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The Ruckus at Gallaudet

The kids at Gallaudet are busy quoting from the Federalist Papers, citing Madison on how the existence of antagonistic factions in any political system leads to the infringement of other people's rights.

This is heady stuff, and everywhere I've gone in the last couple of days, some people seem thrilled by the campus revolt at the nation's premiere college for the deaf. Gallaudet students have taken over the school's main academic building and are demanding that the university trustees reopen their search for a new president.

But Gallaudet has already chosen a new prexy, its former provost, Jane Fernandes, and it's hard to imagine the trustees scrapping that decision because a bunch of students disagree with the choice.

Still, the rare sight of a student protest shutting down a college campus has been taken by some as a stirring and encouraging sign of political passion when most campuses remain strangely silent despite a war gone bad, disturbing displacements in the economy and the ever-looming prospect of further terrorist attacks.

On the other hand, the Gallaudet uprising--the latest in a series--also seems to be a reflection of the self-righteous and self-centered upbringing that is all too common in this generation. The Gallaudet protesters seem to believe that the university ought to have ceded to students the right to select, or at least to play a role in selecting, the college president. This is a grandiose and wildly unrealistic sense of how the world works and of how it should work.

One student protester quoted in a Post story by Nikita Stewart was wearing a blue plastic bracelet that read, "Nothing About Us Without Us," a bauble the student had received from the American Association of People With Disabilities. "There should not be any decision made without us," the student told the Post.

Well, actually, trustees of a university have no reason to give students a say in who becomes president. It is of course politic and even helpful to consult with students as part of a broad review of campus views before choosing a new leader, but that's a far cry from giving students a seat at the decision table.

But the situation at Gallaudet is more complex than that. Not only the students, but also a large chunk of the faculty oppose the choice of Fernandes.

What is this all about? Is it another campus culture war, another blast from the divisive arsenal of those who value a vaguely defined "diversity" over enduring and important academic ideals such as rigorous inquiry, openness to all voices, and respect for superior reasoning? Well, partly--there's lots of chatter about how the university failed to consider black presidential candidates. But that's not the real issue here, either.

No, my sense from reading the comments of many Gallaudet students, alumni and faculty is that this is, as alumnus David Evans puts it, all about communication. And in a community of the deaf, that's an emotionally volatile issue:

Gallaudet's dirty secret is that while it incorporates support for ASL and fluent communication into its mission statement (and its Communication Statement), not everyone at Gallaudet can sign well. For that matter, some employees know just enough to verbalize through sign on a very basic level. This gap between the main constituency of Gallaudet (its students) and its employees became very clear on Friday.

If students rely heavily on American Sign Language and many Gallaudet staffers and administrators are not fully comfortable with that language, and if the college chooses a president who communicates well verbally--making many of her statements difficult for students to understand--that raises some basic and truly gnawing objections.

As another deaf blogger puts it,

"As a deaf person, I am sensitive about the ability to be heard and sensitive about a third person controlling my access to communication....One of the most painful struggles for me is controlling the communication situation. It is a long lasting struggle for many Deaf people- to be allowed to control their access to communication. Too often, access to communication is dictated by interpreter usage and by some hearing people who would undervalue the value of being able to follow and to understand what is going on around the deaf person. Too often, there are incidents of hearing people controlling a Deaf person's access to communication. Too often, there are incidents where a Deaf person is cut off from the world through no fault of his own. At Gallaudet University, it is granted that everyone on campus shall be able to communicate with each other. It is also granted that everyone will be able to understand each other without a third party medium or without any third party intermediary."

Read that and suddenly you see this is a different kind of protest. The usual categories of causes do not really apply here. It's not really about competence or diversity or any other common campus buzz words. It's about the most basic and elemental human need--the absolute need to be heard and understood, especially in your own home.

I have no idea whether Fernandes is the right choice for president at Gallaudet. I know these campus protests have erupted with regularity for quite some years now. And I know that the outgoing president, I. King Jordan, managed to produce a successful tenure despite having started out his time in office in the throes of very similar protests.

But the students' rage and righteousness makes an awful lot more sense when you get past the initial cheering for or revulsion over the sight of student protests that evoke another era. Focus instead on the simple matter of Gallaudet's purpose and the idea that deaf students deserve to see their campus as a place where they will always be heard and where they will be able to understand what is going on around them. Those who for one reason or another live in a world apart are always striving to find ways to thrive in the larger world, but they also want to know that there is a place where they can be understood as they are. Far too many people who get caught up in our culture wars get only one of those two parts. But both are essential, and that's what the conflict at Gallaudet is really all about.

By Marc Fisher |  October 10, 2006; 11:39 AM ET
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Comments

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At one job I interviewed for, I made a commitment to learn and become fluent in another language within a specified time-frame. If your analysis of the root student demand is correct, something like that may work here.

Posted by: Mark | October 10, 2006 12:47 PM

Uh, no. I think there will always be considerable cache handed to those who can claim plenty of grievance. This is the coin of the realm on any campus, much less one catering to deaf students. The nutty left has taken over nearly every campus out there anyway, but their diversity worldview works so perfectly at Gallaudet. Remember, deaf students several years ago went out of their way to humiliate a Miss America contestant (if memory serves) because she refused to sign, and instead spoke. That ugly scene sealed it for me. This kind of behavior is just silly.

Posted by: FisherWatch | October 10, 2006 4:47 PM

Do I understand correctly that the big complaint about Fernades it that she learned to lip read first and only learned ASL later on? Does she not sign well? I would think being able to communicate with a wide range of people, hearing and deaf would be a desirable quality for someone in that position. I hope there is more to it than that.

Posted by: Mel | October 10, 2006 4:49 PM

Oh, I get it. They're liberals, duh. Thanks for clearing that up for me, FisherWatch.

Posted by: Mel | October 10, 2006 4:52 PM

Marc: The truth that no one really so far has come out to say is this: The issue with Ms. Fernandez is that she is not deaf enough. People will try all different ways to describe her supposed shortcomings - but keep asking what their issue is and don't settle for platitudes. The real deal is that Ms. Fernandez was born hearing and only lost that sense later in life. The students seem to think that this disqualifies her from leading that instution - despite her 10+ years of service to the school. This really is a shamful episode - never mind that Fernandez desrves to be evaluated on her merits - its just that shes not deaf enough and therfore it not worht getting to the merits.

Posted by: The Truth | October 10, 2006 4:53 PM

Mark, that's a great idea and will let people get along in the job. In most places that's fine.

But there is no way that most hearing people can become fluent to the level of a native signer. What the students seem to want is someone who can do more than get along in the job.

As Marc writes, what they need is "a place where they will always be heard and where they will be able to understand[.]" A non-native such as Dr. Fernandes can never get it.

Marc adds that they also need "a place where they can be understood as they are." Here is another obstacle. There is no way that someone like Dr. Fernandes--or soemone like her--can understand what it means to be part of Deaf culture. She was not to the manor born.

Posted by: DMVA | October 10, 2006 5:01 PM

Wait, does that mean that only people who were learned English as their first language can ever become presidents of major universities in America? Surely that cannot be what they are advocating, can it? Just because they're deaf doesn't mean they get to be bigotted.

I understand it is sensitive, but isn't ASL just another language? It doesn't matter that I can hear, if everyone spoke Spanish, I still wouldn't have a clue as to what was going on. But that doesn't mean I'd oppose someone who spoke Spanish as their first language and only learned English later in life.

Posted by: OD | October 10, 2006 5:06 PM

I've been following The Post's excellent and informative coverage of the events at Gallaudet. Unfortunately I still don't get it. The President says it is because she is not deaf enough. The student leaders say that is not it; that it's because the board did not involve the students in selecting the President and that the President herself is autocratic. Now you provide another explanation that is well though out. I still don't get it. I've decided that you have to be deaf to understand the issues. I hope they find some common ground between whatever their positions are, which I don't understand.

Posted by: Cliff | October 10, 2006 5:14 PM

One thing many don't know about the protest is that the deaf students are aching for a charismatic leader - someone who was born deaf and sign fluently, has positive relations with the administration and students, and has an innovative vision for the university. The chosen one doesn't represent this desired image and that's why this is happening. Despite their guerilla tactics in taking one of the buildings hostage and their unrealistic expectations to change the Trustees' decisions, the students are trying to send out a national message that they want a role model that would exemplify what it is really like to be truly deaf.

Posted by: CB | October 10, 2006 5:21 PM

But shouldn't they just want a competent university president, and then nominate someone else to represent the community?

I understand some of their desires, and could never appreciate the difficulties they face in every day life . . . and yet, I'm still struck with the sneaking suspicion that this is nothing more than a typical, immature, naive college protest. Like Marc said:

"a reflection of the self-righteous and self-centered upbringing that is all too common in this generation. . . . This is a grandiose and wildly unrealistic sense of how the world works and of how it should work."

(And, although I am a member of that generation, I would challenge Marc that it's not all that different from almost every previous generation, but that's a different discussion.)

Posted by: OD | October 10, 2006 5:26 PM

I've taught at Gallaudet for more than 20 years, some of my students are in the bldg, and I know all the people who figure in this tragedy quite well. What's missing from all the news stories is the simple fact that effective leaders don't create messes like this, and both Fernandes & Jordan have been leading this institution for a long, long time. This mess is a classic example of what happens when leaders don't listen, don't make wise decisions, don't manage well day-to-day, yet think that they and only they can lead. It's not quite as awful as Bush & the war in Iraq, but it springs from the same causes.

Posted by: Aaron | October 10, 2006 5:53 PM

If students are truly concerned about being dependent on third parties to mediate their communication, they need to make a commitment to fluent lipreading and speech, not protest because Fernandez learned to communicate verbally before she learned ASL. My understanding is that she was deaf as a child and how she would be educated was decided by her parents. I believe I have seen footage of her signing, so this is not the same situation as last time, when the students were protesting selection of a candidate who did not sign and had no connection to the deaf community. (She withdrew and Jordan, the students' choice, was selected instead.)

I also remember that teaching deaf children ASL instead of insisting they communicate verbally was controversial as late as the 1970s, so finding a candidate over 40 who learned ASL first might be a difficult task. Signing was controversial for the very reason that the deaf person who learned it exclusively was left dependant on third parties for communication with non-signers.

