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MIT prof mulls no-food strike as tenure protest December 24, 2006

Posted by C.A.R.D in Card, Citizens Against Racism and Discrimination, MIT, Racism, Racist.

An MIT professor is reportedly threatening to “die defiantly” in a hunger strike outside the provost’s office, if that’s what it takes, to overturn a university decision denying him tenure.

Dr. James Sherley, a professor of biological engineering at MIT who is black, contends “racist attitudes” on the part of his department colleagues were a key factor in the rejection of his bid to become a permanent member of the university’s faculty. MIT denies Sherley’s charges.

Now Sherley, who has already voiced his concerns to the local media, is preparing to ramp up his protests in a bid to both win tenure and force the resignation of Provost Robert Brown. 

In an open letter to fellow MIT professors that was posted on an Internet blog, Sherley is threatening to go forth with a planned hunger strike on Feb. 5 outside the provost’s office unless his demands are met. Sherley, who could not be reached for comment, is inviting fellow MIT colleagues to accompany him for moral support. The letter, corroborated by one source, was first reported online by the Boston Business Journal.

“I will either see the Provost resign and my hard-earned tenure granted at MIT, or I will die defiantly right outside his office,” Sherley writes. “This is the strength of my conviction that racism in America must end.”

A university spokeswoman declined comment on the letter, but released a statement responding to Sherley’s claims of being unfairly denied tenure.

“MIT has a well-established procedure for reviewing and granting tenure to faculty,” the statement read. “‘The process is thorough and extensive and we are confident it was followed with integrity in this case.”

     In his letter, Sherley cites examples of alleged racism at MIT. He contends he was deliberately denied his own “independent” lab space due to his race, even though the same privilege was granted to all his white colleagues. And he contends that racist motives prompted department superiors to deliberately mispresent his research.

C.a.r.d {Citizens Against Racism and Discrimination} Source: Boston Herald

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