Today, May 7, 2007, at about 1:30 pm, Professor James Sherley was informed by an officer of the MIT Police that MIT's upper administration had ordered that MIT police officers be posted near his laboratory from now until his scheduled forced eviction from MIT on June 30. The reason given was to reduce anxiety among neighboring MIT laboratories as the announced date of Professor Sherley's unilateral forced eviction by Provost Rafael Reif approaches.
Professor Sherley expressed to the reporting officer that the appointment deadline issued by MIT Provost Rafael Reif is not legitimate for two main reasons. First and foremost, the June 30 deadline was issued by the provost before the agreement made with Professor Sherley by President Susan Hockfield that was the basis for the end of the February hunger strike protest. The hunger strike agreement rendered null and void the previous deadline. Second, in his original issuance, the provost made the deadline public, which is a violation of MIT personnel regulations. He made public Professor Sherley's confidential appointment information.
It was unfair persecution by Provost Reif, who is charged with obstruction of Professor Sherley's tenure grievance case, that precipitated Professor Sherley's hunger strike. Because of the provost's role in the dispute, the hunger strike agreement called for two other officers of MIT's upper administration to represent MIT in the resolution of differences.
However, President Hockfield never honor the agreement after it was sealed by an exchange of public statements on February 16, 2007. As outlined in an April 17 letter from Professor Sherley's faculty advocate, Professor Kenneth Manning, the provost has continually been enjoined by President Hockfield to derail the resolution proceedings. He has been threatening to unilaterally evict Professor Sherley, in gross violation of the agreed upon resolution process, since March 29 on a weekly basis.
Professor Sherley expressed to the MIT Police that he has no plans for leaving MIT, until the administration honors its February 16 agreement to provide him a fair external adjudication, tenure, or both. Thus far, the MIT Police have been a comfort to Professor Sherley's lab group, who are in the midst of setting up newly purchased analytical microscopes and molecular analysis equipment that will be employed in their NIH Pioneer Award Research on human adult stem cells. Although it seems that MIT's administration meant step up its practice of bullying and authoritarian intimidation, ironically, they have eased, for a time, some of the worries of this research program that they plot to destroy.