Posted by: GJ | October 10, 2006 6:02 PM

For a wealth of information about the protest, some of it heartbreaking, see the official FSSA website, www.gufssa.com, and a blog maintained by a Gallaudet student, www.xanga.com\elisa_abenchuchan.

Posted by: BW | October 10, 2006 7:23 PM

As it happens, the "kid" you say is quoting the Federalist papers is in reality a grown man, a high school history teacher in Gallaudet's pre-college program and an alumnus.

Furthermore, while the takeover of the building was primarily a student action, the protest as a whole involves many faculty, staff, and alumni as well.

Posted by: Allison | October 10, 2006 8:19 PM

I've been a journalist in the deaf community for many years and want to let you know a big part of the issue is that Jane Fernandes was hand-picked by I. King Jordan to succeed him and he apparently forced the Board of Trustees to rubber-stamp his decision.

Some of the best candidates were weeded out early in the process. A Jordan staffer was in on all the interviews and presumably sharing info with Jane. Her interview was scheduled last so she'd have the most time and could steal ideas from the other finalists.

She has been on campus for many years and it speaks volumes that 2/3rd of the faculty voted no-confidence in her and the student body government voted to not recognize her as president.

It's a lot more than just a few students complaining. It's a civil rights issue and deaf people are tired of not having a voice in their own affairs.

Please see http://www.deafweekly.com/special100806.htm for more information.

Posted by: Tom Willard | October 10, 2006 8:38 PM

A fundamental question seems to be neglected in the discussion of process and protest.

What does it say for the current president I. King Jordan and Jane Ferdenez as Provost in the past 11 years - couldn't develop a "home grown" Gallaudet graduate as a qualified candidate for President? What does it speak of the University's quality of education, their effectiveness and commitment to grow future deaf leaders if they continue to administer the University?

Posted by: J | October 10, 2006 9:27 PM

It is a sad fact that most hearing individuals have not had the opportunity to learn about the global issues faced by deaf and Deaf individuals.
There are a number of excellent books written by scholars who are d/Deaf, and their allies. The Deaf World is complex and it is very difficult for a hearing person with no contacts or experience to fathom the long-standing issues, which underlie this protest. If one cannot actually "join" a local Deaf Community and get the information through conversation, these books are an excellent resource:
Here are just a few for starters -- and you can find them all on Amazon.com:
A Journey into the Deaf-World;
Deaf in American: Voices from a Culture;
The Mask of Benevolence;
Triumph of the Spirit: The DPN Chronicle
The Inner Lives of Deaf Children;
Alone in the Mainstream: A deaf woman remembers public school
All except one of these books are authored by Gallaudet Alumni and/or Faculty. They will help interested parties understand the protest and why the stakes are so high for those of us who think of
Gallaudet as our homeland.

Posted by: GO | October 10, 2006 9:32 PM

Although it does not directly relate the controversy at Galludet, does anybody want to discuss how many deaf people see deafness as a culture rather than a handicap? This controversy arose at the Post a few years ago when "The Washington Post Magazine" wrote an article about a deaf woman who went through an in vitro fertilization procedure to increase the odds that her unborn child would also be deaf.

Posted by: Edward J. Cunningham | October 10, 2006 9:50 PM

Hi-- how flattering to be quoted in the Post!

However, as other commenters have indicated, the core issue here is that Fernandes has been extremely divisive, right from the start. A majority of the students, faculty, and alumni made it clear through various avenues that they did not want her to be chosen as President. Fernandes could have overcome some or all of these objections over the summer and into this fall, but has done nothing to indicate the kind of leadership the community wants/expects.

Communication issues transcend this protest, and go beyond Jane Fernandes and other principals, and will continue long after the dust has settled. Those who can hear need to understand that communication goes far beyond merely using vocal cords, goes beyond the ear. As long as we are undereducated, underemployed, and marginalized by society, we will continue to fight for equal access.

Posted by: David Evans | October 10, 2006 10:01 PM

Everyone: A good source to check would be www.gufssa.org, the Gallaudet University Faculty-Student-Staff-Alumni Coalition. There you will see yellow tabs on top, click on ABOUT.
You'll see a list of the reasons the protest at Gallaudet started. No, it has nothing to do with Fernandes not being deaf enough. They answer questions such as:
1. What is the FSSA Coalition?
2. What is the guiding principle of the FSSA Coalition?
3. What is the protest about?
4. In what way was the presidential search process flawed?
5. Why is Dr. Fernandes an unacceptable choice for president?
6. What's happening now?
7. Which organizations and individuals have expressed concern and support regarding the protest issues?

And if you click on SUPPORT, you'll see many, many different organizations and individuals who have declared their support for the protest.

Enjoy.

Posted by: raychelle | October 10, 2006 10:26 PM

I am an alumnus (having obtained my Masters of Science Degree in 93 and on LOA status from my doctorate studies)of Gallaudet University, and let me assure you it is not about being deaf enough or hearing enough, nor is it about having to be deaf to understand the issues.

Let me begin by saying I am astounded by some of the comments here... the level of ignorance and insensitivity is mind-boggling.

This whole mess, rather, is about Having OWNERSHIP of the issues. It is about freedom from paternalism and freedom of having others decide, a select few, what is BEST FOR US as a community. In other words, This protest is really about HAVING a voice in how we want our leaders to shape our future. Right now, Now we are being told we do not know what it takes to choose a leader; nor do we know or understand what Gallaudet should stand for; being told our opinions do not matter; being told that We need someone to tell us who should govern Gallaudet University; and our wish list should not be factored into this process. This is mind-boggling and insulting. On top of that, we are made to look like a bunch of ridiculous fools who do not know what we are talking about in the Media as engineered in the Public Relations Machine headquartered in the University President's office. They have lied about the assault, have lied about the use of pepper spray, have lied about vandalism and a host of issues to try to get the focus off the administration and back on the protestors who are acting like "children who do not know what they are talking about"....and on top of that, we have been denied our access to use of interpreters that are housed at the Interpreting office; The GAllaudet University Alumni Association has been denied the use of database which houses our alumnae information in fear of propangada that may not be in the current administration's favor (and yet, I get a letter from the President himself, trying to excuse the reasons for this protest which was derived from the very same database the GUAA was denied from having access to) as well as subjecting all of us to other acts of intimidation, manipulation and public humiliation.

This is an affront to our dignity, our pride in accomplishing all we have accomplished in 150 plus years of formal education; and the advancements we have made as deaf individuals as well as a community.

In the age of ADA -- Americans with Disabilities Act(which was passed in 1991, by President George H. Bush -- the 41st president, not the 43rd) we have been given the right to determine our communication preference, the medium in how we choose to obtain information, and the medium we choose to give information in every -- EVERY -- aspect of our lives whether it is in education and educational choices, within the legal and judicial system, and our access to medical care and technology advances that lends opportunities that are available to everyone else.

For us, it is a huge step back into a period where we did not have rights. As hard as it may be to imagine, we, at one time, were not allowed to marry; not allow to procreate with others in fear of passing on defective deaf genes and bearing deaf children; were not allowed to drive cars; were not allowed to obtain an education; Not allowed to work at certain jobs (even if it wasn't jobs that required hearing such as teaching, or being a doctor, or being a lawyer because of the communication and access to information issue as an example); were not allowed to having communication access in the courtroom so we could understand what we were being charged with or how we could prepare our defense which is a basic American right for all American citizens; were not allowed to make ourselves understood; were not allowed to understand the news; were not allowed to have access to information that would put us on par with our mainstreamed peers in terms of education, health and human needs; legal rights; technology advancement benefits to name a few. The ADA, for large part, changed all that -- especially in areas of communication access and access to information. All those rights have been hard fought and won. It has taken years of slow but steady progress.

To really understand the strength of emotions; the Office of the President of Gallaudet Unviersity is tantamount to the Deaf community as the Office of the President of the United States of America is to the American People. Perhaps some of you can recall just exactly how high the emotions ran when there were hanging chads in the picture during the presidential election of 1998 which ultimately had the election decided by the Supreme Court? How the election was bitterly fought between the Democratics and the Republicans and how the other party felt "cheated" by some percieved slight in the process. I think that same quality of passion and emotion can be attributed to whether Dr. Fernandes should be or rather the right person to lead Gallaudet University. The debate continues to rage on how Dr. Fernandes was selected. It is being viewed as being done in the same way to how a totalitarian government is appointed and run. It was NOT a democratic process. It was NOT a model seeped into the principles of shared governance which American people have come to know and expect. The voting was rigged and flawed from the start. Hence, the current selection is not recognized as a VALID choice by the Gallaudet community based on the concept of social justice that has been hard fought and won by racial groups; by disability groups and other groups that reflect their contribution to growing diversity in America Today.


I think this protest, in every way, is justified. The conduct, as demonstrated by the current administration, is not acceptable and has not been endorsed by the students, the staff, the faculty and the Alumni of Gallaudet University.

Posted by: Nan | October 10, 2006 10:52 PM

1. Dr. Fernandes is a fluent user of American Sign Language, and has embraced its use on campus.

2. It is not accurate to say that a majority of students, staff, and faculty support the protest. The students involved number less than 200 by their count. The number of faculy and staff who support the protest is unknown as there has been no mechanism to register their views.

There is growing frustration among faculty, students, and staff by the protestors' tactics which have interfered with the educational process, research, and peaceful climate needed to study.

A new coalition is promoting a code of behavior for all which allows for education to proceed, even while dissent is accepted in its appropriate place and time.

Please pray for the healing of Gallaudet, a world asset for deaf people. Peace.

Posted by: concerned Gallaudet employee | October 10, 2006 11:27 PM

i personally do not know of the exact reason for this mess at gallaudet, but it must be serious enough that deaf communities and schools around the nation have staged (and are continuing to stage) protests against president fernandez.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 10, 2006 11:55 PM

I assure you, Dr. Fernandes signs just fine. She was, in fact, born deaf and has other deaf family members. Yes, she learned sign in her early 20's. So do many other people, whether they are born or late-deafened.

One thing missing from Mr. Fisher's column is the faculty aspect here. This is, more than a student protest, a labor/management dispute. The faculty want shared governance. When Fernandes was made provost, her selection did not meet with faculty approval. This is not unique to Gallaudet. What is unique is the cynical way faculty have now manipulated niave students to oppose Fernandes on, yes, the "not Deaf enough" issue.

