Defeated: Students Starve For Janitors No More, Hunger Strike Ends, Janitors Still Fired

Yay food.

A group of students from Tufts University ended their weeklong hunger strike Saturday afternoon despite, or maybe because of, their inability to affect change at the school.

The group of students had been conducting a hunger strike to secure the jobs of 35 janitors the school had decided to layoff in order to move the $900,000 saved to core educational purposes, according to the Inquisitr.

The Tufts Labor Coalition, the group of student conducting the hunger strike, had also occupied the area outside the main administration building last week in an attempt to save the janitor’s jobs.

Hunger striker Zoe Jeka told the Boston Globe the students ended the hunger strike for health reasons and they’re now on a diet of miso broth and Gatorade until they’re ready for solid food.

“This is a long-term fight, fighting the exploitation of workers. We wish we didn’t have to stop, but we wish we didn’t have to start in the first place.”

Four of the students had been fasting for 120 hours, according to ABC News.

The hunger strike began last Sunday afternoon when four University students decided to fast to support the beleaguered janitors.

Tufts students end hunger strike
Tufts Univ May 5: Students from Tufts University attend a protest to halt janitor layoffs.
Photo by Tufts Labor Coalition

Even though it was the start of final exams, dozens of other students joined in the hunger strike by doing daylong fasts to show their support.

The hunger strikers, who view themselves as part of the larger labor movement, drew as many as 100 supporters to their impromptu camp during their protest.

When campus administrators went home for the weekend Friday afternoon the students said they began to wonder if the school was concerned for their health.

Student hunger strikers wanted the administration to agree not to fire any janitors until their contract is renegotiated in July 2016 and they were frustrated when the school didn’t agree to their demands.

Tufts Executive Vice President Patricia Campbell told NewsMax Tufts spends more on cleaning than other universities.

The Boston area college costs some $61,000 a year to attend, according to the Daily Caller.

Tufts spokeswoman Kim Thurler told the Boston Globe the university welcomed the end of the hunger strikes.

“Our students’ safety has always been a priority. We will continue to work towards an appropriate and thoughtful restructuring of our custodial services.”

The hunger strikers said they’ll continue their protest in other forms including targeting upcoming graduation activities.

Just before the hunger strike other students were arrested along with union protestors for blocking traffic during a rally to save the janitors.

Photo by Sofia Adams/Tufts Labor Coalition/Facebook