Hunger Strike Ovah!

Uri ends hunger strike.

Lecturer at the University of Texas Uri Horesh ended his hunger strike on Sunday. Sad. Tears.

May we at the Gay Place say: You gave 'em hell, and bon chance in your future endeavors!

But good for Horesh's health. Here's the email he sent out:

Dear Everyone,
I have come to a difficult decision this afternoon. I am ending my hunger strike.
I do so with some guilt and a lot of frustration that my measures have not served as leverage with the powers that be at UT to urgently move for a change that would ensure equality in our community.
However, I believe that my actions have achieved several significant goals, most of which I had not been aware would be possible when I began my fast:

1. The media has given us the light of day. The devoted reporters and editors at the Daily Texan have helped not only shed light on the developments, but also voiced a resounding stance in favor of equality on campus. It was extremely encouraging to read that the primary publication of the future generation of scholars at UT was on the side of progress and justice. The Austin American-Statesman followed suit by spreading the word to the rest of Central Texas, and so did three local television stations: Fox 7, KXAN (NBC affiliate) and News 8 Austin. Once the word was out in these formal media outlets, it kept spreading through a plethora of queer web sites, blogs and listservs.
2. Your support has been overwhelming, and a reason for me to maintain my hunger strike over the past few days despite physical urges to begin eating. Students, fellow faculty, staff members, citizens far and near -- the diversity of the people expressing their solidarity and pledging to carry the torch was exactly what this struggle is about. I can't begin to thank all the people who have written to or spoken with me. The short notes I have sent each such supporter will never suffice.
3. Involvement and visibility: from now on, same-sex spousal benefits at the University of Texas is an issue at the forefront of the public discussion in this community. The University must now be accountable, not only to this or that group of activists, but to over 70 thousand people on the UT Austin campus, to the people of Austin and Texas, to gay bloggers worldwide, to Equality Texas and the ACLU. Basically to everyone. The people in charge of diversity and institutional equity at UT will now have to begin delivering their promise and live up to their job titles. Because we are now a large group, a diverse one at that, of people who are on the lookout.

One more personal, somewhat apologetic, note:
During this week of struggle I received a job offer from another academic institution. One which, naturally, offers same-sex partner benefits. I am very likely to accept their offer and have notified my supervisors at UT that I will not be working at UT after the end of the current semester. In addition, I am in the final stages of completing my dissertation in linguistics at the University of Pennsylvania, and I cannot afford to further hinder my progress on that project. Not eating was not helpful in that respect. I wish I could do more, but my physical weakness, alongside my personal obligations, have dictated to me that we must continue this struggle without the hunger strike. I believe it has exhausted its leverage, but the struggle for justice is by no means over.

In Solidarity,

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