Many people also have a problem with decisions Fernandes made as provost. The TV department was closed down on her watch. It was expensive and didn't have enough majors. She made an unpopular decision. Many individuals have their own axes to grind. For example, when former yearbook editor Ryan Commerson developed a special "addition" to the school yearbook several years ago -- one featuring bong-hitting students, commentary about the school's safety in light of a recent spate of student murders (the student culprit is now in jail), and other items in bad taste, Fernandes pulled the yearbook from distribution. Does this mean Commerson, one of the student protest leaders, simply carries a personal grudge? Then we have a fair number of "honors" students caught cheating and plagarizing. Fernandes had their scholarships pulled and some expelled. Of course, many of them talk up the protest.

Then we have the Kappa Gamma fraternity, long known for hazing problems, starting fires in dorms, general misogyny, and things of that nature. Many members of this fraternity work at Gallaudet as faculty and staff. Even I. King Jordan was paddled in as an honorary member after he became president. Of course, they were thrilled when two of their own made it to the final three of the presidential selection process, but dismayed when a woman was selected.

The fact is, the trustees made their decision. They picked a deaf woman with stellar qualifications. A lot of people are mad. They are speaking out. But there are a lot more of us who say this: Accept it and move on. Gallaudet will not die. Jordan and Fernandes may have made mistakes in responding to the protests, but that is to be expected. Using these mistakes, personal attacks, and emotion-laden pleas does not even support the goals of the protests. It just makes things worse and builds a kind of circular reasoning that, in the end, will accomplish nothing but sullying the face of the Deaf community.

The protesters do NOT speak for us all.

Posted by: Concerned Alumnus | October 11, 2006 12:22 AM

If Fernandes is fluent in American Sign Language, why doesn't she sign in ASL? I've seen her in vlogs and she signs as she talks in English -- that's not ASL! She is also very flat with almost no facial expression or body movement. Blah blah blah blah blah. I had to force myself to pay attention but after I while I just gave up. A good leader doesn't bore people to death when they speak.

Posted by: Tom Willard | October 11, 2006 12:22 AM

Marc - You've really lost me on this one. First you claim the demonstrations at Gallaudet are "a stirring and encouraging sign of political passion when most campuses remain strangely silent despite a war gone bad. . . ." Then you write that involving students in the decision on the university president is "a grandiose and wildly unrealistic sense of how the world works and of how it should work." The activism shifts from being something positive to revolting remnants of "student protests that evoke another era." But then you shift yet again to say that students and faculty indeed do have the right to demand that their president communicates with them fluently. (Hard for me to figure out how students don't have a right to be involved in the decision, if they do have the right to require that the president communicates with them fluently.)

I know you're putting up more articles than just about anybody else at the Post, and they can't all be perfectly thought out, but I'm starting to believe that you come out on both sides of almost every issue. Allen's a dufus bigot; Allen's a savvy leader that makes Webb look dumb.

In the end, if you're just throwing out random and conflicting thoughts to get the blog debate going, it gets less and less appealing to click the Raw Fisher link.

Posted by: Try and Try Again | October 11, 2006 1:27 AM

Ya'all gotta be Deaf enough to understand the gravity of the matter!

The thorny issue is that Jordan and Fernandes are taking on too much power and not letting the stakeholders of Gallaudet be involved in decision making process.

How about this one? Years ago, Fernandes terminated an employee who was dedicated for almost 30 years by one week. She was one week away from qualifying for retirement benefits. She asked Fernandes to consider giving her one more week...Guess what? She booted her out and what do you think she is?

The behavior by some administration official reeks of audism.

It is time to STAMP OUT AUDISM!

Jordan and Fernandes need to go!

Posted by: Deaf Advocate | October 11, 2006 1:50 AM

I would love to see this school overthrow the board of trustees. Every student should have a vote. Every teacher should have a vote. F the trusteees and Fernandes. They aren't part of the community and should stay away.

Posted by: Whooeee | October 11, 2006 6:16 AM

I have experience with Gallaudet and consider myself an impartial observor, here is my take: its a power struggle between the serious academics and the deaf club nation. Gallaudets dirty little secret is the average undergraduate takes 12 years to complete their bachelors degree studies. A running joke on campus is that the undergrads are older than the graduate students. Dr. Fernandes was picked for the provost position, and by extension, the Presidency because of her reputation for academic integrity. Now, factor in the "ineffective" rating from the Dept. Of Education and ask yourself, whose failure is it to ineffectively educate the students? That's right, the faculty. The very same faculty that warped the minds of the naive student leaders into starting this protest. I can personally attest from my short graduate career at Gallaudet I've seen countless professors accept shoddy assignments, grant late extensions like its candy and accept blatantly plagiarized work from students who can barely spell their own name - so much for the merits of a visual based language. There is a win win situation for everyone, though: revoke the academic charter. The deaf club nation gets their deaf club, meanwhile the serious students are already attending universities around the country who by law are required to provide equal access.

Posted by: fly on the wall | October 11, 2006 7:20 AM

Nothing anyone has added since last night clarifies the issue to me. It just sounds like a bunch of whining. None of their complaints seem "special" -- it's not "audism" or anything else -- it's just how universities pick their presidents. I have seen many university presidents selected, and I don't think any of them were ever voted on by the entire student body.

What large organization in the world operates like that?

If you don't like the selection, fine, complain about it, but don't make it into some higher cause. You just don't like the university president. I'm pretty sure that at most large universities you could find 200 students that don't like him/her.

Posted by: OD | October 11, 2006 10:07 AM

Apart from the "not Deaf enough" problem, I think the real issue here is the wild disconnect between the actual function of a college president and what Gallaudet students seem to expect from that office. College presidents are fundraisers and administrators, not leaders. The ones who try to break that mold (see: Larry Summers) generally wind up getting themselves in trouble.

Does that make Fernandes the best qualified person for the job? I don't know. She's certainly not succeeding so far at making sure everything runs smoothly. But the students need to realize that this isn't a class election or a popularity contest, and they don't have all the qualifications to judge who should win, either.

Posted by: fs | October 11, 2006 10:17 AM

"Still, the rare sight of a student protest shutting down a college campus has been taken by some as a stirring and encouraging sign of political passion when most campuses remain strangely silent despite a war gone bad, disturbing displacements in the economy and the ever-looming prospect of further terrorist attacks"

Isn't the campus still "strangely silent"?

Posted by: Anonymous | October 11, 2006 11:16 AM

Silly. Just plain silly. but thats what that whole identity politics will get you....sympathy at first, then apathy and finally ridicule.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 11, 2006 12:14 PM

To set the record straight.

Gallaudet University is the only Deaf Liberal Arts University in the world. Deaf has a "Culture and History" the same as people from other countries. Deaf also have their own language - ASL or American Sign Language, not English.

The protest at Gallaudet University is the combined efforts of the Faculty, Students, Staff and Alumni Coalition.

It must also be clarified that the "protest" is not a only a "student" protest. Alumni, faculty and staff are participants as well.

Students come from countries and communities all over the world representing ethnics and cultures. These students are young and old from their teens to the 60's+

I just graduated in the spring of 2006 and I was a student at the age of 57 yrs and I now I am an Alumni. Gallaudet was "mecca" for me.

I support the protest 100%. Why? The "stakeholders", students, Alumni, faculty and staff were NOT included in the selection process; the new president-select has and continues to oppress the deaf community, in which she herself is a member, via inaccessible communication which is called audism; the president-select is not a pillar of the deaf community and does not have the support of the deaf community to represent us throughout the world. Why would we want someone like this representing the deaf community?

To better understand the protest and the the deaf community DEAF HERITAGE by Jack R. Gannon, and DEAF IN AMERICA by Padden & Humphries are two excellent books available at your local libraries and book stores.

I would like to share pieces of a famous and wonderful poem by Williard J. Madsen in 1971, a deaf man.

What is it like to "hear" a hand?
You have to be deaf to understand.

What is it like to be a small child,
In a school, in a room void of sound --
With a teacher who talks and talks and talks;
And then when she does come around to you,
She expects you to know what she's said?
You have to be deaf to understand.

What is it like to be curious,
To thirst for knowledge you can call your own,
With an inner desire that's set on fire --
And you ask a brother, sister, or friend
Who looks in answer and says, "Never Mind"?
You have to be deaf to understand.

What is it like to comprehend
Some nimble fingers that paint the scene,
And make you smile and feel serene,
With the "spoken word" of the moving hand
That makes you part of the word at large?
You have to be deaf to understand.

What is it like to "hear" a hand?
Yes, you have to be deaf to understand.


Posted by: Jan Jensen, Gallaudet Alumni, MSW '06 | October 11, 2006 1:45 PM

Enjoyed the editorial although some of its tone is a bit "looking down the nose" at young people -

i can by-pass that tone because u have zoned in on a central issue that is struggling to emerge and be properly articulated - i do think an important issue is language rights (what u r calling communication)

it seems the longer the protest goes on (began last spring) the more analysis and introspection takes place - the more questioning of just what is AUDISM and how does it rear its ugly head at the oldest and only Liberal Arts college for Deaf students in the World

at gally -
many faculty / staff openly talk w/o signing in the presence of their Deaf students. They will sign when communicated directly to a Deaf person but dont fully understand or see the value in signing when Deaf folks r in the environment because "hey im not talking to u." To which the Deaf person could say - "but how do i know ur not talking ABOUT me." ; ) an ideal environment and this Deaf mecca gally has an obligation to be the best would be one that is language accessible RICH - so much is learned spontaneously in unplanned and unrehearsed conversations - yet so much is unaccessible presently with gally's general practice of u only need to sign when speaking directly to a Deaf / h of h person

- Gally students r not required to take one single solitary course in ASL as their core requirements. thus, many will languish in this land of being semi-lingual in English and ASL. studies have shown STUDYING ASL actually helps students see the linguistic structure of English better

- Gallaudet's published definition of ASL is incongruent with any scholarly definition that was estblished by William Stokoes - the professor and research who help to uncover how ASL in fact is a bon fide language. the present definition of ASL degrades it to pretty much a creolized gestural anything goes system which has pretty much doomed ASL advancement and Deaf education for ages now

- I King Jordan and J k Fernandes - both knowledgeable of what ASL is (psych. and ASL teachers they have both been) yet neither have ever advocated for the language formally - not in their own use of it, in their proposing and advocating for policies re: its use on campus nor in their travels and presentations around the world as our Deaf embassadors

in a paper i wrote about the "-isms" at play in the protest - i concluded with:
Hopefully in our quest to scrutinize and rectify the role of Institutional audism, we will zone in on the lasting impact and legacy of oral/auralism and phonocentrism and we will avoid any perchance for tokenISM. We see that the greatest form of discrimination that may have taken place in the 1988 and 2006 presidential selections at Gallaudet University has been one of language rights. Besides the hearing founder of this esteemed Institution, Gallaudet has never since had a president whose native language was American Sign Language. George Veditz's stated in his famed 1913 filmed ASL speech, "Preservation of Sign Language"- "I hope you will cherish and defend this beautiful language as the greatest gift that God has given us." Almost one hundred years later, we have to sadly ask Gallaudet U. "Well, do you?"

to see full paper
http://www.aslcommunityjournal.com/blog/?p=24

so i do think that marc has hit the heart of the matter which is very insightful for someone outside of the culture and field

peace

patti durr


Posted by: P. Durr | October 11, 2006 3:58 PM

I understand that Gallaudet is "special" in that it is the only deaf liberal arts university in the world, and so these issues are all concentrated in one place.

