Imagine a community-wide book club where readers can meet the author and tap into the opinions of experts and the experiences of those who lived the book.

The West Virginia University Campus Read Committee has organized a series of events around “Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption,” and the community is encouraged to read the book and attend on of the events. Bryan Stevenson’s memoir was chosen because of its powerful themes of race, justice, and capital punishment.

“Stevenson found his calling to help death row inmates through an internship, and we believe that’s a message that will resonate with students. As we’ve shared the book with others, we’ve had such a great response that we’re encouraging the community to join the conversation” said Susan Jennings Lantz, chair of the Campus Read committee.

The issues of justice and punishment raised in the book will be explored across multiple disciplines. The public is invited to attend.

Sept. 11 Reception for Artist Jim Fogle
2 p.m. G20 Ming Hsieh Hall
Jim Fogle said painting was his salvation while he spent 34 years in prison for the murder of a 15-year-old girl he did not commit. He was exonerated in 2015 after the Innocence Projects in New York and Pennsylvania found new exculpatory DNA evidence. He and his attorney will discuss the case.

Sept. 12 – 30 Art Show by Jim Fogle
Monongalia Arts Center, 107 High Street
The public is invited to stop by and view his work.

Sept. 12 Campus Read Talk: Justice and Punishment
7-9 p.m. Mountainlair Ballroom
Panelists: Amy Cyphert, Director of Aspire and adjunct professor of law; Chelsea Fuller, WVU Alum and Senior Communication Associate for Youth Criminalization for the Advancement Project; Jessica Wolfendale, associate professor for the Department of Philosophy

Sept. 20 Panel Discussion on the film “Incarcerating US”
6 p.m. College of Law
With 2.3 million people behind bars, the U.S. has the largest prison population in the history of the world. This documentary exposes America’s prison problem and explores ways to unshackle the “Land of the Free” through vital criminal justice reforms.
Panelists: Betsy Jivinden, Assistant United States Attorney for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Northern District of West Virginia; and Eugene Brown, a former prisoner whose life is profiled in the movie “Life of a King.”

Sept. 23 – Oct. 2 “Race” a play by David Mamet
College of Creative Arts Gladys G. Davis Theater
Post-show discussions Sept. 29 and Oct. 2.
See the schedule

This is a play about three lawyers who are offered the chance to defend a white man charged with a crime against a black woman.

Oct. 7 Campus Read Talk: Justice and Mercy
5:30-7:30 p.m. College of Creative Arts Gladys G. Davis Theater
Panelists: Lisa Weihman, associate professor, Department of English; Katy Ryan, associate professor, Department of English and founder of the Appalachian Prison Book Project; Bryan McCannon, assistant professor, College of Business and Economics

Nov. 7 Author Bryan Stevenson
David C. Hardesty Jr. Festival of Ideas
7:30 p.m. Gold and Blue Ballrooms, Mountainlair
The author of “Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption,” shares personal experiences and truths about the American justice system.

Nov. 15–17 “Just Mercy” Film Festival
6-9 p.m. Gluck Theater in the Mountainlair
The following films will be shown: “West of Memphis,” a documentary detailing the fight to stop the state of Arkansas from executing an innocent man; “The Thin Blue Line,” a man was wrongly convicted for murder by a corrupt justice system in Texas; “To Kill a Mockingbird,” the classic story of Atticus Finch who defends a young black man wrongly accused of rape in the segregationist South.

Planning has begun for next year’s book. Nominations are accepted at the website.



CONTACT: Susan Lantz, chair, Campus Read Committee

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