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SHAPE Office Honors Dating Violence Awareness Month with Activities

Wesleyan's SHAPE office: (from left) eft to right it is Charissa Lee ’23, Johanna DeBari, and Asiyah Herrero ’22.

At left, Charissa Lee ’23, Johanna DeBari, and Asiyah Herrero ’22 are from Wesleyan’s SHAPE office.

One in five women and one in 16 men experience sexual violence in college, according to recent studies. The percentages are even higher amongst women of color and the LGBTQ+ community.

The frightening thing about those already disturbing numbers is that they are almost certainly not the whole story. “We know that this is one of the most underreported experiences of harm,” said Johanna DeBari, director of the Office of Support, Healing, Activism, and Prevention Education (SHAPE).

DeBari and her team at SHAPE are hoping that their work during Dating Violence Awareness Month this October will help draw attention to the problem. There will be a series of lectures and opportunities for students to reflect and connect with one another in a safe environment. The schedule of events can be found here.

“The problem is certainly not unique to Wesleyan. It is something that every campus navigates,” DeBari said. “My hope is that everyone can walk away feeling like they have a role to play in the conversation.”

“You Just Have to Read This…” Books by Wesleyan Authors Gottlieb ’94, Scolnik ’78, Shanok ’98

In this continuing series, Annie Roach ’22, an English and Italian studies major from Northampton, Mass., reviews alumni books and offers a selection for those in search of knowledge, insight, and inspiration. The volumes, sent to us by alumni, are forwarded to Olin Library as donations to the University’s collection and made available to the Wesleyan community.

Uncontrolled Spread book coverScott Gottlieb ’94, Uncontrolled Spread: Why COVID-19 Crushed Us and How We Can Defeat the Next Pandemic (Harper, 2021)

Since March 2020, the news cycle has been riddled with despair, conflicting information, and false theories. Even with vaccines, social distancing, and masking, COVID-19 isn’t going away, and the next pandemic could be around the corner. Since our realities have changed so much, it’s hard to pinpoint where and when exactly the United States (and the world) went wrong in handling the COVID-19 crisis, and what the best steps are moving forward. In his new book Uncontrolled Spread: Why COVID-19 Crushed Us and How We Can Defeat the Next Pandemic, physician and former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb addresses everyone’s most pressing questions concerning the COVID-19 pandemic and consolidates his answers into a strong, cohesive narrative.

Gottlieb offers a path forward that is hopeful yet urgent, compelling his readers and the American government to be proactive about preventing a future crisis that could be even more devastating than the one we’ve already experienced. Using historical knowledge, epidemiology, and political science, Gottlieb forms a strong argument that will leave readers with a clearer understanding of the world we’ve been inhabiting and a more urgent mission to improve its future.

Scott Gottlieb is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. He served as the twenty-third commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administrator and is a contributor to CNBC and a partner at New Enterprise Associates. He is a member of Wesleyan University’s Board of Trustees. He is on the board of directors of Pfizer Inc. and Illumina, Inc. He lives in Westport, Connecticut.

Ohmann Remembered Transforming University Life and Culture

Richard Ohmann, Benjamin Waite Professor of the English Language, Emeritus, died Oct. 8 at the age of 90.

Ohmann received his BA from Oberlin College and his MA and PhD from Harvard University. He arrived at Wesleyan in 1961 and, until his retirement in 1996, served in many roles and helped to shape the future of Wesleyan.

Joel Pfister, Olin Professor of English, sketched Ohmann’s trajectory: “He was promoted rapidly to full professor; was appointed vice president and provost; protested on national TV against the Vietnam War; was elected vice president of the Modern Language Association (MLA) on an antiwar platform; founded with some other lefty luminaries the fabulous journal Radical Teacher; completely freaked out English departments everywhere with his powerful and hugely influential Marxist critique of the reigning constructions of the field in English in America (1976); and went on to write several more field-changing books (one with his friend Noam Chomsky), including Politics of Letters (1987) and Selling Culture (1996).”

Henry Abelove, Willbur Fisk Osborne Professor of English, Emeritus, commented: “No one did more than he to guide Wesleyan in absorbing the best of the lessons of the social movements of the 1960s.”

“Dick was a master at making the effortful look effortless,” remarked Professor of Anthropology Elizabeth Traube. “As director of the Center for the Humanities, he was always pursuing special projects such as assembling a planning group to incorporate cultural studies into the curriculum, hitting up Coca Cola to fund a faculty seminar on Making and Selling Culture, and then making sure that we produced a volume out of it. He had a wicked sense of humor and a steady moral compass.”