But how does it differ from just any plain old language barrier issue? If my econ prof talks in spanish to his TA while I'm present, how do I know he's not talking about me? Should I force him to speak English so I can be sure?

Maybe it's unfair of me to raise these language questions, since most of this country seems conflicted on English issues anyways, but to me, there is no difference between forcing your typical American university president to speak only English (and well enough so as not to bore listeners, as one poster said her signing was "boring") and this situation.

Posted by: OD | October 11, 2006 4:51 PM

You make very interesting points, but your message is devalued by your use of IM-speak spellings. (u r sounding like a teenager 4 real)

People will give your words and your content more serious consdieration if you communicate using standard written English.

I'm just saying ...

Posted by: to Patti | October 11, 2006 4:57 PM


Maybe this is a dumb question (um, no pun intended), but what's the difference in captial Deaf and lower-case deaf?

If "deaf" is a different culture, then is "blind" also a different culture? How about "in a wheelchair" or "paralyzed"?

Posted by: can hear | October 11, 2006 5:01 PM

The president of gallaudet is not the mayor of deafville. These kids are about to take a crash course in "reality". Whining about discrimination doesn't change the fact that THEY made the choice to isolate and segregate themselves away from society, leaving them dependant on the good nature of society to take care of them. When will deaf people grow up? Not every deaf person is a loser, but still...

Posted by: paul singleton | October 11, 2006 6:24 PM

In response to the question about "Big D Deaf" vs. "little d deaf"...the use of one or the other is an illustration of how one looks at definition of deafness.

little d deaf is the general society view of deafness as a disability - it is based more on the audiological definition of deafness as the loss of hearing, and deaf people as being those unable to hear. little d deaf is seeing deafness as something a person has - a "condition" that they must strive to overcome.

Big D Deaf is the view of deafness adopted by those who consider themselves culturally deaf, and thus members of the Deaf Community. These individuals do not see themselves as being disabled, but as living in a rich, vibrant community that has its own language, its own social norms, its own history, its own identity...its own pulse.

To be Deaf is to see deafness not as something I have, but as something I ***AM***. It's as integral to my whole persona as is my being female, being Irish, being middle-aged, or being social services administrator.

Inclusion in this culture is not necessarily based on hearing loss. There are hearing individuals who could be considered members as well...the hearing children of Deaf parents (who are often known as CODAs - Child Of Deaf Adults), other family members, interpreters, teachers of the Deaf, etc. There are people with profound deafness who do not consider themselves members of the Deaf Community, and persons who are merely hard of hearing who despite the fact they might actually hear much better than many of their peers, still consider themselves Deaf.

To call yourself Deaf is to acknowledge the concept of Deafhood - the process by which one comes to understand and accept the deeper nuances of deafness and how they impact on our lives.

Posted by: Gin | October 11, 2006 6:43 PM

To be deaf means you can't hear. It does, however, mean you can whine, which makes the Gallaudet students indistinguishable from most whiny undergraduates.

Posted by: TMU | October 11, 2006 6:52 PM

I am a bystander in the protests for a variety of reasons. I am versed in the issue, and would like to offer a summary.

The lack of complete coverage in the Washington Post and is a little dispiriting. For example, it is not clear from the column (as good as it is, Marc) that I. King Jordan led Gallaudet after the protests more than 15 years ago, but he was *installed* as president because of those protests. The original pick of the Board of Trustees resigned. I hope that the online discussion tomorrow will include a student representative to present the side that nobody seems to articulate well.

Here are the reasons I have been given for the protests:

1. The Deaf issue: The Deaf community is a cultural entity, like the Hispanic community or the Black community. The closest equivalent of this issue would be if Howard University got a president that was widely viewed as "an oreo" (meaning: black skin, white mindset).

2. The divisive issue: several speakers at the rally tonight said that Fernandes and Jordan are not listening to their demands. Fernandes has a reputation as a strict disciplinarian, and I take it that this reputation bleeds into a feeling that she's unwilling to negotiate or compromise. There is a feeling that she is not interested in the wishes or well-being of the campus community.

3. The process issue: The gist here is an allegation that Fernandes was chosen unfairly. There are several parts to this issue and they encompass a variety of hot-button issues.

A. Qualification: this is the big one. People have told me that Fernandes was not qualified. For some, I think she is a Deaf equivalent of Harriet Myers. I have read rumors about mismanagement but have not been able to substantiate any of them. There is a feeling that other comments show, that the process was hijacked by Jordan and Fernandes.

B. Student Involvement: the "nothing about us without us" slogan applies to some extent here. To summarize two centuries of Deaf history, people who are Deaf (or Disabled) have been subjected to paternalistic policies over which they have no say. For example, less than 100 years ago, some states enforced involuntary sterilization of people who were Deaf and Disabled. The board of trustees is not all Deaf. (It is 50% deaf.) So it can seem that the Deaf are being dictated to by a Hearing organization.

C. Racism--I haven't seen this angle mentioned anywhere in the Washington Post, even though it is the first issue I was aware of last spring, and it continues to be discussed among Gallaudet students. Fernandes, a white woman that some contend is unqualified, was picked over a black man that protestors contend was qualified.

I hope this post helps people understand some of the issues here without oversimplifying anything.

Posted by: Observer | October 11, 2006 8:46 PM

okay, but why is "deaf" its own community and "blind" or "wheelchair" are not? why does "Deaf" get to be a culture?

Posted by: can hear, again | October 11, 2006 9:30 PM

because in anthropology you learn that all cultures stem from language. Blind people and people in wheelchairs still speak/write/express themselves in english and therefore do not see themselves as a cultural or linguistic minority. Deaf people on the other hand use a language in which the grammatical syntax more closely resembles spanish or french rather than english (this is often why many profoundly deaf people do not write english well). Basically language is the root of the cultural identity. This is only in response to why deaf people get their own community and culture. Because the language is visual, the culture is visual NOT audial (as the rest of the world is) making for being deaf a completely different existence. This is why it is hard for them to see themselves as disabled as the blind or people in wheelchairs often do.
Hope this helps.

Posted by: to can hear | October 11, 2006 11:40 PM

thanks for the answer! Intellectually I get what you're saying. I'm still not sure I buy it ... seems like yet more divisive identity politics to me, and I have no patience with that. But at least I understand the argument they're trying to make.

Leaving aside all issues of culture ... since when do students at a university get to pick the president?

Imagine if the kids at AU had tried this over the Ladner business!

Posted by: can hear | October 11, 2006 11:49 PM

For those hearing people who are clueless to what has been happening at Gallaudet or don't understand the purpose of Gallaudet students' protest.
Ask an Administrator at Howard University in Wash DC if they would allow a white subtle oppressor to make decisions for black students because they are minority and margalized?
Another example, look at third world countries, women are oppressed by men.
Are we lucky to have those rights in our country? Therefore, Gallaudet students should not internalize audism and oppression just because they are minority and handicapped.

Posted by: Proud To be Deaf | October 11, 2006 11:58 PM

Marc or FisherWatch, You will understand better if you listen to Gallaudet University (FSSA) Faculty, Staff, Students, and Alumnis! So Please listen to them. They are not silly or stupid!!! They are brilliant people who want to do right things. Problems are King Jordan and the Board of Trustees, they ignore all letters from deaf organizations such as NAD (National Association of the Deaf), SBG (Students Body Government), GSA (Graduate School Association), FSSA (Faculty, Staff, Students, and Alumnis), GUAA (Gallaudet University Alumni Association), deaf schools from several states, alumnis, and more when they ask them in professinal ways. Audists or non-signers are growing on the campus that must be stopped. If Edward Miner Gallaudet is still alive, he would support FSSA.

Posted by: redaslangel | October 12, 2006 12:28 AM

As a Deaf person and alumnus of Gallaudet University, I have been sharing information about the protest with friends, both deaf and hearing. One of my friends had the following interesting comment to make - mind you, this is an individual with no background in the Deaf Culture and who has never set foot on the campus; nevertheless I think he provides some interesting food for thought:

"I am not sure of what is happening at Gallaudet, though the article is quite well written. As you may be aware, I grew up in a time of Cusp, when the social norm changed from that of total acceptance of authority to that of civil and student protest. I do know that there have been some gains from the civil protest of the sixties, but I can also see where we have lost quite a bit along the way. Whether that is due to the nature of the happenings, or just Kismet, I am in no position to judge. I do know that patience and perseverance has worked for many in the past decades, and has worked in my own personal and professional life. Many of those I have had difficulties with are no longer around, due to the fact that I have done like Lazurus Long, and just outlived them. Sometimes, that can be all we can expect...is to live THROUGH situations, and then move along our own personal path. I hope there is a speedy and positive solution for all concerned."

Well said, my friend.

Posted by: Gin | October 12, 2006 12:57 AM

To Can Hear

I'm not saying students should pick the president of a university, but Marc wrote that students should not even "play a role" in the selection. That goes a bit far. I went to Cornell, and students have elected trustees, who have the same full rights as any other trustee to speak, vote, and participate on trustee committees, including the presidential selection committee. I think you can find this at many, if not most universities. There are some simple ways to make sure that students (as well as faculty) play a role in major decisions. Telling them, "Shut up while we make all the decisions here" is a good way to make the university a dead educational experience.

