One of my comrades from the University of Pittsburgh died last week. His name was Dr. Richard Tobias and he was an English professor. Toby, as we called, him was the chair of the University’s Anti-discrimination Policy committee. He would make us meet at 8 am once a month. As the committee’s only undergrad I was usually slumped at the table at such an hour, but Toby would engage the group, ask for my opinion, and treat me like anyone else at the table (except for the Chancellor’s spies, which no one cared to talk to.)
Toby could run rings around the administration that caused so many problems for the workers of Pitt. Every time the Chancellor and his dogs would do something, Toby was the first to jump to the floor and point out the glaring injustices. He stood on the front lines fighting tooth and name for healthcare for all Pitt employees. When no one wanted to come to another evening planning meeting for the domestic partner healthcare benefits campaign, Toby would show up, only asking for a ride home in return. Toby was true gentleman and a great fighter for many people.
Toby, I’ll miss you, but if I have half the energy you had when I am 81, the fight will still be strong.