please review the information on the Healthy Brown website about COVID-19 prevention, the Undergraduate Student Commitment you signed, the Campus Activity Status, the COVID-19 Campus Safety Policy and pods. If you have questions, reach out to your RPL, Bruno Leader or Area Coordinator. Staff in Health Promotion and Student Support Services are here to help you. To report a concern, you can use the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards’ COVID-19 Incident Complaint Form or make an anonymous report via Brown’s anonymous reporting hotline at 877-318-9184 or online

The behavior being reported could require the full University to return to Campus Activity Status Level 1, with the discontinuation of in-person classes and events or activities of any kind. It could require us to return to Quiet Period conditions where you are not allowed to leave your residence halls and cannot choose the items for your meals. We don’t want that for you or for the rest of our campus community.

On Wednesday, Feb. 17, from 1 to 2 pm, staff from BWell Health Promotion, Community Dialogue, Orientation & First Year Experience, Health Services, the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards, Residential Education, and the Student Activities Office will host a webinar for first-year students about building community and making connections at Brown in the COVID context. You will receive a link to sign up next week, and we encourage you to attend.

We know the majority of you are doing your best to socialize and study in ways that are consistent with    public health guidelines and University policy. We thank you and appreciate your making healthy choices for yourself and your community. For those of you who are behaving in ways that endanger the health and well-being of the community, this behavior needs to stop immediately. 

Thank you,

Eric Estes
Vice President for Campus Life

Vanessa Britto
Associate Vice President for Campus Life
Executive Director of Health and Wellness