Posted by: Try and Try Again | October 12, 2006 2:10 AM

If a provost took away the shared governance from Faculty, would you want that provost to be president of a university?

If the members of Faculty voted no confidence three times throughout the provost's tenure, would you want that provost to be president of a university?

If a provost did do nothing about the sub-average graduation rate, would you want that provost to be president of a university?

If a provost increased eight sections of remeidal English, which meant 4 years for a student who has to go through 8 sections of no-credit remedial English, would you want that provost to be president of a university?

If you answered "NO" to all of the questions, Fernandes is not qualified or deserved to be president of Gallaudet University.

See an article, "Why I Support the Protest at Gally," at
http://aslcommunityjournal.com/blog


Posted by: PR | October 12, 2006 2:15 AM

"Why I Support the Protest at Gally"
http://www.aslcommunityjournal.com/blog/?p=17

Posted by: PR | October 12, 2006 2:21 AM

For all the impassioned pleas about audism and "having a say", nobody is disputing the fact that Gallaudet offers a substandard education. It ought to be downgraded to a community college, which is what it is, anyway. The brilliant deaf people are already attending Rochester Institute of Technology, or California-Northridge. Deaf people attend the ivy league! I personally know a deaf since birth person who graduated from East Carolina Brody School of Medicine, passed his boards and is now a fully qualified doctor. No self respecting deaf person actually goes to Gallaudet, intentionally. This protest is not a revolt over discrimination, it's a revolt over actually being made to do their homework. Keep in mind out of 1900 students, only 200 or so have locked down the campus. I'm willing to wager the collective GPA of these 200 kids is 0.7

Posted by: an educated "d"eaf person, emphasis on little d! | October 12, 2006 6:55 AM

Actually... Many self-respecting deaf people do go to Gallaudet. One CAN obtain a good education there if one actively pursues it. Social opportunities exist at almost every college. For a deaf person stepping into an accessible environment for maybe the first time, they can be overwhelming. For many people the extracirrciculars at Gallaudet are a big part of the liberal arts education they get there. This has nothing to do with brilliance or lack thereof. Granted, it's not the Ivy League. Gallaudet's mission has been to provide a college education to deaf people who previously really did not have many other choices. Sure, there was the rare person here or there who made it through (and understood?) some other college. But by and large most colleges were not accessible to the majority of deaf people. It was not until the passage of the Americans with Disbilities Act that virtually all colleges were required to become accessible. Many students choose to go to other colleges for a variety of reasons. This leaves Gallaudet struggling for students. Its mission and its constituencies are changing with the times and with technologies. Today, Gallaudet even admits "HUGS," Hearing Undergraduate Students, something that would have been unthinkable just a few decades ago. Gallaudet must evolve along with society.

Of course, there are always reactionaries who just can't bear to see the good old days go. The Deaf community must evolve; there are an outspoken few who just can't accept that. We deaf are not really the island so many of us make ourselves out to be. We can be isolationist, but this is as much the larger hearing society's attitude problem as it is any particular trait of ours. Yes, we do have our problems. Who doesn't? But please don't make the mistake of judging all deaf people by what is going on at Gallaudet. It is really a Gallaudet thing -- not a Deaf thing.

Posted by: Concerned Alumnus | October 12, 2006 9:28 AM

Well said, Concerned Alumnus.

A number of Deaf individuals who have proven themselves in the world are in fact Gallaudet graduates - Phillis Frielich, who won a Tony award in 1980 for her performance in "Children of a Lesser God" is a Gallaudet graduate. John Yeh, who founded Integrated Microcomputer Systems Inc. (IMS), a software company that earned millions of dollars in sales and employed hundreds of people is a Gallaudet graduate. Dr. Robert Davila, who formerly served as Asst. Secretary for Special Ed. and Rehab. Services with the Dept. of Education (the highest ranking govt. position ever held by a Deaf person) is a Gallaudet graduate.

I myself am a member of MENSA...which I suppose qualifies me as a "brilliant deaf person." I'm also a Gallaudet graduate.

Please don't judge all deaf people, or even all Gallaudet students - past, current, or future - by what is now happening on campus. Yes, we have our share of "questionables"...just like any university. Undoubtedly there are problems at Gallaudet that need to be addressed, and hopefully they will be.

But let's not turn this into a debate about the educational status of brilliancy. There are as many intelligent, successful, self-respecting students attending small private colleges (and even community colleges) as there are ones attending Ivy League schools.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 12, 2006 10:27 AM

Readers and others would be doing themselves a favor by reading the following extraoridnary post:

http://www.deafdc.com/blog/allison-kaftan/2006-10-11/worlds-apart-divergences-in-perspectives-on-the-protest/

Posted by: M.Bellone | October 12, 2006 11:18 AM

Straight from Gallaudet University's Enrollment Statistics

Table 22: Undergraduate One-Year Graduation, Attrition, and Persistence
Fall 2004 to Fall 2005

Page 26

1,136 undergrads enrolled
148 graduated - 13%
52 dismissed - 5%
189 withdrew - 17%

source: http://ims.gallaudet.edu/pdf/20060324-0001.pdf


Office of Management Budget under White House rated Gallaudet University INEFFECTIVE.
http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/expectmore/summary.10003306.2005.html


These happen under Dr. Jane K. Fernandes when she was provost for the last six years at Gallaudet University.

JKF must resign!

Posted by: Straight Facts | October 12, 2006 11:23 AM

So, if the low graduation rate is the issue here, why aren't the faculty being issued votes of no-confidence? Don't they bear some responsibility for bringing students, many of whom admittedly have a great deal to overcome, up to a level where they can graduate?

And if the issue is tightening standards and attracting those students who now might consider mainstream institutions, doesn't it make sense to have a president better able to relate to them? Or better yet, to put all this energy and effort into reform at the elementary and middle school levels so that all d/Deaf students are better prepared when they get to college?

Posted by: fs | October 12, 2006 1:31 PM

How can the Gallaudet students have the gall to ask for diversity by asking for the recusement of a Latina female?

Now, you deaf students, go back to class or we'll get those Mexican day laborers to protest against YOU.

Posted by: KingTuchas | October 12, 2006 2:27 PM

To whom it may concern:

I am a proud alumni of Gallaudet. I have always have loved Gallaudet and spoke of it with a deep abiding affection and respect. My years on the campus are valued. Out of this experience were born deep and abiding friendships that I still cherish to this day.

I have dual disabilities: cerebral palsy with deafness. Being on the outer fringe of the deaf community does offer an unique perspective - that is not shared by the regular Deaf community. Having dual disabilities, in my experience, does not mean equal access to all activities and that includes the communication process.

People with dual disabilities - especially in the Deaf community - do experience oppression and are in the minority.

That experience is in parallel with what's happening at Gallaudet. Both sides are oppressing the others in the hopes that their voice/signs will be heard and seen.

Let me offer my view:

Right now, I am ambivalent, alarmed, and scared of what's happening now.

I am ambivalent about the protest. I do see where the protestors are coming from. There is little or no diversity amongst those who hold powerful positions within the University. I also see that the Board of Trustees and administration have placed their faith in the incoming Presidential candidate. The faculty has expressed their opinions of what's happening and it is not favorable to the incoming president. The students have strongly voiced their opinions.

I do agree there needs to be change. People want to see it happening now. Change will occur - at a slower pace. Without that change, entropy will happen.

Where's the logic behind this? There is no cohesiveness. Both sides: the administration and the protestors are trying to win the battle here.

Emotions have run amok here; both sides are deeply entrenched and neither are compromising one inch for the good of all.

What's the prize? The prize is the status-making position garnering respect, money, power within the Deaf community. It's a power struggle.

Neither is winning. The losers are both sides and the bystanders who are caught up in the drama of it all.

There are rumors swirling here and there: through the media, newspaper articles, the Blogs, the YouTube, and the everlasting grapevine being fueled by the emails, and the trusty Sidekicks/Blueberrys. The truth is diluted with lies, half lies, or emblellishment bandied about by the protestors and administration alike.

I see it as a three sided approach: it's the classic version of the "who said what?". There is a missing side: the actual truth of what's happening. No one is listening to this. What is the truth? No one knows or is willing to acknowledge that.

When will a peaceable resolution - fair to all - arrive? Will it arrive too late?.

I am afraid there will be serious consequences here if violence will happen on or off campus as a result of the protests.

To name a few, loss of life or limb could occur. It takes a trigger-happy person to strike off a chord. There are easy access to guns, weapons, drugs, and alcohol since Gallaudet is in a major city. Face it, the protest is going beyond human control. Anarchy is here NOW.

Does anyone remember what happened at Kent State University in the 1970s? A campus racked by revolution amidst the stormy '70s?

A masscare happened there while the students were protesting. The police opened fire on the students. Out of that terrible traumatic experience was born bitter hindsight. Too many regrets, lives were lost, families were shattered when their sons and daughters never returned home.

Don't let that happen to Gallaudet. Don't let that happen to your sons, daughters, friends, loved ones, co-workers, colleagues. Life is rich, rewarding, and enlivening despite the daily struggles. Don't add to your daily troubles.

People need to step down and take a deep breath. Let cool heads prevail. Then a peaceable resolution can be reached that can be fair to all.


Posted by: C.L. | October 12, 2006 5:02 PM

Who ever is the President of the Gallaudet University, then is face and is to be a leader of the Deaf community. She or He will have an effect on Deaf Education in the US and worldwide. They are not just simply a university president. They are to represent the Deaf community to the whole world.

Yes, I understand the students and faculty protests. But I also desire for Gallaudet University to become academically stronger, which is why I support Jane K. Fernandes as President. Maybe there needs to be a split in the leadership role. One role as the university president and then another role as the Deaf Community US president-which students and non-students vote, every 4 years to promote Deaf Culture and ASL.

Posted by: Alumni | October 12, 2006 7:37 PM

I am concerned about deaf children from mainstream settings that might feel rejected by those protestors because those children from mainstream settings may be "d"eaf not "D"eaf and they might will feel that they are not welcome to be part of Gallaudet University's diversity. "d"eaf means not culturally deaf while "D" is culturally deaf. The prostest group belives in inclusive but they rejected Jane Fernandes. Therefore they rejected those "d"eaf children from mainstream settings.