“It is very hard to briefly describe what Dick Ohmann meant to my generation of academics, and to the development of American universities more generally,” said Richard Slotkin, Olin Professor of English, Emeritus. “In the late 1970s he taught a class for American Studies called Towards a Socialist America—a radical innovation then, an inescapable subject now. He was a leader in the movement that transformed university life and culture, by making both faculties and student bodies, and college curricula, more inclusive by race, ethnicity, class, gender and sexuality. His books and articles analyzed the connections between postwar university development, corporate capitalism, and the Cold War. What was most remarkable and characteristic of his work was the way he integrated theory and practice, scholarly analysis with political action. His personal example gave courage and focus to generations of younger colleagues, and he will be sorely missed.”

The English Department has renamed the English Lecture Series as The Ohmann-Crosby English Lecture Series in honor of Dick Ohmann and his mentee, Christina Crosby.

Ohmann is survived by his daughter, Sarah Ohmann; his daughter-in-law, Nicole Polier; and his granddaughter-in-law, Alison Polier. Memorial contributions may be made in Dick’s name to resist.org, Planned Parenthood, or trainingforchange.org.

Bery ’21, Haddad Share Climate Action Plan Study with United Nations

bery haddad

Sanya Bery ’21 and Professor Mary Alice Haddad spoke at the United Nations Innovate 4 Cities Conference Oct. 14.

In a new study linked to her 2021 high honors thesis, Sanya Bery ’21 discovered that cities that house universities have a significant likelihood of adopting ambitious climate action plans.

“It is clear that as plans become more ambitious, there is a higher concentration of university cities, and as plans become less ambitious there is a lower concentration of university cities,” she said. “[These cities] efforts will be critical to the world’s effort to combat climate change.”

Bery, who majored in government and environmental studies, is currently collaborating with Mary Alice Haddad, John E. Andrus Professor of Government, on a peer-reviewed article that includes Wesleyan and Middletown climate topics, and on Oct. 14, the duo presented Bery’s findings at the United Nations Innovate 4 Cities Conference.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has warned that CO2 emissions must reach net zero by 2050 to prevent the most catastrophic consequences of global climate change. Cities alone, according to the IPCC, emit more than 70% of the world’s emissions.

In order to study climate action plans, Bery took a tangible, qualitative approach to measure the “ambitiousness” of the action by creating a scorecard. She explored a dataset of 169 cities, nationwide, that are signatories in the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy. This was in addition to her thesis, where she looked at 66 cities with fewer than 100,00 residents.

Prospective Students, Parents Attend Vibrant Admission Open House

The Office of Admission welcomed prospective students and guests to an October Open House on Oct. 11. The vibrant day offered two, identical half-day programs that featured a talk from Amin Abdul-Malik Gonzalez ’96, vice president and dean of admission and financial aid; a student-to-student panel; an information session on the admission process and financial aid; an address to parents by President Michael Roth ’78; a resource panel discussion; and student-led campus tours.

Photos of the event are below: (Photos by Olivia Drake)

admission open house

admission open house

Posse Veteran Scholars Program Bring Diverse Backgrounds to Campus

Malik Booker '25

Malik Booker ’25 served with the U.S. Navy.

Malik Booker ’25 isn’t the average first-year student.

At age 26, the potential computer science and College of East Asian Studies major has already served four years with the U.S. Navy as a petty officer third class officer in San Diego, Calif. and the island of Guam. As a former hull technician, he’s a trained welder, pipefitter, and carpenter, and has experience firefighting, repairing boats, maintaining marine plumbing, operating ballast control systems, and inspecting nuclear-level materials.

But honing these skills wasn’t enough for an ideal post-military career.

“I didn’t want to be trapped into [working in the] trades forever,” Booker said. “I wanted to attend college … I wanted to study languages and have time to travel the world.”

Booker, who hails from Racine, Wis., is now among nine first-year students enrolled at Wesleyan through the Posse Veterans Scholars Program. The program identifies, trains, and supports veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces interested in pursuing bachelor’s degrees at top colleges and universities. In addition, Wesleyan provides its Posse vets with supplemental funding to cover the cost of tuition.

