CUNY DSI selects Dominicana activist/social researcher Ruth Pion Vizcaino as first Threatened Scholar Fellow

Ruth Pion Vizcaino, a social researcher, anthropologist and activist focusing on racial justice and gender equality in her homeland, is the CUNY Dominican Studies Institute’s (CUNY DSI) inaugural Threatened Scholars Fellow. She will spend the fall semester at The City College of New York-based CUNY DSI, benefitting from a safe space to continue working in favor of promoting cultural inclusiveness in the Dominican Republic.

Funded by the Mellon Foundation, the Threatened Scholars Fellowship Program was launched at CCNY this year. Two other Fellows in the 2023-2024 cohort will be announced later.

“We are pleased to welcome Ruth Pion Vizcaino to The City College of New York and grateful that the CUNY Dominican Studies Institute is able to support her important work on racial justice and gender equality,” said Andrew Rich, the Richard J. Henley and Susan L. Davis Dean of the Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership at CCNY. “The vital work of scholars and activists to develop and share knowledge and understanding without obstruction has never been more important, and we thank the Mellon Foundation for making this program possible. It serves as an important beacon for intellectual freedom and creativity in Dominican Studies.”

Ramona Hernandez, director of CUNY DSI, said Vizcaino would join a group of scholars working in Dominican and Latin American/Latino studies at CCNY. “She will have the opportunity to expand her scholarly work in a productive environment,” Hernandez added.

While at CCNY, Fellows will continue their research. They may teach one class open to undergraduate CCNY students, engage in scholarly activities, and participate in public events and conferences. Their experiences will be recorded as part of a documentary series about threatened scholars, and intellectual and academic freedom.

According to Pierre Losson, CUNY DSI associate director, the Threatened Scholars Fellowship Program seeks to broaden the scope of current conversations on censorship and suppression of civil liberties by examining the limits on people’s freedom to think and speak in fully established and long-lasting democratic nations, such as the Dominican Republic. 

“The call for applications was aimed at scholars, artists, journalists, and other producers of knowledge, who feel harassed, vulnerable, and in fear of losing their livelihood because their work challenges the status quo and the prevailing social order in Dominican society,” said Losson. “These threats may include the risk of losing job promotion, denying or delaying of loans sponsored by the government, discredit and harm of reputation in social media, loss of employment for unknown or unclear reasons, social isolation, and police harassment and brutality for participation in peaceful demonstrations, among others.”

The program will take place over three academic years, from fall 2023 through 2026. For additional information, please contact Losson at .

About the City College of New York
Since 1847, The City College of New York has provided a high-quality and affordable education to generations of New Yorkers in a wide variety of disciplines. CCNY embraces its position at the forefront of social change. It is ranked #1 by the Harvard-based Opportunity Insights out of 369 selective public colleges in the United States on the overall mobility index. This measure reflects both access and outcomes, representing the likelihood that a student at CCNY can move up two or more income quintiles. Education research organization Degree Choices ranks CCNY #1 nationally among universities for economic return on investment. In addition, the Center for World University Rankings places CCNY in the top 1.8% of universities worldwide in terms of academic excellence. Labor analytics firm Emsi puts at $1.9 billion CCNY’s annual economic impact on the regional econo-my (5 boroughs and 5 adjacent counties) and quantifies the “for dollar” return on in-vestment to students, taxpayers and society. At City College, more than 15,000 students pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees in eight schools and divisions, driven by significant funded research, creativity and scholarship. This year, CCNY launched its most expansive fundraising campaign, ever. The campaign, titled “Doing Remarkable Things Together” seeks to bring the College’s Foundation to more than $1 billion in total assets in support of the College mission. CCNY is as diverse, dynamic and visionary as New York City itself. View CCNY Media Kit.


Jay Mwamba
p: 917.892.0374