Posted by: Carley Carbin | October 12, 2006 8:19 PM

Since when do students get to choose the administration?

This is a case of the inmates wanting to run the asylum.

Those students who don't like the choice of Fernandez should stop interrupting the business of those who are there to get their education and transfer to another school.

Posted by: CEEAF | October 12, 2006 9:00 PM

A lot of the problems with Gallaudet's education and graduation rate originate in the education background of the students themselves. Deaf education (whether residential or mainstream) throughout the US generally does a dismal job of preparing students for college. This, in turn, goes back to parents, many of whom do not make the effort required to make sure their children get what they need in terms of language development.

In addition, there are many faculty at Gallaudet who do not sign fluently enough to communicate well with their students. These faculty tend to be hearing and older (hired when a high level of proficiency in ASL was not expected). Because these faculty have tenure, they cannot be fired nor do they have much motivation to improve their communication skills. The younger faculty, on the other hand, tend to be Deaf and fluent in sign language. It will be at least 5 more years before retirements enable the university to dramatically increase the number of professors who sign fluently.

Not only do many of these older faculty lack the ability to communicate effectively with their students, they also have low expectations for them. It is appalling what some professors accept as passing work.

Having taught at NTID-RIT, my feeling is that the situation is the same as at Gallaudet. The poster who commented that all the smart students are going to NTID is clearly unaware that AOS and AAS students there are exactly the same level as the weaker students at Gallaudet.

What we are seeing at the protest is, at least in part, frustration at this situation. As provost, Jane Fernandes could have and should have been more aggressive in raising academic standards for students and communication standards for faculty. Instead, we get report after report on how to tackle these problems, but no follow through. New Directions, Task Force on Liberal Education, and now FOE. When are we going to stop talking and DO something?? And that is one of the main reasons faculty do not support her for president.

And by the way, Fernandes is Jane Kelleher's married name. She is not Latina.

Posted by: Gally prof | October 12, 2006 11:09 PM

Board Of Trustee must have full trust in Jane Fernandes no matter if she is purple, yellow, or whatever but she is OVER qualified for this position. As for her sign language skill. I can understand her perfectly fine. Her sign language skill is far better than King Jordan, I am sure that he is very proud of that. Since Board of Trustee of Gallaudet University are most Deaf, why can't we trust them? What if they know the best.
Don't we realize that protest really kill a lot of students' educational rights?

Posted by: Carley Carbin | October 13, 2006 4:07 PM

I'm a Gally Alumni of 2000 and profoundly glad to not be at Gally. Why glad? I don't want to see all this stupidity, arrests, what have you, going on. Just reading about is more than enough!!! I am deeply saddened by the actions by these people over the past few days.

I am proud of how the Gally adminstration has conducted themselves and been so very patient with the students. Knowing all too well the harsh consequences of the outside world once the arrest is on a record, I.K.Jordan and Jane Fernandes were infinitely patient with these students. Unfortunately, infinite patience cannot go on as it is true, learning must continue for these who want to teach and learn.

Big chunks of money were paid for these classes that were disrupted so "dramaqueenly" and for what? For something that none of the students and faculty members protesting can even articulate?

If I had been there in person, I would be standing on IKJ and JF's side, telling the protesters to shut up and go home to their rooms. To read up on DPN. To UNDERSTAND what the whole point of DPN was. To understand why DPN was effective and why this eh, so-called protest is not.

Jane Fernandes is going to be the next president. Simple as that. I see no proof anywhere why she should not be one. These so-called letters on the blogs could have been faked, could have been written by anyone. Anonymous is not proof enough. There were plenty of time for people to submit complaints against JF beforehand, long long before her name came up as a possible candiate as a possible future Gally president. This, right here, tells me that the whining about her being a horrible, awful, whatnot is bollocks.

She is deaf. She is fluent in ASL. She is a woman. She meets all the awesome minority quotas. Except for race. So we'll meet that in the 10th Prez, if the right candiate has all the qualifications and isn't white. Heck, in 5 years, maybe there'll be no more whites. Or we'll be all hybrids - half human-Vulcans.

Who the heck cares what we are!?! Deaf or hearing, it should not even matter, either.

All that matters should be if we can do the job, and Jane Fernandes is obviously capable of it, and well capable from what I see.

You, the protesters, are hypocrites. If you want future bosses to choose you for a job, you had better hope the boss is going to choose you based on qualifications, not whether you're hearing or deaf. Or whether you can talk or not. That's the way of today's world, still - even if ADA says nope.

And here's the myths and facts of what's going on - at http://news.gallaudet.edu/?id=9552 - Inside Gallaudet News. Read if you dare.

Posted by: plutogirl | October 14, 2006 4:52 AM

plutogirl, Are you hearing? I graduated in 2005 and had met or talked to JKF briefly. It has nothing to do with her being deaf. Of course, she can sign well but she is not fluent in ASL. Do not critize FSSA! They are not stupid. Most alumnis loved IKJ until now...and some who know JKF love her until now. They are shocked what they had done to the FSSA protesters. Explain why can't Jane listen or refuse to resign?

Posted by: gallyredasl'05 | October 14, 2006 9:59 PM

Nope, I'm very much deaf. Been deaf since birth and signed since 1 year old.

I have no interest in explaining anything if you can't even understand your OWN protest. That is the reason why the protest is ineffective.

In a protest, regardless of who, everybody knows why the protest is going on. News, both sides, the observers, the chatters, etc.

This is NOT the case here. No one can concisely explain why the protest is going on. For that, I am sorry Gallaudet University is getting a bad image from it, that the arrested people will have a blot on their records for the rest of their lives, that the Admin will have to waste their time with all this, instead of raising money so that Gallaudet University can remain OPEN for you students.

Ever consider HOW much money it takes for Gallaudet to run?

Ever consider how expensive it is to maintain ONE student?

How about how much more expensive it is when the campus is closed and so many students lose the opportunity to learn, their tuition fees wasted?

All you're focusing on is the fact that JF isn't "deaf enough"??? What does "deaf enough" mean? Hmm?

IKJ is "less deaf" than JF in this case, having been late-deafened, does not sign ASL fluently, has never taught ASL, has never set up ASL programs, etc etc.

You protesters REALLY need to use some of those brain cells before they die off from too much drinking and partying, please.

Posted by: plutogirl | October 14, 2006 11:38 PM

Only in this country are hearing people expected to learn only 1 language.Therefore, hearing parents are not encouraged to communicate to their deaf children with a LANGUAGE ( ASL). Unfortunetly these are the children who never grasp the structure of language that is mapped on the brain by three years old. I know, I am a parent of an extremely intelligent Deaf daughter. Other nations feel that their people have the intelligence to learn 2 languages. Why am I stating this? Because until hearing people in this country wake up to their narrow views and lack of understanding globally, they will never understand the issues facing Galludet.

A parent of a Gally graduate who holds Bachelors and a Masters.

P.S. Lip reading is an inherited skill. An example: We are all capable of singing, but there are those that inherited the ability to sing opera. The most skilled lip readers only get 60% of what is said, the rest they fill in.

Posted by: Mika | October 15, 2006 12:58 PM

Only in this country are hearing people expected to learn only 1 language.Therefore, hearing parents are not encouraged to communicate to their deaf children with a LANGUAGE ( ASL). Unfortunetly these are the children who never grasp the structure of language that is mapped on the brain by three years old. I know, I am a parent of an extremely intelligent Deaf daughter. Other nations feel that their people have the intelligence to learn 2 languages. Why am I stating this? Because until hearing people in this country wake up to their narrow views and lack of understanding globally, they will never understand the issues facing Galludet.

A parent of a Gally graduate who holds Bachelors and a Masters.

P.S. Lip reading is an inherited skill. An example: We are all capable of singing, but there are those that inherited the ability to sing opera. The most skilled lip readers only get 60% of what is said, the rest they fill in.

Posted by: Mika | October 15, 2006 12:58 PM

"P.S. Lip reading is an inherited skill. An example: We are all capable of singing, but there are those that inherited the ability to sing opera. The most skilled lip readers only get 60% of what is said, the rest they fill in."

Try 30% at the best. Any higher is a pure myth. I'm one of the best lipreaders, and the majority of my lipreading is more like guessreading.

See, most of the sounds in the English language are created in the throat, inside the mouth - NOT on the lips. And what's visible on the lips are then often similiar to the many other sounds that are also visible on the lips. So the reader is thereby already forced to guess *anyway*.

My pet peeves = not knowing the topic, food in mouth, talking with your teeth closed (this one will automatically make you impossible to lipread, just for the record, ok?), and anything that covers your mouth such as your hands waving in front of your face!!!

I've had a recent spate of meeting partons at the library, where I work, who talk with their teeth clenched shut. How the heck do they get themselves understood to other hearing people?!?!

It's bizarre.

I tried to talk with my teeth like that, it's impossible!

And, Mika, I am in full agreement with you in regards to learning multiple languages at an early age. That is the BEST time for anyone to learn any language. Heck, 10 languages could be done! Grin.

I'm a literacy devotee.

And I'll agree. We all are capable of learning to sign ASL, but not all of the deaf are capable of speaking intellible English nor lipreading. Nor are all deaf people capable of reaching high enough literacy skills that their writing skills is good enough to write/read back and forth at places such as doctors and be clear on what is going on.

Yet way too many deaf people are going to doctors and other important appointments, etc etc without interpreters. Emergency rooms as well.

I say, if any protests are necessary, it's the protest where (at minimum) all medical areas are taught HOW and WHERE to access interpreters, that it's THEIR responsibility, etc etc.

That's the first step. The second step is to ensure that all mainstreamed deaf children are receiving interpreters who are actually signing - not ones who barely can sign. That they aren't being helped with their schoolwork by the interpreters. Here's where we get the parents involved in learning that they CAN encourage AND expect more of their deaf children (I'm speaking of the hearing parents here).

Then, that's going to increase the level of literacy and skills right there in these children. And the deaf people who gain the better health care by having better access will have better quality of life.

That's the true path to having equal rights with everybody else. You can't do it if you can't read and write on an equal basis. Nor communicate easily (which will also require knowing good English skills). How can you expect to look professional and intelligent if all you can say is "im speak" and that in "written asl"?

I know far too many deafies like that and it saddens me. They can't get a job that's more than menial. No ability of English. Worse than the immigrants who's ESL and picking English up quickly because they have the benefit of practicing English easily and quickly.