The eighth cohort of veteran scholars—including Booker, Carlos Ordonez; Desaree Edwards; Lamonte Lyons; Trace Forsyth; Aleck Gao; Nick Jarrett; Terrion Thirsty; and Spencer Turner—bring extensive and unique experiences to the university.

Basinger Celebrated at Center for Film Studies (with Photos)

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Corwin-Fuller Emerita Professor of Film Studies Jeanine Basinger, center, watches in awe during a firework show that occurred after the dedication of the Jeanine Basinger Center for Film Studies on Sept. 25. About 300 people attended the event. (Photo by Nick Caito)

The grand finale of Jeanine Basinger’s storied career at Wesleyan took place in late September with the naming ceremony in her honor of the new Center for Film Studies.

The event, held Sept. 25, celebrated the completion of the third and final phase of the center. The 16,000 square-foot addition includes a state-of-the-art production studio, a cyclorama and green screen, a 50-seat screening room, additional indoor and outdoor classroom spaces, a three-story house dedicated to on-site film shooting, and increased archival research space.

Basinger, Corwin-Fuller Emerita Professor of Film Studies and founder of The Ogden and Mary Louise Reid Cinema Archives has been the lynchpin in securing funding for the $27 million project over the past 20 years. The center has been in development since 2000.

Hispanic Heritage Month Celebrated with Contemporary Cinema Series

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Wesleyan is celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month with the annual Contemporary Cinema from the Hispanic Wold film series. On Oct. 21, the series will feature the Spanish film Rosa’s Wedding, directed by Icíar Bollaín, 2020. Rosa, about to turn 45, realizes that she has always lived for others, so she decides to leave it all and grab hold of the reins of her life. But before all this, she wants to embark on a very special commitment: a marriage to herself. Marrying, even if it is with herself, will be the hardest thing she has ever done.

Since 2012, Associate Professor of Spanish Maria Ospina has worked with the Wesleyan Film Board to organize an annual film series titled Contemporary Cinema from the Hispanic World and celebrate Hispanic cultures following Hispanic Heritage Month. The series has run every year since then, except for in 2020 (during the pandemic).

This year, the series will occur in the Goldsmith Family Cinema on Thursdays at 8 p.m. from Oct.  7 to Nov. 4, with five recent award-winning films from Latin America and Spain featured in the span of a month.

“This film series aims to showcase cultural, social and political issues of the Spanish speaking worlds (worlds that are also plurilingual, of course) and contribute to the intellectual conversations and artistic life at Wesleyan,” said Ospina, who also chairs the Wesleyan’s Latin American Studies program. “This is particularly important in a country where the cultures and languages of these regions are central to the lives of so many, but where diverse groups and institutions are constantly attempting to ignore or erase this presence. There is a huge interest in the Wesleyan Community in Latinx and Latin American issues, and I think cinema is a great space where people can congregate to explore them in a profound way.”

The five films come from four countries: Lemebel (Chile, 2019), Identifying Features (Mexico and Spain, 2020), Rosa’s Wedding (Spain, 2020), The Wolf House (Chile, 2018), and Panquiaco (Panama, 2020).

Tan Authors Book on Chinese Power Development During Revolution and War

tan book Assistant Professor of History Ying Jia Tan authored a new book titled Recharging China in War and Revolution, 1882-1955, already available as an e-book and soon to be available in hardcover, beginning Oct. 15. The work, published by Cornell University Press, explores Chinese power consumption and electrical development throughout seventy-three years of war and revolution.

According to the book’s abstract:

Tan traces this history from the textile-factory power shortages of the late Qing, through the struggle over China’s electrical industries during its civil war, to the 1937 Japanese invasion that robbed China of 97 percent of its generative capacity.

Along the way, he demonstrates that power industries became an integral part of the nation’s military-industrial complex, showing how competing regimes asserted economic sovereignty through the nationalization of electricity. Based on a wide range of published records, engineering reports, and archival collections in China, Taiwan, Japan, and the United States, Recharging China in War and Revolution, 1882-1955 argues that, even in times of peace, the Chinese economy operated as though still at war, constructing power systems that met immediate demands but sacrificed efficiency and longevity.

At Wesleyan, Tan’s research primarily focuses on the history of energy development in China. He studies this subject in relation to environmental history, technology, and cartography. This semester, Tan is teaching HIST 223: Traditional China: Eco-Civilization and Its Discontents and HIST 362: Issues in Contemporary Historiography.

