Division of Campus Life

Multi-Partial Team

The Multi-Partial Team upholds Brown’s mission of academic freedom and open inquiry by working with students, faculty and staff who want to have their voices and concerns heard through activism, protest and demonstration.

Brown’s Multi-Partial Team (MPT) is an advisory unit comprising staff members from across the University who provide support for all participants before and during potentially controversial events. The MPT serves a dual purpose: trained staff members act as thought partners for event organizers and as a resource for students or others who plan to participate in activism, protest and/or demonstration.

The MPT seeks to uphold freedom of expression while ensuring that everyone is aware of their rights and responsibilities related to Brown policies, which safeguard the ability of the full community to benefit from the normal functions of the University.

The Role of the MPT

Prior to an event, the MPT coordinator will assign MPT members to meet with event organizers and/or students, student groups or others who may be planning to protest. MPT members can also collaborate with administrators and staff who may be supporting the event (e.g., University administration, event staff and communicators). 

Working with event sponsors/organizers, MPT members can help: 

  • clarify Brown’s policies, and everyone’s rights and responsibilities; 
  • act as a thought partner in the planning phase to establish goals, desired outcomes, format and logistics; and
  • think through ways to proactively and reactively address potential pushback and controversy.

Working with students or others considering protesting or demonstrating at an event, MPT members can help:

  • clarify Brown’s policies, and everyone’s rights and responsibilities; 
  • think through choices related to having their voices heard, including potential protest; and
  • brainstorm proactive and reactive ways to address both opportunities and challenges.

The MPT arrives prior to the start of the event and remains on site as a thought partner to everyone in attendance, including event sponsors, audience members and potential protestors, as needed. The MPT does not prevent or manage dissent or potential protest. Rather, teams work with event organizers and protesters to help them understand policies, options and choices.

University Policies Related to Demonstration

The University Code of Conduct, which applies to all members of the Brown community, states that, because Brown is an institution that respects and upholds academic freedom and freedom of expression and inquiry, the “time, place and manner of exercising these rights on the campus shall be subject to reasonable regulation only to prevent interference with the normal functions of the University.”

All members of the Brown community are responsible for understanding and abiding by the relevant codes, policies and protocols that define time, place and manner in relationship to protest and demonstration including the following:


Alleged violations of these codes and policies will be referred to the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards for students and student organizations and to University Human Resources for University employees. Some student employees are situationally and simultaneously accountable to multiple codes of conduct.

Frequently Asked Questions

Multipartiality, in contrast to neutrality, refers to understanding the perspectives and lived experiences we bring with us. It acknowledges the presence of “dominant narratives” (or sets of assumptions) based on socialization. It encourages meaningful engagement that prompts reflection as opposed to direct confrontation. In this case, it also means that team members are there to be on everyone’s side. They are there to support hosts, protesters and everyone in attendance. 

The MPT is organized by the Division of Campus Life and consists of individuals from across the University on a “volunteer” basis. If any students, faculty members or staff members are interested in joining the MPT, contact Senior Associate Dean and Director of the Student Activities Office Joie Steele at joie_steele@brown.edu.

The MPT provides support before and during events where their presence is requested. They serve in an advisory role for event organizers on best practices for managing a successful event — especially controversial ones — as well as act as a supportive resource for those who want to engage in advocacy and activism, including protest.

The MPT serves in an advisory role and is not a decision-making group. Therefore, MPT members will not: 

  • make decisions for event sponsors about the management of their events, either in advance or in the moment;
  • interfere with or serve in a capacity similar to the decision-making role and authority of the Department of Public Safety; or
  • provide support beyond its specific mission (e.g., team members will not provide logistical support or event management staffing).

Students with questions about the MPT should reach out to the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards

Staff should contact University Human Resources.

Faculty should contact the Office of the Provost.