All I can do is hope that the Gallaudet image is not completely ruined by this and that things that change are changed for the better.

Posted by: plutogirl | October 16, 2006 5:05 AM

Isn't it ironic that it is coming out now that "Deaf People Need To Be Heard?"

Oh, boy.

Posted by: Like Rain On Your Wedding Day | October 16, 2006 5:11 PM

In response to Paul Singleton:
Deaf people did not choose to isolated themselves from society; they didn't have a choice. They have had to fight FOR CENTURIES for every right that hearing people have had and take for granted on a daily basis. Maybe you should do a little more research before you open your mouth because it just makes you sound even more ignorant and like an ass.

Posted by: Ray | October 16, 2006 11:28 PM

I was skeptical of the protest at first as the students were unclear at first. The Tent City looked more like "Survivor: Gallaudet" than a serious protest. I was at DPN and I. King Jordan's inauguration.

When I found out what happened at the clerc center for the deaf (the primary and secondary schools on campus) under Fernandes' tenure, I cannot in good conscience support her. Granted, a Ph.D. in English literature who has perhaps been given the dictate to cut costs is not going to know how to put quality of deaf education at the highest priority. However the speed at which she did it, the lack of feedback she received led to 75 parents pulling their kids from school. I have a friend who tells me that she read in an education journal that the increase in student violence thanks to insanely high student-teacher ratios, lack of authority of support staff to enforce rules, etc. at those schools were "reflecting the tolerance for violence at large by society."
I am appalled that she undermined the key programs needed for special needs students to catch up on their language development.

The decisions she made are inconceivable to anybody with any firsthand knowledge of educating deaf people in a shared classroom.

While she was not qualified in the principles of elementary or secondary education, LET ALONE how to educate deaf students, she still could have done a better job-- had she listened to people who had the degrees.

And that is the problem. She's not "NOT deaf enough." She doesn't listen. She doesn't seek out wisdom. She doesn't garner loyalty with the people she works with. That means she is not a leader. Full stop, or period, in any language or grammar.

At GUFSSA.COM I am reading many letters from people I know and respect. Those letters could not be feigned or faked as they are from the heart.

One letter that struck me was from Jim McFadden of McFadden Associates, a 30 million dollar IT consulting company. He said he had to fire several vice presidents, including his best friend simply because they failed to lead effectively.

He said, to quote: "As president, people are always on their best behavior around you. You don't see what really goes on. When a person is intensively disliked by others, there is always a reason for it."

For some reason, the Board of Trustees and IKJ have chosen to ignore those warning signs in selecting Fernandes as the next president. That shows naivete at the very least. Anybody can brown-nose, few can lead.

Posted by: Wilbrod | October 17, 2006 1:09 AM

Thomas Aquinas proposed that government should work for the good of the people. He even daringly suggested maybe the people have the right to revolt when the ruler no longer works in accordance with the will of God.

Our country is a republic, with 3 distinct branches of government that normally work as check and balance. Universities have a more hierarchial system.

In theory faculty senate, board of trustees, and the administrative branches should at least have some partial say in all decisions. Student bodies also can serve as judicaries for the students themselves, the free press, and finally the "voting populace" by directly enrolling and paying for the university.

Alumni, graduated students, are also a powerful political force as they contribute to the university and may involve themselves in the administration and faculty at a later date.

Now, you have the Board of Trustees (top) and the curent administration holding one stance, and the faculty senate, the student body, and the alumni an differing position.

In a normal check and balance system, the BoT would be compelled to reconsider the decision or hold pending rubberstamp approval by representatives of the faculty, alumni, and the student body-- 2 out of 3 would do.

Because the BOT and the administration considers themselves to be on the top of a hierarchy, similar to a corporation, they mistakenly believe that means they are not compelled to weigh the other 3 factions' opinions on the quality of THEIR decisionmaking.

As a result, the only alternative left is to revolt until an healthier system is in place.

Alumni are protesting that they make up less than 50% of the Board of Trustees, while most universities' board of trustees have a higher degree of alumni representation. This is a fair charge. the BoT's decision in 1988 led to DPN and a change in the board. However, Jordan himself had some say in who went on the board.

That means the BoT in effect became too tightly linked to the Jordan administration in later years to be a neutral judge.

It's time to look at a change in the power structure so this kind of disconnect and disrespect for the university itself does not occur by those nominally in charge of the university. It's not a problem unique to Gallaudet, unfortunately.

Either we need restricted presidental appointments with open interviews and reapplications after a few years, or we need guaranteed alumni percentages on the BoTs, or we need to be sure the administration cannot select provosts without the approval of the faculty senates, or all of the above points.

But one thing is for sure, we can't just go home and pretend the problem never existed and allow Fernandes to take charge.

Posted by: Wilbrod | October 17, 2006 1:25 AM

I thought you were just ignorant about baseball, Marc, now I see you;re thoroughly and consistently stupid.

Time for the FireJoeMorgan.com treatment:

Marc says "But Gallaudet has already chosen a new prexy, its former provost, Jane Fernandes, and it's hard to imagine the trustees scrapping that decision because a bunch of students disagree with the choice."

No Marc, it's 80 percent of the students and just as much of the faculty (which you acknowledge a few grafs down the page). An overwhelming majority is a little more significant than a "bunch".

Marc says "The Gallaudet protesters seem to believe that the university ought to have ceded to students the right to select, or at least to play a role in selecting, the college president. This is a grandiose and wildly unrealistic sense of how the world works and of how it should work." Gee Marc, you pretend to be a reporter until your laziness serves you to claim being a columnist -- why don't you research and determine what the protestors ACTUALLY believe instead of what they SEEM to believe? For the record, your own paper said that they wanted the process repoened, and that Fernandes could be a candidate.

Marc said "Well, actually, trustees of a university have no reason to give students a say in who becomes president. It is of course politic and even helpful to consult with students as part of a broad review of campus views before choosing a new leader, but that's a far cry from giving students a seat at the decision table." Rare when you see imperiousness and arrogance praised in a public forum. Boards of Trustees have a responsibility to act in the best interests of the institutions (thus the word TRUSTee, get it?). Especially when 80% of their funding comes from the taxpayers (when will we see Congressional hearings on this?) Leave aside for a moment the community's lack of regard for Dr. Fernandes -- exactly how is she going to raise funds for Gallaudet -- a college president's most important task -- when prosepective donors KNOW she is opposed by 80 percent of the community? Are you trying to say that the Board can reponsibly name a President that any rational person knows is doomed to fail?

Marc goes onto say that ". . . if the college chooses a president who communicates well verbally--making many of her statements difficult for students to understand--that raises some basic and truly gnawing objections." BUT THEN concludes with "I have no idea whether Fernandes is the right choice for president at Gallaudet." So let's see

a) Marc is playing reporter here, but can't deliever straightforward fact because he is too lazy to do any research
b) Marc is playing columnist here, but is too lazy to formulate an opinion
c) Marc is just taking a paycheck from The Washington Post Corporation and felt the the need to touch base on something that is filling the news, but on which he could not really care less.

Whatever. Aaron had it exactly right when he observed that "effective leaders don't create messes like this, and both Fernandes & Jordan have been leading this institution for a long, long time."

Posted by: RL | October 17, 2006 11:45 AM

O.K. When all is said and done, if not Dr. Fernandes, who would the protesters recommend to be president of Gallaudet?

Posted by: Kieth Miller | October 17, 2006 4:02 PM

There are many faculty who did not tell students the truth about how the department runs. The whole thing starts from the department. The departments are the one who hire those teachers who can't sign and can sign not the provost. The departments are the one who baby down gallaudet university education because they are the one who are responsible for developing their own curriculum not the provost. JUST GIVE HER CHANCE!

Posted by: Who knows | October 17, 2006 4:09 PM

In 1988 Protest was led by 100% hereditarily deaf leaders. Results end with Deaf Power, DeafHood, ASL mandatory for EVERY deaf child, hereditarily deaf are claimed to be smarter than the deaf of the hearing. The former drag the latter into maelstrom of their deaf world.
Lingists support hereditarily deaf who use ASL as their FIRST language. They mandate the deaf of the hearing to learn and use ASL that is NOT related to English language and discourage speech and lipreading.
Now in 2006 the protest is led by uncomfortabley large nunmbers of hereditarily deaf - students and their deaf parents as alumni. They oppose to SimCom (speak and sign), Cochlear Implant, speech contact with the hearing world. Every blog is anti-English in every way.
If only Jane Fernandes is a good leader with positive approach, her theory in signing English language would be acceptable on behalf of the deaf of the hearing and the mainstreamed students.
It is appalling to see university educated deaf demanding ASL interpreters as well as ASL teachers. No wonder so many do not eventually achieve a degree to graduate.
If those ASL using hereditarily deaf get what they want, then Gallaudet could be titled "Gallaudet University for the Deaf-Mute."

Posted by: Maddy M | October 18, 2006 12:59 PM

All right, for those who do not really grasp the central core of the protest: do not feel bad for being confused. I was exactly like you when I was at home in NYC, reading about this through the internet. Last Sunday, I decided to come to Gallaudet...

The demand for the resignation of Dr. Jane K. Fernandes rests on simple reasons. First of all, it would not be unfair to say that every Deaf school in the nation, if not the world, promotes the awareness of Gallaudet University. Most schools even have Gallaudet Day to celebrate the birthday of Thomas Gallaudet. Many of the teachers at the Deaf schools are graudates of the University.

Most Deaf kids who are raised in Deaf schools are usually a good distance away from home and live in dormitories..In these places, we learn about the University and embrace it as our own. Hearing people do not have that with their Universities. That is what makes Gallaudet unique.

Also, the president of the University will not just be running an University but a high school and an elementary school. The very same schools where the students will place their children. Therefore, we as Deaf people do have a right to have a say in the presidental selection. It's my education, my child's and my grandchildren's...

Dr. Jane K Fernandes's argument about being the lone voice for inclusiveness is a blatant insult to the Deaf community at large. We, the Deaf people, has welcomed people who are hearing, who wears cochlear implants, etc., as part of the community. For the most part, we have some degree of hearing.

If the leader of the University refuses to sit down and talk with the students, the faculty, and the alumnaes and remain persistent in her stance of being president, how can she improve the Deaf community? Ensure that Deaf children will be heard, teach them a sense of pride in who they are rather than encourage them to identify themselves as disabled person who can do anything.

