Our fourth class of Fellows, selected from among a highly competitive pool, represents graduate students and faculty from across the country. This cohort will research complex topics such as the roles of campus whistleblowers and bias response teams, pornography and free speech and censorship in humanities curricula and academic museums and galleries. Their projects will include developing educational materials and programs that can serve as a roadmap to safeguarding and encouraging the robust exchange of ideas while simultaneously upholding the institutional values of equity and inclusion.
Learn more about the 2021-2022 class of Fellows and their work by watching this brief video:
Lynn Comella, Ph.D.
Professor, Gender and Sexuality Studies, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Research Title: "Stop Offending Me! Pornography, Free Speech, and Best Practices for Navigating Campus Controversies"
Lynn Comella, Ph.D., is an award-winning researcher and expert on the adult entertainment industry. She is the author of Vibrator Nation: How Feminist Sex-Toy Stores Changed the Business of Pleasure (Duke, 2017) and co-editor of New Views on Pornography: Sexuality, Politics, and the Law (Praeger, 2015). She is the current co-chair of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies Adult Film History Scholarly Interest Group, and a member of the editorial advisory boards for the Routledge journal Porn Studies and the University of Edinburgh’s “Screening Sex” book series. Her research has been featured nationally and internationally in outlets that include the New York Times, Washington Post, The Atlantic, Rolling Stone, Playboy, ABC Nightline, Sydney Morning Herald, Weekendavisen, De Tijd and more. She was the recipient of the 2015 Nevada Regents’ Rising Researcher Award in recognition of early career accomplishments.
Lecturer, Fordham University
Research Title: "The Humanities Classroom: A Guide to Free and Responsible Inquiry"
Carlo DaVia is a Lecturer in Philosophy at Fordham University, where he also completed his doctorate in Philosophy and master’s degree in Classics. In the summers he is an instructor of classical languages at the CUNY Latin/Greek Institute. During the 2020-21 academic year, he is on leave in order to be a Visiting Scholar at UCLA, as well as a researcher at the Deutsches Literaturarchiv Marbach under a DAAD Research Grant. His areas of specialization are ancient philosophy, ethics, and phenomenology.
Carlo is currently working on a number of scholarly articles in those fields, as well as two book projects. The first book, The Event of Meaning (co-authored with Gregory Lynch and under review at Cambridge University Press), attempts to explain the underlying structures that make possible our finding meaningful cultural objects like literary texts and historical artifacts. The second book, tentatively titled Understanding in a Culture of Cancel, tries to provide some guidelines for how we can better understand such cultural objects despite our living in a cancel culture that is deeply suspicious of the possibility that other people, particularly those who do not look or live as we do, have anything meaningful to tell us.
Postdoctoral Fellow, Edmond J Safra Center for Ethics, Harvard University
Research Title: "Growing the Intercollegiate Civil Disagreement Partnership (ICDP)"
Jacob Fay is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, attached to the Center’s Democratic Knowledge Project Design Studio. There, he heads the Intercollegiate Civil Disagreement Partnership, multi-institution collaboration that trains students to facilitate conversations across political difference with their peers. As a scholar, he is at work developing a political theory of injustice. This project is an extension of his dissertation, Education and Injustice, which won the 2020 Kuhmerker Dissertation Award from the Association for Moral Education. Fay is co-editor with Meira Levinson of Democratic Discord in Schools: Cases and Commentaries (2019) and Dilemmas of Educational Ethics: Cases and Commentaries (2016). Prior to his appointment as a postdoctoral fellow, Fay was a visiting assistant professor at Bowdoin College. He has been a 2017-2018 Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics Pedagogy Fellow, a 2016-2017 Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics Graduate Fellow, and a member of the 2013-2014 Spencer Foundation Philosophy of Education Institute. He holds an Ed.D and M.Ed from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and an MA in American History from Brandeis University. Undergirding all of his work and research are his experiences as a middle school history teacher.
Ph.D. candidate, Higher Education and Organizational Change, UCLA
Research Title: "Let’s Talk about Race: Conversation on Race, Anti-Blackness, and Civic Identity in Post-2020 Times"
Matthew Griffith is a 4th year Ph.D. candidate at UCLA in Higher Education and Organizational Change. His research interest centers on diversity leaders, institutional politics, and how power and agency function in organizations. For example, his dissertation will study chief diversity officers’ networks to reveal institutional power dynamics and issues with agency within their organization. More broadly, my research seeks to explore and improve the efficacy of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) policy, implementation, and strategy.
Prior to pursuing his doctorate, Matthew worked as an administrator in the University of California system. Most recently, he served as the Manager for Strategic Diversity Initiatives at the UC Office of the President, where he led systemwide efforts to improve campus-based diversity, equity, and inclusion issues and developed external, strategic partnerships in order to further diversify and build opportunity pathways for UC faculty, staff, and students.
Beyond his diversity work, Matthew has remained committed to engaged scholarship and teaching. Most notably, during his UCLA tenure, he was the lead graduate researcher and coordinator for the UCLA Prison Education Program, where he worked with UCLA students and currently incarcerated students on research and legislative projects to increase access to higher education for incarcerated individuals. Currently, he teaches the 195CE Community Engagement and Social Change course through UCLA’s Center for Community Engagement– an upper division, experiential learning undergraduate course.
Born and raised in the city of Detroit, Michigan, he is a proud and sometimes overzealous graduate of Detroit Public Schools and the University of Michigan.
