MIT Professor James Sherley Begins Hunger Strike Over Tenure

by Jennifer Lahl, CBC President on February 6, 2007

BOSTON — A black professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology began a hunger strike Monday to protest the university’s decision to deny him tenure — a decision he claims was based on racism.

James Sherley, 49, is known for his controversial theories about stem cells. He works with adult stem cells and opposes research using human embryonic stem cells, saying it amounts to taking human life.Sherley said he has tried unsuccessfully for two years to persuade MIT administrators to reverse a decision by his department head to reject his bid for tenure. He had warned school officials he would start the hunger strike Feb. 5 outside the office of MIT provost L. Rafael Reif.He stood outside Reif’s office for several hours Monday morning, accompanied by about 25 friends and supporters. He said he plans to ingest only water, vitamins and electrolyte supplements until MIT acknowledges racism played a role in the tenure decision. He said he would spend three hours each morning outside Reif’s office, then continue his research work in his lab in the afternoons.(Story continues below)

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