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« Former MIT president, student paper counter Sherley | Main | Beth Israel Deaconess lures hot-shot cancer geneticist »

Friday, February 16, 2007

MIT professor ends hunger strike

James L. Sherley, an African-American MIT professor who was denied tenure, ended his 12-day hunger strike at noon today, but he told the MIT administration his demands for tenure and action to address perceived racism on campus are still on the table.

"Starting today, I will in fact break my fast, in celebration of the attention that has been brought to bear on issues of equity, diversity, and justice at MIT and in higher education," he wrote in a statement posted on the university's website.

"Carefully modified from the original, my demands are still on the table. I urge the administration to act in good faith, to openly acknowledge and respond to the lines of communication and negotiation that have been in place for two weeks and to find its way to meet these demands," Sherley's statement said.

MIT "will continue to work toward resolution of our differences with Professor Sherley," according to a statement posted with Sherley's on MIT's website.

"Professor Sherley's protest has focused attention on the effects that race may play in the hiring, advancement and experience of under-represented minority faculty, and on ensuring that our grievance processes are comprehensive, fair and timely. MIT is fully committed to addressing these issues and will continue to work toward resolution of our differences with Professor Sherley," the MIT statement said.

MIT has said that it has reviewed its decision to deny tenure to Sherley, a stem cell scientist, and that the decision is final.

"We will continue to talk out our differences," said Patti Richards, an MIT spokesperson.

Sherley began his protest Feb. 5 outside the offices of MIT President Susan Hockfield and Provost Rafael Reif, and said in an e-mail yesterday that he had lost 20 pounds.

Posted by Elizabeth Cooney at 01:28 PM
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