because he was denied tenure (Globe story here). James Sherley claims that MIT denied him tenure due to racism, plain and simple. So, he ate a bowl of Chex cereal and then started his hunger strike in front of the Provost's office.
Wow. I wanted to learn more. So far I found this petition. But, alas, it didn't tell me much. Then, I discovered that Professor Sherley is an outspoken critic of therapeutic cloning (see also his Boston Globe op-ed). Critics of Sherley's op-ed claimed that his scientific claims were hogwash, and that the real motivation of his op-ed was theological.
Noam Chomsky called for a review of Professor Sherley's case.
All very interesting . . . and potentially explosive. What do you think?