Students end hunger strike; sit-in continues

On April 20, Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton talked briefly with the Student Worker Alliance protestors to reiterate that he is prepared to meet with them after they discontinue their sit-in at South Brookings Hall and Brookings Quadrangle — as previously agreed.

He also told them that the University has begun to implement its plan to address the issues they have raised and hoped they would become part of this process. This process started April 19 with an initial meeting of University employees who have responsibility for working with service contractors.

On April 16, Wrighton met directly with four student representatives for the students conducting the sit-in at South Brookings Hall and Brookings Quadrangle.

Conditional on the students’ agreement to immediately end their hunger strike and sit-in, the group had reached an understanding on several issues, including resources, future meetings and the resolution of sanctions for violations of the University’s Judicial Code.

The four students agreed to both the terms of the discussion and the predetermined conditions for going forward with the understanding that had been reached.

However, others outside of the meeting took the position that they could further alter this agreement and yet still receive the new proposals put forward by the University.

The Student Worker Alliance’s last-minute alterations and additions were unacceptable in substance and because they represented a retraction of their earlier agreement.

Wrighton then removed the University’s new proposals from consideration and said that the University would proceed with the plan announced April 14.

Consequently, none of what happened in the meeting on April 16 is currently under consideration, due to the failure of the sit-in participants to proceed with their commitment to end the sit-in. Wrighton delivered this message to the sit-in participants late (on April 16) and again gave them the opportunity to reaffirm their commitment to cease their sit-in.

They declined to do so and decided to continue the sit-in, although they did end their hunger strike.

The University has talked frequently with the students from the very outset, and has earnestly and patiently sought a resolution of the issues they have raised.

“As chancellor, I have a responsibility to all of our students and the entire University community, not just to the students occupying South Brookings,” Wrighton said in an e-mail to the University community April 18.

“In good faith, we have provided a plan and a process that begins to address the wage and benefit concerns for lower-paid contract workers. I hope all in our University community will join us in working toward its implementation.”

At Record presstime (5 p.m. April 20), the sit-in students were still occupying South Brookings Hall and Brookings Quadrangle.

Updates and Wrighton’s e-mails to the University community on this issue are available online at