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Missouri Student Ends Hunger Strike, Calls Situation 'Vile'

Jonathan Butler had protested against campus prejudice
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 9, 2015 3:00 PM CST
Missouri Student Ends Hunger Strike, Calls Situation 'Vile'
Jonathan Butler addresses a crowd following the announcement that University of Missouri System President Tim Wolfe would resign, Monday, Nov. 9, 2015, at the university in Columbia, Mo.   (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

(Newser) – Jonathan Butler can finally savor a good meal—and the taste of victory. The 25-year-old University of Missouri graduate student, who began a hunger strike on Nov. 2, posted a tweet Monday in the wake of school President Tim Wolfe's resignation: "The #MizzouHungerStrike is officially over!" Butler also addressed a buoyant crowd about their months of protests against racism and sexism on campus, the New York Times reports. "It should not have taken this much, and it is disgusting and vile that we find ourselves in the place that we do," Butler said. He became central to the campaign when he announced that he would consume no "food or nutritional sustenance" until Wolfe was out or Butler's "internal organs fail and my life is lost," the Missourian reported at the time.

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Butler found powerful allies when black players on the Missouri football team, and then the coaching staff, refused to play with Wolfe as president, Gawker reports. (Gawker notes that coach Gary Pinkel earns $4 million per year and Wolfe less than $500,000.) "It was really heartwarming and encouraging really because I didn’t think that I had people in my corner in the beginning," Butler told the Washington Post on Sunday. What drove Butler to take such drastic action, which he says gave him pain, shortness of breath, and wildly fluctuating body temperatures? "The campus climate here at the University of Missouri is an ugly one," says Butler. "I'm on a campus where people feel free to call people the n-word, where people feel free as recently as last week, to used [their] own feces to smear a swastika in a residential hall. Everything that glitters is not gold." (Read more racism stories.)

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