Scholars at Risk Advocacy Seminar

Student Group Photo for Scholars at Risk Participation Day
Illinois Wesleyan University students participate in Scholar's at Risk Youth Advocacy Day

Scholars at Risk Network

The Scholars at Risk Advocacy Seminar is a residential student organization that meets bi-weekly to research and advocate on behalf of an international scholar who has been unfairly imprisoned. Advocacy seminars are being held throughout the U.S. and in Europe, and in March, IWU students go to Washington, D.C., where they meet fellow students, and present their findings before House of Representative and Senate office staff members. Incarcerated scholars whose cases our students have recently researched have come from China, Iran, Thailand, Angola, and Russia.

If students would like to get involved, there are many ways to do so. To join Scholars at Risk, one must simply show up at one of the meetings which are held every other Wednesday in State Farm Hall 108 at 4pm. To get more information, email Professor Epstein at Other ways to get involved include, liking the Center for Human Rights and Social Justice at Illinois Wesleyan University Facebook page to keep up with potential updates and to follow organizations like Amnesty International to be aware of more information and potential letter writing campaigns. Organizations like Amnesty International and Scholars at Risk will always be a light shining into the darkness to give hope to those who do not have any.

2019-2020 Case

Gokarakonda Naga Saibaba, India

Professor Gokarakonda Naga Saibaba is a professor and human rights activist wrongfully convicted and sentenced to life in prison. Professor Saibaba is a scholar of English literature at Delhi University who has engaged in human rights activism on behalf of vulnerable populations in India, including tribal groups who suffer from poverty and human rights violations due to the prolonged conflict between India and the separatist Communist Party of India (Maoist), also known as CPI (Maoist). Professor Saibaba has been denied access to medical care despite ongoing medical complications.


Your Letters Defeat My Solitary Cell
I read your letters
in the glow of my blood
flowing from the chinks
of my broken heart
in the darkness of my cell.
I read your messages
of hope between the spaces
of the lines and the words
staring closely at the curves
of your scribbled letters
that dropped from your
beautiful fingers.
I read the expressions
on your face in the lines
when your scribbled them
inking your love
You letters smell
of your feeling
each word conveying
a million messages
to my hungry mind.
Yes, my love,
I like your scribbled letters
not the typed printouts from the computers
They speak like you
They behave like you
They display the gestures
of your hands when you speak
I keep your unwritten letters
that escape censorship
under my pillowless head.
I read them spreading on the table
of my soul in front of my closed eyes.
I defeat the purpose
of the solitary confinement
by drowning myself
in your letters of love.
18th May 2018
(written for Vasantha)