Wesleyan’s Japanese Garden Celebrates 25th Anniversary with Exhibit

japanese garden

Paul Theriault, Center for the Arts art preparator; Stephen Morrell, Japanese garden architect; Ben Chaffee, associate director of visual arts; and Rosemary Lennox, exhibitions manager, gather outside the Mansfield Freeman Center for East Asian Studies Japanese Garden during its 25th-year celebration.

Since 1995, the Mansfield Freeman Center for East Asian Studies Japanese Garden—or Shôyôan Teien—has provided a serene space for meditation, tea ceremonies, and art classes.

Designed, built, and continuously cared for by Stephen Morrell, a landscape architect specializing in Japanese-style gardens, Wesleyan’s Shôyôan Teien is being celebrated through a new exhibit that contemplates the garden’s rich history.

“One’s experience of the garden is meant to be personal,” Morrell said. “By design, it encourages a peaceful intimate relationship where subjective and objective experience merges into present moment being. When that happens you become part of the garden.”

The exhibit, titled 25th Anniversary of the College of East Asian Studies Japanese Garden (Shôyôan Teien), held inside the Freeman Center’s Gallery, showcases sketches, photographs, models, poetry, video, and historical records of the garden.

The exhibition will run through Dec. 10. Gallery hours are noon to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday.

japanese garden

The Japanese garden can be viewed through the Freeman Center’s tatami room (shôyôan). The tatami room was built in 1987 through the generosity of Mansfield Freeman from the Class of 1916. Planned as an educational resource, the ensemble of the tatami room and garden provides a tangible means of experiencing Japanese aesthetics and culture.

garden

Shôyôan was built in September 1987 by master carpenter Takagaki Hiroshi and his apprentice Kaneko Ryosei, using traditional Japanese tools and techniques. In a traditional Japanese house, a similar room would function as a multi-purpose space, serving alternately as a living room, dining room, bedroom, or study.

japanese garden

The garden is host to several plants and trees including Japanese box leaf holly, crimson pygmy barberry, Korean and Japanese boxwood, iris, Yakushima rhododendron, lilyturf, Japanese garden juniper, sedum, Japanese shield fern, and weeping hemlock.

japanese garden

Japanese garden architect Stephen Morrell also designed the meditation gardens for Zen Mountain Monastery in Mount Tremper, New York, and Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, New York, as well as a tea garden exhibition for the New York Japan Society. Since 1981, he has been Curator of the John P. Humes Japanese Stroll Garden in Mill Neck, New York.

Photos of the gallery exhibit are below: (Photos by Milly Hopkins ’25)

japanese garden

japanese garden

japanese garden

japanese garden

japanese garden

japanese garden

japanese garden

japanese garden
japanese garden

Wesleyan in the News

NewsWesleyan’s intellectually dynamic faculty, students, alumni, staff, and parents frequently serve as expert sources for national media. Others are noted for recent achievements and accolades. A sampling of recent media hits is below:

Forbes ranks Netflix CMO Bozoma Saint John ’99 as the world’s most influential CMO. Saint John, who also is a member of Wesleyan’s Board of Trustees, took the helm of Netflix’s marketing department last year following her leadership roles at powerhouse brands including Endeavor, Apple and Uber. More than half of the honorees on this year’s list are women and around 20 percent of the list are CMOs who come from diverse backgrounds. (Sept. 29)

The Los Angeles Review of Books interviews New York Times best-selling author Maggie Nelson ’94 about her books The Argonauts and On Freedom: Four Songs of Care and Constraint. “My books tend to be very different from each other, so each requires new skills. That keeps me at the edge of what I feel able to do, as a writer,” she said. (Sept. 20)

Also, The New York Times reviews Nelson‘s new book On Freedom. “It’s fitting that On Freedom is dedicated to her son, Iggy, whose presence reminds us, as it has before in her writing (including, memorably, in the candid account of his birth in The Argonauts), that care both enables and constrains our freedom.” (Sept. 5)

In Lit Hub, Poet John Murillo, assistant professor of English and director of the creative writing program at Wesleyan, is mentioned for being nominated for the $10,000 Maya Angelou Book Award. “Throughout my writing life, I write from and about and to the lives of primarily people in urban situations, so there’s always an aspect of social justice in that sense,” Murillo said. (Sept. 29)

