MIT Prof and UC stem cell bete noir Jim Sherley is starting a hunger strike today for the purpose of ending racism at MIT and advancing his hopeless case for tenure. One of these positions is more noble than the other. Anyone out there with some inside poop-scoop from MIT? We’re looking at a particular someone with our eye-spy.
UC adds from the Boston Globe online article:
“How can we accept that we have so many well-trained people and so few are tenured?”
“What I have discussed here is that if you are African-American, part of a minority group, it is acceptable for you to have insufficient lab space … and it is allowable for your accomplishments to be ignored.”
The official email response from Chancellor Phillip Clay:
To MIT Students:
This morning, Professor James L. Sherley has begun a fast to express his disagreement with the decision not to promote him to tenure and with the outcome of his grievance process. Three reviews have concluded that the tenure process in his case was fair and proper and that there is no evidence that race influenced the process. The Provost has reviewed the history of the case in a recent letter to the faculty, which is available at .
We take seriously, and are gravely concerned by, Professor Sherley’s
intentions. While we have encouraged him to seek other means to express his views, the Institute will respect his right, as a member of our community, to publicly express his disagreement in a manner that does not disrupt the work of the Institute or put others in the community at risk.
I am writing to you for three reasons. First, I ask all of you to respect Professor Sherley’s right to disagree publicly, regardless of your own views about the case. I also ask you to respect each other’s views about the case. Respect for free expression is an important value in our community, and benefits all of us.
At the same time, I am aware that many members of our community do not
understand how the tenure process works. Over the next few days, we will provide a number of venues to discuss the tenure process and related matters. I invite those of you with concerns about the process to take advantage of these opportunities to take part in an important community dialogue.
Finally, I urge you to consider our community values. We are committed to creating and sustaining a community that is diverse in many important ways: in race and ethnicity, in gender, and in economic, cultural, and national backgrounds. While we have much to celebrate in these domains, we must continue to explore how we can do better and how we can maintain an environment in which we can all thrive and in which we can take pride. Your efforts to advance diversity, in your student communities and in your relationships, are important contributions to our community.
Phillip L. Clay