A University professor began a hunger strike Monday, protesting what he calls a culture of dishonesty in the administration.

Dezso Benedek, director of Asian languages, said he will remain outside Old College until University President Michael Adams answers questions about his accusations of incompetence and dishonesty by administrators. He said he will start teaching his classes at that location today. One of Benedek's students contacted The Red & Black about the hunger strike.

Benedek said last year the University stopped granting academic credit to University students participating in the Huangshan study abroad program in China.

Benedek said the program, created independently from the University, does not require approval from the administration. He said Huangshan University hosted the program, and he hand-picked every housing family, teacher and the teaching material.

Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Arnett Mace said the University will not approve the program because Huangshan University is not highly ranked compared to other Chinese schools.

"We're not going to accept transfer credits from an institution that we don't believe is equivalent to the University," Mace said in a telephone interview. "Whether it's independent or through the University, we still have the right and prerogative to accept or reject transfer credits."

Benedek received a letter from Adams Monday afternoon, stating "while I understand your desire for a swift resolution of this (Huangshan) issue, I am unwilling to approve your request without appropriate review and approval of this program through the standard processes."

Benedek said when he met with administrators they expected him to not be forthright with his students about the program's quality.

"They threatened to take away my position as director of the Asian languages," Benedek said. "They tried to make it seem as if I made this program without the University's permission."

Mace did not comment on Benedek's assertions of administration dishonesty.

"He needs to file grievance, not go on a hunger strike," said Tom Jackson, vice president for public affairs.

Benedek has quarreled with the administration before. He went on a hunger strike in 1998 and 1996 to expand the University language programs.

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