Robyn Autry, associate professor of sociology, speaks to The 19th News about the history of abduction in the United States. “The discrepancy between how women are treated is not surprising and doesn’t feel isolated or random,” Autry said. “It suggests something structural and systemic, and this racism is harder for the mainstream to wrap its mind around. You can get caught up in how these longer histories implicate our criminal justice system — more complicated and harder truths to face.” (Sept. 29)

The dedication of the Jeanine Basinger Center for Film Studies is featured in The Hartford Courant. The center has been in development since 2000. It was completed in three phases, one finished in 2004, one in 2007, and the final phase in 2020. “She is that rare scholar who speaks to diverse audiences through a combination of meticulous research, clear thinking, and elegant writing,” said Wesleyan President Michael Roth. “Jeanine has inspired loyalty and love from her students, and she has remained a mentor to many.” (Sept. 27)

On a new podcast hosted by PlayerFM, Ying Jia Tan, assistant professor of history, discusses his new book, In Recharging China in War and Revolution, 1882–1955 (Cornell University Press, 2021). Tan explores the fascinating politics of Chinese power consumption as electrical industries developed during seven decades of revolution and warfare. (Oct. 1)

Photographer Alana Perino ’11 is mentioned in V Magazine for being one of 20 finalists for the Creator Labs Photo Fund—a visual art platform which financially help artists who have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. “From New York City and after having studied European Intellectual History and Photography at Wesleyan University, Alana Perino worked as a photojournalist in the Israeli-Palestinian conflicts territories. Returning to the United States, Alana continually have been completing several road trips across the country to photograph American landscapes as she seeks for land identity.” (Sept. 30)

In Times Reporter, Amy Swartelé ’93 is mentioned for showcasing her latest works in an exhibit titled “Supernormal” at the Massillon Museum in Ohio. “Supernormal” is a selection from Swartelé s “Carnival-Sideshow” series, where she envisions a group of characters as carnival sideshow performers. The characters combine species, genders, the animate and inanimate, and the paintings are mixed media, including graphite, charcoal, inks, acrylics and oils, on various surfaces. The works range in size from 15- to 64-inches. (Sept. 29)

News 8 WTNH reports that Martha Gilmore, George I. Seney Professor of Geology, is a finalist for the 17th annual Women of Innovation awards presented by the Connecticut Technology Council and Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology. (Sept. 28)

Wesleyan’s 16th annual Eat Local Challenge is featured in The Middletown Press. Themed “limited miles, unlimited flavors,” Wesleyan’s food service provider Bon Appétit was charged with crafting a meal from products and ingredients harvested within a 150-mile radius of the campus — without sacrificing flavor. (Sept. 27)

In The New York Post, Chris Erikson ’87 shares his memories of Willie Garson ’86. Erikson recalls meeting Garson “39 years ago this month, on our first night of Wesleyan University, when I was paired up with an 18-year-old sparkplug from New Jersey on a freshman-hall ice-breaking exercise.” (Sept. 25)

Garson also is featured in The Connecticut Post and The Middletown Press. John Carr, professor emeritus of theater at Wesleyan, recalls going bowling with Garson and now-director Jon Turtletaub. And members of the Theater Department communicated with Garson in 2020 for the college’s first digital alumni reunion. “He showed so much fondness for his Wesleyan background. It was a joy to hear him talk about his work in the TV/film industry. He is a bright star for us that will be missed,” said Assistant Professor of Theater Maria-Christina Oliveras. (Sept. 22)

In Hartford Business Journal and the CT Mirror, Balazs Zelity, assistant professor of economics, discusses why higher-income communities are doing better now because their residents recovered faster from the recession and resumed spending, “A large fraction of the money a person spends ends up in the local economy,” Zelity said. “If a number of local residents re-start their spending, a virtuous cycle of spending will ensue, triggering a recovery. The more residents are in a position to participate in this process, the stronger and quicker the recovery will be.”

The Connecticut Post reports that a team of researchers led by Huffington Foundation Professor in the College of the Environment Fred Cohan and PhD candidate Fatai Olabemiwo has discovered new strains of bacteria located on campus that may have the ability to break down microplastics, and aid in the world’s ongoing plastic waste crisis. (Oct. 3)

 

Wesleyan Participates in Efforts to Protect Visiting Scholars

Henry Meriki

Henry Meriki

One day, back in 2019, three armed men came to Henry Dilonga Meriki’s house. He knew why they were there—they needed money to keep the fight against the Cameroon government going, or, they’d resort to kidnapping him. Anticipating the worst, Meriki put on warm clothes and shoes that would allow him to walk miles into the bush to their camps.

