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)
- Jennifer Lahl, MA, BSN, RN, is founder and president of The Center for Bioethics and Culture Network. Lahl couples her 25 years of experience as a pediatric critical care nurse, a hospital administrator, and a senior-level nursing manager with a deep passion to speak for those who have no voice. Lahl’s writings have appeared in various publications including Cambridge University Press, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Dallas Morning News, and the American Journal of Bioethics. As a field expert, she is routinely interviewed on radio and television including ABC, CBS, PBS, and NPR. She is also called upon to speak alongside lawmakers and members of the scientific community, even being invited to speak to members of the European Parliament in Brussels to address issues of egg trafficking; she has three times addressed the United Nations during the Commission on the Status of Women on egg and womb trafficking.