College Students Starve For Janitors, Tufts Univ Students Go On Hunger Strike To Protest Janitor Layoffs

Tufts University students conduct hunger strike over janitorial layoffs

Baby boomers look at the millennial generation and say they’re lazy, apathetic, and only care about themselves, but at least one group of college students is challenging that perception by staging a social justice movement.

Sunday, five college students from Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts, began a hunger strike to protest upcoming janitorial layoffs.

Tufts University administrators plan to layoff at least 35 of the school’s 207 janitors, 17 percent of the workforce, and move the money saved to core educational projects, according to the Inquisitr.

Freshman hunger striker Arismer Angeles told the Boston Globe the students were conducting the hunger strike because they understood the janitor’s plight.

“It resonates with me because my mother is an assistant teacher, part of the workforce, and my father is a mechanic. We’re a working-class family.”

The Tufts students see themselves as part of the larger labor struggle and point to the recent fast food strikes as evidence of a growing national movement.

One of the hunger strikers, Zoe Jeka, told CBS News that the students were protesting because the janitor’s couldn’t — their contract prohibits them from going on strike.

“I’m really not sure how long it will take, but I’m willing to strike until I’m hospitalized.”

The Tufts Labor Coalition, the student group organizing the hunger strike, has set up tents outside the main administrative building and vowed to occupy the location until their demands are met.

The student’s hunger strike started at the beginning of final exams, but coalition members have vowed to stay as long as is necessary.

The hunger strikers drew as many as 100 allies and supporters as administration officials met with the group during the third day of the protest in an effort to end the hunger strike.

Dozens of other Tufts students are participating in daylong fasts to show their solidarity with the hunger strikers.

University spokeswoman Kim Thurler told the Boston Globe Tufts University was working to end the hunger strike.

“A number of students are camping outside in support of the… custodians who work on Tufts’ campuses. They are free to do so as long as they do not interfere with university operations or activities. There are no restrictions on their ability to access food or come and go. We are aware that some students have informed the media of a planned hunger strike, but we hope that all participants will be mindful of their health and safety.”

Last week, four Tufts students and three union activists were arrested for blocking traffic as they protested against the janitorial cuts.

[Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images]