They were separatists, a group of English-speaking fighters who have been battling with the government of Cameroon for over five years.

He gave them about $180—down from $1,100 they asked for—to let him go. “We had to negotiate, and it’s better to negotiate with them because if you report them to the military, they can become violent,” said Meriki.

Academics like Meriki are a desirable and lucrative target. “So many of my colleagues have been kidnapped. Others have been killed for not respecting the rules of not teaching or not going to school,” said Meriki, a visiting assistant professor of molecular biology and biochemistry.

People from both sides were watching. Meriki had been warned not to teach on Mondays or to work at the local hospital, where he served as a laboratory scientist. The Anglophone separatists had called a “ghost town” for Mondays—in solidarity with their leaders in detention and to showcase the crises to the international community.

Residents of the Anglophone regions in Cameroon are careful to respect “ghost town” days. No social or economic activities are allowed. Disobeying these orders can attract retaliation from the separatist fighters. For many of the supporters of the resistance, it was presumed that people who traveled or disrespected these orders sympathized or were working with the government.

It was, for most residents, an impossible situation. “You have to sit on the fence because you must mind who you have a conversation with. That is how people survived in that area,” Meriki said.

In order to escape the danger, Meriki joined the Wesleyan faculty this Fall through the Scholar Rescue Fund, an international organization committed to protecting intellectuals. The Institute for International Education (IIE), an independent non-profit organization, started the fund in 2002 to formalize its commitment to protecting the lives, voices, and ideas of scholars around the globe.

Since 2002, the program has placed 925 scholars from 60 countries into 425 colleges and universities across the globe. Meriki will be at Wesleyan for at least a year. This is Wesleyan’s first time participating in the program.

Stephen Angle, Mansfield Freeman Professor of East Asian Studies and director of the Fries Center for Global Studies, approached the University administration two years ago with a desire to participate in this program. “What we do, fundamentally as an educational institution is to promote the ability to speak, write, and research freely. Academic freedom lies at the core of what we do,” Angle said.

Some academics are persecuted based on their beliefs or the nature of their research. Many others, like Meriki, are harassed because of their ethnic identities. “It is not ideas that they are always after. It can literally be the individual,” Angle said.

The conflict between English-speaking Cameroonians and the French-speaking government dates back to the end of colonial rule six decades ago. Over time, the French-speaking government sought to remove what was left of Anglophone culture, putting unjust laws in place.

The latest violence stemmed back to 2016 when lawyers went on strike to prevent the changes to the judicial system that would conduct all court cases in French, regardless of whether the accused and judicial officers speak the language. Teachers joined the strike shortly afterward to protest similar prohibitions in the classroom. “In the beginning, it was a peaceful protest,” Meriki said.

Government troops attacked protestors, killing an undetermined number, sparking further armed conflict. Meriki’s neighborhood quickly became a war zone. It was one of the few areas through which the Anglophone separatists could strike at government forces and retreat back into the bush. Machine guns were poised directly behind his home. He routinely heard gunfire and saw bodies in the street.

Meriki applied to the program in 2019, but the global pandemic and the closure of consulates and embassies around the world made it extremely difficult to get a visa. Now that he’s on campus, he will be given opportunities to teach, continue his research, and network with other academics.

Despite Wesleyan’s intervention, Meriki’s future is uncertain. At the moment his family is safe, away from the violence but threatened given the uncertainty. He misses them, but chats with them every day. “I am only praying that they continue to remain safe until the day they can join me here,” he said.

Ideally, he hopes the violence calms down and he can return safely to Cameroon. He wants to help rebuild the country. He wants to perform research that would help improve the health of his fellow Cameroonians, for example, he is already learning COVID-19 protocols at Wesleyan that would be helpful back home.

“This has been a welcoming place. Donald (Oliver, chair, molecular biology and biochemistry) has been helpful from the first day I got in. So has every other member of the department and human resources. They have helped me settle in,” said Meriki.

Meriki will hopefully be the first of many visiting scholars coming to Wesleyan from the world’s hotspots. Angle said the university is currently working with the organization Scholars at Risk to bring an Afghan academic and their family to Wesleyan. The timing of their arrival on campus is unknown, Angle said. “We are in a place of privilege and should be trying to do what we can in collaboration with similar institutions,” Angle said.