Professor and Director, The Brechner Center for Freedom of Information, University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications
Research Title: "Whistleblower Protection in Higher Education: A California Case Study"
Frank LoMonte is a professor at the University of Florida, where he teaches media law and runs the Brechner Center for Freedom of Information, a think-tank dedicated to producing practical research about the law of access to civically essential information. At the Brechner Center, he serves as publisher of The Journal of Civic Information, a quarterly peer-reviewed journal of practical scholarship, and as executive producer of "Why Don't We Know," a podcast focusing on secrecy in government. He previously worked for nine years as executive director of the Student Press Law Center in Washington, D.C., providing legal support for journalism students and educators facing press freedom issues.
LoMonte is a 2000 magna cum laude graduate of the University of Georgia School of Law, clerked for federal judges on the Eleventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals and the Northern District of Georgia, and practiced law with Sutherland LLP in Atlanta. During 2014, LoMonte taught as the Otis Brumby Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Georgia School of Law. Before becoming a lawyer, LoMonte worked as an investigative reporter and political columnist for newspapers in Florida and Georgia. His research on First Amendment and open-government issues has been widely published in scholarly journals including the Case Western Reserve Law Review, Kansas Law Review, Nebraska Law Review and others, and he is the legal correspondent for the Poynter Institute on issues of press freedom and accessibility of information.
Ryan A. Miller, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership and Higher Education Program Director, University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Research Title: "Bias Response Teams and Emerging Alternatives: Navigating Free Speech, Equity, and Inclusion in Higher Education"
Ryan A. Miller, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership and Higher Education Program Director at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, where he teaches courses on higher education leadership, college student development, and student affairs administration. His research interests focus on (1) the institutionalization of diversity and equity initiatives within colleges and universities, including bias response teams, and (2) the experiences of minoritized social groups in higher education, with emphasis on identities of disability, sexuality, and gender, as well as intersecting social identities. Miller has published more than 30 journal articles and book chapters in outlets including The Review of Higher Education, Journal of College Student Development, and Journal of Diversity in Higher Education.
Miller received the 2016 Melvene D. Hardee Dissertation of the Year award from NASPA for his research about LGBTQ students with disabilities and the 2019 Early Career Faculty award from the UNC Charlotte Cato College of Education. He was recently named an Emerging Scholar (2021-2023) by ACPA College Student Educators International. Prior to becoming a faculty member, Miller worked professionally in higher education for eight years in the areas of student affairs, bias response, federal TRiO programs, LGBTQ affairs, affirmative action/EEO, intergroup dialogue, and institutional research. Nationally, he serves as program chair for the Council for the Advancement of Higher Education Programs, associate editor of the College Student Affairs Journal, and editorial board member for the Journal of College Student Development and Journal of Student Affairs Research and Practice.
Associate Professor, Department of Public Administration, Clark Atlanta University
Research Title: "Evaluation of Free Speech and Civic Engagement on Historically Black College and University (HBCU) Campuses for 2020 Social Justice Summer and General Election"
Dr. Teri Platt is currently an Associate Professor of Public Administration, Faculty Associate for the Center for Cancer Research and Therapeutic Development, and the Director of the Isabella T. Jenkins Honors Program at Clark Atlanta University. She has over 15 years of teaching experience in public policy, research methodologies, and American government. Dr. Platt actively supports student voter and civic engagement through partnerships and collaboration with the Andrew Goodman Foundation, ALL IN Democracy Challenge, and as a member of the advisory board for the Students Learn, Students Vote coalition. The research of Dr. Platt explores the intersections of social determinants of health, civic engagement, and self-efficacy. Dr. Platt has presented over 25 professional papers on topics ranging from analysis of political leadership, the political implications of demographic shifts in urban areas, and policy analyses of federal and local policies designed to address urban decline. Her upcoming book titled People and Places: Urban Political Landscapes in America provides a comprehensive assessment of the impacts and implications that demographic and population shifts over time on city politics and urban policy agendas.
Professor of the History of Art, State University of New York - Fashion Institute of Technology
Research Title: "A Study of Freedom of Artistic Expression in Academic Art Museums and Galleries"
Amy Werbel serves as Professor of the History of Art at the State University of New York-Fashion Institute of Technology. For the past twenty years, her research has concentrated on censorship at the intersections of law and culture, and particularly in relationship to freedom of artistic and sexual expression. Her most recent book, Lust on Trial: Censorship and the Rise of American Obscenity in the Age of Anthony Comstock (Columbia University Press, 2018), was awarded the 2019 Peter C. Rollins Book Prize of the Northeast Popular and American Culture Association. Werbel's previous book publications include Thomas Eakins: Art, Medicine, and Sexuality in Nineteenth-Century Philadelphia (Yale University Press, 2007), which was designated an “Outstanding Academic Title” by Choice magazine. Professor Werbel has lectured nationally and internationally on the damaging impact of censorship not only on artistic expression but also on pluralism and democracy more generally, including during two appointments as a Fulbright Scholar to China (2011-2012) and to the United Kingdom (2019-2020). She was honored to receive the 2018-2019 State University of New York Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Scholarship.
Dr. Werbel has been awarded fellowships and scholarships by numerous institutions, including the Frick Center for the History of Collecting, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, and Metropolitan Museum of Art. She earned her Bachelor’s degree at Harvard and Radcliffe Colleges and her MA and PhD degrees at Yale University.