Chafee-as-peacemaker meets with Taveras, Brown U. brass

Taveras, Chafee clap for Simmons last August

Governor Chafee is trying to broker peace between his capital city and his alma mater.

Chafee met Thursday afternoon with Providence Mayor Angel Taveras, Brown University President Ruth Simmons and Brown Chancellor Thomas Tisch to seek a resolution to their financial dispute, Brown spokeswoman Marisa Quinn told

The governor graduated from Brown in 1975 and one of his children is a student there now. He convened the 1 p.m. meeting in his State House office because he “believes in collaboration and believes we all have to work together to solve our city’s and state’s problems,” Chafee spokeswoman Christine Hunsinger said.

“I’d characterize the meeting as going well,” she added.

Taveras and Simmons have been at loggerheads since December, when negotiations over Brown’s voluntary payments to the city broke down after the university’s board rejected the mayor’s request for $4 million in additional annual payments and he spurned their counteroffer of $2 million.

“Brown supports Providence, and we have offered to do more during this particularly challenging time,” Quinn said, noting the city’s four private schools already plan to pay $50 million over 20 years. “We regret that the mayor rejected this offer, and hope we can continue our discussions and reach an equitable, sustainable solution.”

Taveras warned earlier Thursday that Providence is “on the brink of bankruptcy” and asked for “shared sacrifices” from city retirees and tax-exempt institutions like Brown and the hospitals. The mayor is scheduled to meet with Central Falls receiver Robert Flanders on Friday.

Walt Buteau contributed to this report. This post has been updated and expanded. An earlier version incorrectly said Brown has agreed to pay $50 million to the city over 20 years; that will be paid by all four private schools, including Brown.

(photo: Mike Cohea/Brown University)

6 thoughts on “Chafee-as-peacemaker meets with Taveras, Brown U. brass

    • Educational institutions, particulary Brown, bring in students that bring in lots of money to spend from their folks and who use very little city services in comparison. Hospitals provide millions in free care to city residents who otherwise could not afford to be treated. And Chafee is a nitwit, an embarrasment to a tax hell that already has more than sufficient reasons to be embarrased.

  1. Cosmo,

    The bulk of city costs are in K0-K12 education, not police, fire, plowing, and garbage.

    Residents with no kids and high disposable incomes fit the same category as that army of students you describe. But the courts have held that it is in everyone’s best interest to raise the next generation, so we’re all told to pay those high K0-K12 costs and be quiet.

    It’s tough luck that Brown also resides in Providence, but they do.

    Social conscience is a wonderful thing until one has to open their wallet. Brown should pay up.

    • GaryM, sorry but you’re argument about the bulk or city costs doesn’t convince me I’m wrong, it convinces me I’m right. The sentence about the courts is silly, of course it’s in everyone’s best interest to raise the next generation but even that good cause cannot have an unlimited budget. And the taxpayers certain do not have to pay and be quiet, it is also in the best interest of the kids that the city remains financially solvent. There has to be balance between competing interests and cost controls. Finally, tax exempts are tax exempts for a reason. If society determines that reason is no longer valid it should be resolved by legislation not continually whining for more money to throw down yet more ratholes. Until that is done, neither the educational institutions nor the hospitals should pay anything they are not legally obligated to pay.

      • Cosmo,

        You make sense! I’m not saying I agree with positions made by the courts, but we are stuck with them.

        As for Brown, they have not sat quietly on the sidelines on many positions, but have instead been advocates. Now that the cost for those liberal positions comes due, they choose the position of belt tightening (their own). At least the hospitals kept quiet.

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