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Steve ScarpaFebruary 7, 20236min
Wesleyan University’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. commemoration, held February 3, was a moment for hard truths about racial justice in the United States and inspiration for where we might go as a nation. The annual commemoration concluded Equity and Inclusion Week and launched a series of events to recognize Black History Month. The MLK Commemoration, hosted by Demetrius Colvin, director of The Resource Center, featured a recollection of King’s special relationship with Wesleyan. The civil rights leader visited campus four times and was an honorary degree recipient in 1964. In addition, Black Raspberry, an all-Black student musical group, offered…

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Steve ScarpaFebruary 6, 20238min
Both Shaykh Jamir Meah and Rev. Tracy Mehr-Muska have taken unusual personal journeys to get to their roles as Wesleyan University’s newest chaplains – experiences make them uniquely poised to serve the campus community. Rabbi David Leipziger Teva, director of the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life, said Meah and Mehr-Muska’s recent additions to the team will allow the department to offer more and a wider variety of programming, including opportunities to improve inter-faith literacy on campus and help with students’ mental health and well-being. “We want to make sure that there is a support system for students’ religious and…

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Steve ScarpaFebruary 6, 20237min
On the first night that Jonathan Holloway lived in the president’s residence at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, he decided to take his dogs for a walk. He gathered the usual gear – a collar, leash, and bags. After a moment of reflection Holloway grabbed his ID as well. Even though Holloway had just been appointed president of an institution encompassing over 100,000 people, as an African American man he wasn’t certain he could get back into his home safely if confronted by security. He had not, and would not, have a problem with anyone at Rutgers, but…

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Steve ScarpaFebruary 1, 20237min
In a time when the wounds of racial injustice continue to be raw in America, Wesleyan University’s Black History Month programming hopes to represent the complexity, struggles and joys of the African American experience. “We explicitly want to highlight the importance of the Black joy we are living,” said Demetrius Colvin, director of The Resource Center. “There is so much death, sadness, and trauma. We have to honor that. But an important aspect to the joy and sorrow is how people are surviving, resisting, and thriving.” The University will celebrate the month with gallery exhibits, film screenings, performances, and celebrations.…

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Steve ScarpaFebruary 1, 202312min
Andrew Meier ’85 admits that an important part of his work as a journalist and writer is “chasing ghosts.” The Morgenthau family – counselors to presidents, participants in international diplomacy and important players in the criminal justice system – have given him plenty to chase. "They were a family that was kind of invisible to most Americans … they were really integral for a hundred years at the highest level of American political power. I don’t know any family that can really match that,” Meier said. In his newest book, Morgenthau: Power, Privilege, and the Rise of an American Dynasty,…

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Steve ScarpaFebruary 1, 20236min
During the 2015-16 school year nearly 10 percent of Connecticut public school children met the criteria for being chronically absent. The disruption COVID-19 wrought on education only exacerbated the problem. The Connecticut State Department of Education launched the Learner Engagement and Attendance Program (LEAP) in April 2021 to help address these issues. In 15 school districts throughout the state, school officials and representatives from local non-profit agencies conducted home visits with almost 9,000 students who were considered chronically absent. School officials often assisted families with food, job placement, or just general support to remove any external barriers to school attendance.…

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Steve ScarpaJanuary 23, 20236min
Thanks to her discovery of a global warming event that occurred 56 million years ago, Ellen Thomas, the Harold T. Stearns Professor of Integrated Sciences, Emerita, changed the way we think about climate change. Her research started with a serendipitous discovery of severe extinction of microscopic deep-sea organisms, foraminifera. Because of her prolific and impactful research, Thomas, along with her colleague James Zachos of the University of California, Santa Cruz, was given the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in the climate change category. “Both laureates think that the destructive impact of the event should be a warning to us…

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Steve ScarpaJanuary 19, 20233min
Assistant Professor of Chemistry Alison O’Neil’s most recent research has drawn a direct parallel between a pesticide commonly used from the late 1940s through the late 1970s and instances of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), according to a paper published in the journal ACS Chemical Neuroscience on December 13. Cis-chlordane was banned in 1988 in the United States, but it can still be found in the environment. “We find that human stem-cell-derived motor neurons are more sensitive to (the pesticide) cis-chlordane than other cell types and their action potential dynamics are altered … Together, our work points to cis-chlordane as a potential sporadic…

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Steve ScarpaJanuary 19, 20236min
There is a moment in Zora Neale Hurston’s book, Their Eyes Were Watching God, where the day is done, people have stopped working and finally have time for themselves. “The sun was gone, but he had left his footprints in the sky. It was the time for sitting on porches beside the road. It was the time to hear things and talk. These sitters had been tongueless, earless, eyeless conveniences all day long. Mules and other brutes had occupied their skins. But now, the sun and the bossman were gone, so the skins felt powerful and human. They became lords…

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Steve ScarpaJanuary 13, 20236min
The 2023 Equity & Inclusion Week, hosted by the Office for Equity & Inclusion, will offer a series of talks, workshops and film screenings intended to foster fellowship, understanding, and collective community learning. “At Wesleyan we hold these values around celebrating and honoring that our community is as diverse as it is. I think we can live out that commitment by continuing to engage identities that are different from ours and also by creating opportunities for folks who have historically been marginalized to be able to come together and share their experience with one another, find support from one another,…

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Steve ScarpaJanuary 12, 20236min
Deep philosophical ideas aren’t the only things Hedding Professor of Moral Science Joseph T. Rouse has been dueling with as of late. Rouse has been training for the United States Veteran Fencing team, a team comprised of fencers over the age of 70. His first national qualifier this season will take place in January at the North American Cup in Louisville, Kentucky. His first bout a year ago against the current world champion in his age group ended in a loss, but Rouse thinks he's got more than a fighting chance, having beaten his opponent the last two times they…

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Steve ScarpaJanuary 11, 20237min
In the face of global climate and environmental crises, Elon Musk wants to launch humanity to Mars. His fellow billionaire Jeff Bezos believes we should build artificial space pods between the Earth and the Moon to increase the resources we need for our technologically soaked lives. They were the only ones who could save humanity from a dire end, they sort of said (and, perhaps, making a tidy profit for themselves in the process.) The messianic vibes were unmistakable. The thought of this baffled Mary-Jane Rubenstein, professor of religion. “The more I learned about the contemporary state of things in…