A Pennsylvania college professor is embarking on a hunger strike because the college’s president denied him tenure.
Juan Rojo, an assistant professor of Spanish language and literature at Lafayette College, announced his plan to faculty and said he would only consume water and sports drinks until the issue is resolved, according to The Lafayette, the college’s student newspaper.
He plans to continue teaching through the end of the semester, but the strike will not be discussed in class.
“I have long ago come to terms with the notion that life is not fair. This process, however, is not about fairness. It is about right and wrong. It’s about what is just and what role we as faculty play in our own governance,” Rojo said in statement to faculty posted on Facebook.
Even though two separate faculty committees recommended that Rojo receive tenure, college President Alison Byerly denied his tenure because of concerns about his teaching abilities, Lehigh Valley Live reported.
Rojo said that tenure should be decided by the faculty, as stated in the college’s faculty handbook, and that a president’s veto should not override the faculty decision.
However, unless he is granted tenure, Rojo will have to look elsewhere for a job after the end of the school year.
Rojo told Lehigh Valley Live that he cannot afford legal action against the school, and said he will have to either uproot his family or choose another career.
“I am fully aware that this course of action may well limit other academic employment opportunities for me. But I cannot stand here and accept this decision that is contrary to the principles of self-governance on which this college and this faculty are founded,” Rojo said.
The college released a statement to Lehigh Valley Live saying that it respects Rojo’s right to disagree with the decision, but hopes “he will express his views in a way that does not endanger his health.”