Still hungry for tenure...

This just in from freelance reporter Ishani Ganguli: More than a week into his linkurl:tenure-or-bust hunger strike;http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/40635/, MIT associate professor James Sherley reports he has lost 14 pounds but none of his resolve to reverse what he alleges was a racism-driven decision to deny him tenure. Sherley, who has ingested only water and multivitamins since February 5, told The Scientist he is feeling weak but otherwise okay. The African-American stem cell r

By | February 16, 2007

This just in from freelance reporter Ishani Ganguli: More than a week into his linkurl:tenure-or-bust hunger strike;http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/40635/, MIT associate professor James Sherley reports he has lost 14 pounds but none of his resolve to reverse what he alleges was a racism-driven decision to deny him tenure. Sherley, who has ingested only water and multivitamins since February 5, told The Scientist he is feeling weak but otherwise okay. The African-American stem cell researcher continues to spend three hours each morning in the hall outside Provost L. Rafael Reif's office, accompanied by his wife. At 10 am each day, he gives a talk to passing students and faculty members about his protest (titles in the linkurl:series;http://pgen.us/Tenth_Hour_Talks_Schedule2.html have so far included "I'm hungry for the end of racism. What about you?"; and "Racism and embryoism, two forgotten human rights"). Sherley said he's gotten both "nasty" and supportive Emails from MIT faculty. Eleven of them, including Noam Chomsky, called for re-assessment of Sherley's tenure case in a linkurl:letter;http://www.boston.com/yourlife/health/blog/2007/02/chomsky_calls_f.html published on February 5. The same day, 20 professors in Sherley's department issued a linkurl:statement;http://www.boston.com/yourlife/health/blog/2007/02/mit_faculty_res_1.html saying that race did not play a role in the tenure decision. Sherley remains unhappy about the handling of his case: He recently rejected an offer from minority faculty members to help appoint a liaison between himself and the administration, saying that these faculty members had not been supportive of him in the past. Though he has taken his demands down a notch for Provost Reif's fate -- he says he will now be satisfied with censure of the provost rather than dismissal of the provost -- he's not willing to budge on the question of his own tenure. "If you have a process that is riddled with lack of integrity, with racism, [victims of the process] should be automatically tenured," he said. Sherley said he believes discussion sparked by his efforts may inspire others on campus to go on hunger strike. "This is not for James Sherley," he said. "This is about ending racism." -Ishani Ganguli

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