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Virginia safety Joseph Williams ends hunger strike after eight days

Graham Watson
Dr. Saturday

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Joseph Williams' hunger strike is over.

On Monday at 10 p.m., Williams, a Virginia football player, ended his strike so he could focus on his studies and prepare for a weeklong service trip to Belize next week.

Williams, as part of the Living Wage Campaign, was protesting the wages of the University of Virginia's service-sector employees. As of Tuesday, 18 students were on strike and the Living Wage Campaign is supposed to meet with university officials later this week, the second time this week.

Williams decided to go light for his first meal — miso soup and sushi. It was a far healthier meal that the one that kicked off the strike - a double-quarter-pounder with cheese and some chicken nuggets from McDonald's.

"It felt good," Williams told The Washington Post. "I got full a lot quicker. I ate really fast. I guess I was just really excited to be eating again. I was kind of queasy a little bit for a while, but I got over it."

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(Living Wage Campaign)

Williams' hunger strike lasted eight days and it was not without some concern from football coaches. After seeing Williams, a free safety, on the evening news, defensive coordinator Jim Reid called him and asked him about his commitment to the football team.

"They said I had an obligation to my team and I wasn't necessarily fulfilling that," Williams told the Washington Post. "They also expressed some disappointment in my involvement to a certain level."

Williams was undeterred and ultimately lost 12 pounds during his fast.

Williams told the Post that the hunger strike had taken a toll on his mental state and that he needed to be fresh for two midterm exams and three term papers due this week. On Friday, Williams is leading 10 people on a service trip to Belize.

"I really want to be mentally and physically prepared when I leave the country because I'm going to be responsible for 10 other people," Williams told the Post. "I really wanted to be back into the swing of eating and getting nourishment in my body before I left the country."

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