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Virginia S Joseph Williams Hunger Striking for University Workers

College campuses are a great reflection of the country’s political heartbeat.

With last fall’s nation-wide Occupy protests, we saw that many college-aged people were upset with the direction in which our country is headed and were willing to act.

Virginia Cavaliers safety Joseph Williams has taken things a step further.

According to reports, the junior is engaged in a hunger strike to protest the poor treatment of the University’s service-sector employees.

An organization called the Living Wage Campaign organized the strike, and Williams composed an essay about why he decided to join.

Here is an excerpt (credit here to Yahoo Sports):

Our University seeks to distinguish itself as a caring community and prides itself on traditions of honor and student self-governance. However, in our “caring community,” hundreds of contract employees may make as little as $7.25/hour while six out of the top ten highest paid state employees in Virginia hold administrative positions at the University.

Many employees, mostly women and African Americans, do not receive enough pay for their basic necessities to exist in Charlottesville, where the cost of living is nearly 10% higher than the national average.

This extreme inequality has disturbed and disillusioned students for decades, many of whom have tried to grapple with issues of race, class, and poverty in and out of the classroom.

This is well thought out discourse by an intelligent young man who realizes there is more than what lies between the lines in Charlottesville.

One of the highest paid employees in the state of Virginia is EVP and Provost, Dr. Arthur Garson Jr. who takes home a salary of $706,800 a year.

Paul Mahoney, the University’s Dean, and Stephen Dekosky, the Medical Dean at Virginia are also within the top six.

To act on one’s ideals is not an easy thing, and you have to respect Joseph
Williams for doing so. ┬áBeing engaged in a hunger strike which calls out the pay disparity on one’s own campus is an act of bravery.

Kudos to Joseph Williams for having the backbone to do something about which many others would only talk.

H/T to Yahoo! Sports’ Dr. Saturday.


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