Wesleyan to Support Threatened Scholars

Wesleyan’s Interim Provost, Rob Rosenthal, and the Director of the Fries Center, Steve Angle, recently announced that Wesleyan has joined the New University in Exile Consortium (NUEC), re-joined Scholars At Risk (SAR), and is working actively with both SAR and with the Scholar Rescue Fund (SRF) to identify and bring to campus a scholar who is unable to carry out normal teaching and scholarly work in his or her home community due to political threats. SAR and SRF partner with universities around the world to host scholars in such situations, typically for one year until either conditions have improved such that they can return, or else to give them time to identify a longer-term solution in the U.S. or elsewhere.

NUEC is a new organization established at the New School in New York City, building on the New School’s founding legacy of supporting scholars in exile. The NUEC runs weekly on-line seminars, regular face-to-face meetings, and an annual retreat for scholars hosted at partner schools to help the scholars adjust to American academic life, build their networks, and find scholarly collaborators.

In addition to its work identifying and placing scholars, SAR also has an active advocacy wing, supporting “Student Advocacy Seminars” and a 2-day “Student Advocacy Days” event each year in Washington, DC, together with its annual Global Congress — which this year has the theme “Truth, Power & Society: The Promise of Higher Education in Challenging Times.” The “Student Advocacy Seminars” are designed to teach human rights advocacy skills and typically involve the students working on a specific advocacy case: for example, seeking the release of a scholar being detained.

Wesleyan faculty and administrators are working right now to identify a scholar who will be a good fit with our institution and one or more academic units: ideally, the scholar will be able to carry on his or her research here, as well as offer one or more courses. We hope the first scholar will be able to join us for the coming academic year.