Four months ago, Professor Jacobson reported about a lecture by New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly at Brown University was called off due to protesters interrupting the speaker.

This week, the university released a report outlining what happened. Inside Higher Ed’s Scott Jaschik has the details:

The report says that the university offered to sponsor and fund another lecture, later in the year, to offer another view of Kelly’s policies.

Further, the report makes clear that senior officials at Brown were concerned about the potential for the talk to be disrupted, but tried to maintain a commitment to free speech. Not only did the university refuse to call off the event (at least until it was under way), but Brown cited free speech to refuse to punish those who drew swastikas on Kelly’s image on posters promoting the event.

“Administrators determined that, while offensive to many, including students who had complained to them, the symbols should be protected as a form of free speech and the flyers would not be taken down,” the report says.

Those efforts failed on the day of the lecture, when repeated interruptions made it impossible for Kelly to speak, leading to cancellation of the event. The event prompted considerable debate and soul-searching at Brown, where many students and professors who oppose Kelly’s policies were uncomfortable with the idea that he was prevented from speaking. (Notably, he agreed not only to speak, but to take questions, so there would have been an opportunity for his critics to have their say after he did.) While some called the protesters intolerant, others defended them, saying that they were exercising political speech.

Christina H. Paxson, president of Brown, criticized the idea of preventing a speaker from talking. She also commissioned two reports by a faculty/student panel — the first of which has now been released. This report describes in factual terms what happened leading up to and at the lecture. A future report will offer recommendations on how Brown should respond to the incident.

Those looking for blame to be assigned are unlikely to applaud the new report. It closes by simply stating: “The demands and expectations of some students and the actions of the administration operated within the context of multiple pressures. It is this committee’s view that there are many lessons to be learned from this episode. These lessons will inform the committee’s work as we enter the second phase of our charge.”

…While the new report doesn’t take a stand on whether various decisions were correct, it is already getting criticized from some who think the protesters are being unfairly maligned and others who think the university should already be punishing those who interrupted the lecture (something that could happen eventually, but would depend in part on the second report).