Wesleyan in the News

Lauren RubensteinMarch 2, 202010min

NewsWesleyan in the News
1. The Open Mind: “Democratizing the Jury”

Associate Professor of Government Sonali Chakravarti is interviewed in connection with her new book, Radical Enfranchisement in the Jury Room and Public Life, in which she offers a “full-throated defense of juries as a democratic institution.” “I am very interested in how ordinary people engage with political institutions, and juries are the place where ordinary people have the most power,” she says. Chakravarti calls for more robust civic education, continuing into adulthood, in order to have a “more effective, modern jury system.”

2. Hartford Courant: “Sen. Murphy, Aiming to Expand Pell Grant Eligibility for Incarcerated Students, Hears from Inmates at York Correctional Institution”

Senator Chris Murphy, who is the co-sponsor of a bill to expand the federal Pell grant program for college students to include inmates, met with 11 inmates who have participated in educational programs at York Correctional Institution through the Wesleyan Center for Prison Education and other college-in-prison programs.“What’s important about the REAL Act is that college affordability should be accessible to all students regardless of where they are,” said CPE program manager Allie Cislo. “It’s one thing rhetorically to commit to reentry,” she said, but resources like educational programs “can make or break it for people.”

3. American Theatre: “Digging for New Roots”

This article on “climate change theatre” features Ocean Filibuster, a play by Assistant Professor of Theater Katie Pearl through her theater company, PearlDamour. Commenting on the play’s premise, in which a new Senate bill proposes sentencing the world’s oceans to death and the ocean stands to speak in its own defense, Pearl said, “We thought, well, what if the ocean finally got fed up with taking all of our crap, and started talking and didn’t stop until we actually shut up and listened?” American Theatre, a leading publication in the theater industry, writes: “Ocean Filibuster recalibrates the human experience by reminding us of the comparatively small scale and depth of our own existence.”

4. Marketplace: “Online Political Ads Have a Whole Different Rulebook Than TV”

Associate Professor of Government Erika Franklin Fowler, co-director of the Wesleyan Media Project, is interviewed about political advertising on streaming television services. “There are vastly different reporting regimes for broadcast television versus digital,” Fowler says. She explains that streaming falls into the digital space, where political ads aren’t always required to disclose who paid for them because the Federal Election Commission hasn’t updated internet ad rules since 2006.

5. Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s “Counterpoint”: “Bold and Brave”

Fred Cohan, the Huffington Foundation Professor in the College of the Environment, professor of biology, explains how viruses like the coronavirus, or COVID-19, adapt and spread from animals to humans, as well as how “all the demands we put on the environment […] come back to bite us in the way of new infections.” For example, in the Northeastern United States, deforestation has increased the prevalence of Lyme disease infections in humans, while deforestation in Africa is thought to be responsible for most of the Ebola outbreaks in recent decades by forcing bats to live closer to humans. (Cohan comes in at 13 minutes).


Alumni in the News

1. NPR.org: Washington Post: Therapy Notes Are Being Used Against Migrant Children

“NPR’s Noel King talks to Washington Post reporter Hannah Dreier [’08], whose investigation found that therapists are sharing their notes on detained migrant children with immigration officials.” (Dreier, previously a journalist with ProPublica, received a Pulitzer in 2019 for her reporting on Salvadoran immigrants adversely affected by a federal crackdown on the MS-13 gang. See the Connection article here.)

2.  Deadline: I Will Make You Mine Trailer: Lynn Chen’s [’98] Directorial Debut Bookends Indie Quasi-Trilogy; Romantic Dramedy Lands at Gravitas

“Lynn Chen’s directorial debut I Will Make You Mine has been acquired by Gravitas Ventures ahead of its world premiere at the SXSW Film Festival in March. And as an added bonus, they have released the first trailer…” See it at the link above.

3. The New York Times: Opinion: How a Persian Mystic Poet Changed My Life

In this essay adapted from her newest book, The Rumi Prescription: How an Ancient Mystic Poet Changed My Modern Manic Life (Penguin Random House; March 3, 2020), activist and author Melody Moezzi ’01 recalls that through her childhood, her father “recite[d] Rumi’s verse with the same fervor and frequency most people reserve for food and oxygen.” It was not, however, until mental health issues upended her life that “Rumi’s poetry became a lifeline, allowing me to survive both my own personal insanity and the political insanity to come.” (Moezzi has spoken at Wesleyan about living with bipolar disorder, most recently for the Noah Langholz ’14 Memorial Lecture, in 2015.)

3. Something Curated: Cameron Rowland [’11] Proposes New Models for Art to Engage With Justice

A 2019 MacArthur Fellow, Rowland is noted for his “research-intensive practice” that uses displays of objects and documents in ways that expose the racism underlying our judicial system and in our everyday life. (Click here for the Connection article on Wesleyan’s three alumni recipients of a MacArthur ”genius grant” in 2019.)

4. Business Insider: I Had to Turn Down Acceptances at Yale, Columbia, and Johns Hopkins Because I Can’t Take on Interest-Bearing Loans—And I’m Just One Example of How the American Loan System Doesn’t Cater to Muslims

In this first-person piece, Tasmiha Khan ’12 explains that her faith does not permit her to take on interest-bearing loans. She recalls the assistance she received from Wesleyan, which permitted her to attend, and notes that she did not find similar support from graduate schools. “The American loan system needs to be more Muslim-friendly—and I am hopeful that as a nation we can advance to be inclusive of Muslims’ needs,” she writes.