Irving King Jordan made a slip long before the selection of Jane as the presidental designate annoucing her as the ninth president of the university. That raised red flags across the country as we watch with anticipation throughout the selection process. We were assured that we will know exactly why the candidate selected was the BEST for the job.

to this day, we still do not know why Dr. Jane K. Fernandes was the BEST candidate. In fact, the Board of Trustees has simply said: "We selected her as the ninth president, and that is that!"

What were their reasons? why was she better than the others? Why none of the administration feel it is rather important to sit down with the international Deaf community and explain their reasons? We would be much more compromising if we knew all the facts.

There are questions of mismanagement in the financial department between the offices of the current President and the Provost. As Jane moves into office, the information will never be released and have every penny explained.

The faculty feel there is no sense of effective leadership in Jane Fernandes BEFORE she became provost then AGAIN now, BEFORE she became president. Why is it that the Faculty is being ignored? Is it because they have direct relationship with the children, their parents, and their futures that the Faculty realizes the need for transparency in the search process.

These are simply few reasons why the protest is such a fierce emotional ride for the Deaf community.

also, I have been taking pictures of the protest so far... http://dersanktpics.blogspot.com

Posted by: Ben Vess | October 19, 2006 12:44 AM

The current situation at Gallaudet and the underlying controversy remind me of a Post Magazine article some months ago. Deaf, signing, parents objected to their deaf child receiving a cochlear implant, insisting on enveloping the child in "deaf culture".

One is reminded of the (contested) allegation that many high-achieving African American students are held back by their peers, who accuse them of "acting white".

It appears that many Gallaudet students want to hold back the deaf students who want to reach out to the hearing world.

Granted, the law demands that employers treat deaf people equitably but how can a deaf person be an employer if he or she cannot communicate with the general population, which does not know sign language?

Posted by: Gary | October 19, 2006 4:47 PM

A true leader will understand why Jane Fernandes remains strong like The Iron Lady (Margaret Thatcher)... let me quote something from Margaret Thatcher, "If you just set out to be liked, you would be prepared to compromise on anything at any time and you would achieve nothing." If you want everyone to like you then you're a weak leader.

Posted by: Carley Carbin | October 20, 2006 12:26 AM

FYI, Deaf Culture exists beyond Gallaudet. Deaf Culture exists in every major cities and in many many towns across the USA. It is not limited to Gallaudet. Deaf Culture exists within the hearing culture. Just as other cultures in the USA.

Posted by: smokey | October 20, 2006 9:09 PM

Since this whole chaos started, I have been asking myself that question everyday, "Does second chance exist in Deaf community?" My answer to that question is no. There is no explaination for it except it is all because of people dwell on the past too often and forget about good things. It is part of human nature and its not easy to remember good things when bad things happened.

Posted by: Carley Carbin | October 20, 2006 10:24 PM

I have just one comment to make that i have been sharing with many people about this protest going on, notice that many protesters are wearing shirt "Unity for Gallaudet"

Now look closer, if you social among those protester at the front gate, you will notice that many of them have different stories about how this protest start and different demands. They don't have one same story so how can they wear shirt and say that its Unity for Gallaudet when they aren't practicing that out there?

Now i social with the Jane Fernandes supporters and couple Adm, they all have one same story so now can you explain to me why that is?

Posted by: Lindsay Henderson | October 23, 2006 11:22 AM

I don't understand what this poor woman has done to deserve the treatment she is getting from the students at the school.I would think that if she were not qualified for the job she would not have been hired.I am the hearing parent of a deaf adult. My deaf daughter seems to feel that the woman should step down from the position simply because the students say so.If she's done nothing wrong then, get rid of the trouble makers and take care of the students that are there for an education. Ehat about the problems this is causing for them.They paid their tuition and are there for an education.Who is speaking on their behalf?

Posted by: Donna Hendrickson | October 23, 2006 4:40 PM

If I agree that next president's resign, but I do not agree that protesters acted things.

Protesters acted things;

1. Closed all campus gates last spring semester. (Stop shuttle bus, only half day)
2. Locked down Hall Memorial Building
3. Closed Campus that stopped business and classes
4. Thew water to the president's family
5. Brock Jordan Center's signboard
6. Enforcement neutral students to join the protest
7. Defamation to president side people and others who do not support the protest.
8. A teacher who support protest gave pressure to other teachers who do not support the protest
9. Delete opposite opinion that do not support the protest from blog that support the protest.
10. Closed Highschool(MSSD) and Elementary school in Gallaudet.
11. Refused open 6th gate even the President allowed protesters can protest on the front gate.
12. A teacher cancelled classes 7 times for protest.
13. College Hall locked down

I do not understand that next president's resign is connected with protesters' acted 13 things.

I met and sent mail some protesters.

In last spring;

When I said complain to them, thay said,"Please that complain to president side." Why? I never complain to president side.

When protesters closed campus;
I said, "I want to take classes."
Protester said, "Ask teacher, the teacher will make class outside, Union Station, or through fence. If no classes, the teacher will give pass to you."

I met one teacher who support protest.
I said, "Locked down building was wrong."
The teacher said, "Student did it. Not teachers." But teachers joined Rally in HMB when protesters closed HMB. The teacher encouraged next president will be president, but Why don't know, the teacher changed mind.

I tried to find protesters' helping me, but I could not find it. Protesters never help me, protesters block my right of education.

Opposite;

In last spring;

When the protesters said, "Please that complain to president side", I went to president office. I needed to buy key but I could not buy because protesters closed campus and stopped bus service. I explained to president's wife. She gave me key.

When protesters closed campus;

One day, I sent mail to president to help.
Next day, President began to negotiate with president of student.

Thursday, I sent mail to president that I feel pain.
Next day, President opened 6th street gate as opened campus.

I feel that president side people helped me many time. I very thanks to president side people.

Therefore, I do not want to support protest.

Posted by: gallybison | October 26, 2006 7:59 AM

I feel tired.
I feel worry about next Monday.
I want to back to my country.

Washington post's article had "Bad name Gallaudet."
But my country or my family will be labelling, "Bad name U.S.A."

I strong support Return of education group.
I WANT to pass science lab class this semester.
I do NOT want to take same class again at Fall semester 2007.

I think that 80% of wrong is protesters, because they did unlawful things.
Now, Gallaudet is anomie situation, that protesters fight for goal that next president's resign without keep law.
If protesters keep law, I would be support protest, but they blocked environment of education and they will may break this semester.
I feel scared.

I think that 20% of wrong is president side. I believe that BOT's process was right and next president can be good president.
However, I do NOT agree that president side's attitude when protesters block our education.
I want to suggest to next president's resign for stop this protest.
What president side will get problem when next president's resign? Is it money?
Is it president's retirement allowance?
I feel thanks to president and I like president, so I want to say to president, Please stop protest and do not stubborn.

I feel really tired.
Protesters and president side,do not bother me, do not make me involve by your self.
Protesters and president side should be fight on Mars.
I just want to study in peaceful environment.
I cannot forgive that this semester will be out.
I am praying for next Monday must be nomal environment.

Posted by: gallybison | October 28, 2006 8:15 AM

Well...... I think of Deaf world alike the indigenous communities all around the world, their cultures, languages, customs and way of life are all interfered and threatened by outsiders. The outsiders of the Deaf world are people who hear and speak and also the audists (people including deaf who think that hearing and hearing ways are best).

Yet while most of us know what change is and that it is inevitable. The indigenous including Deaf people feel threatened by change. I am sure we know what follows after feeling threatened. People become angry but then there are rules. I suppose that the Deaf in America are very lucky to speak out and protest about it. There are other indigenous people in other countries who cannot speak our nor protest.

And so the protest on campus with the Gallaudet University Faculty, Students Staff and Alumni know that a peaceful demonstration must be the way. If violence occurs from our behalf, we fail. However as it is now the threat from people who hear and speak and the audists is continuing, and are becoming more insenstivie and harsh. It is very sad for many of us. And it is unfair too .

Unfair because for what Galllaudet University has long stood for (higher education for Deaf people). And Gallaudet has taught Deaf people for more than 150 years. The University has a long heritage and a strong connection to culturally Deaf people. It's foundations are rooted in our cullture where livelihood are the the fruits culturivated by Gallaudet Univeristy.

Over the many years, Gallaudet University grew to belong to the Culturally Deaf people. If you can check our history you will find a strong bond. And we take pride in this. Gallaudet belongs to the Deaf not the hearing and speaking deaf.

The on going protest in other words a territorial dispute too. the Culturally Deaf people alike many indigenous people have no land. Gallaudet is our most cherished property. We don't want to lose it.

Finally, JKF as she is and her ideas about the changes happening in the Deaf world seriously threatens us. We want her out of Gallaudet Univeristy. And for one reason she says she can speak, and understand hearing views and I learning this think she should take what she knows about hearing and speaking ways with her and challenge work and life in the hearing and speaking world. Gallaudet University belongs to the Deaf not people like JKF.

It is all about survival of the Deaf culture.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 28, 2006 7:35 PM

I am shocked to hear this, let me quote by unknown on the date of October 28th at 7:35pm, "Unfair because for what Galllaudet University has long stood for (higher education for Deaf people). And Gallaudet has taught Deaf people for more than 150 years. The University has a long heritage and a strong connection to culturally Deaf people. It's foundations are rooted in our cullture where livelihood are the the fruits culturivated by Gallaudet Univeristy."

It is faculty/staff's responsible to make sure to have a higer education within their departments not the administration.

quote by same person same day and time,
"Over the many years, Gallaudet University grew to belong to the Culturally Deaf people. If you can check our history you will find a strong bond. And we take pride in this. Gallaudet belongs to the Deaf not the hearing and speaking deaf."

"SPEAKING DEAF" is really bothering me, it shows that whoever wrote is one of people who are splitting the community not Jane Fernandes. She is trying to pull different kinds of deaf into Deaf world to make it to be stronger and stop the audism. What you are doing is to make Deaf community to be much weaker by letting audism to continue in our community.

What you have stated is really insulting to those hard of hearing children out there in United States of America and other countries. What that person stated did not help Deaf community much by saying those kind of thing about "speaking deaf".


Posted by: Carley Carbin | October 29, 2006 12:37 PM

Janes Fernandes was terminated today by the BoT.


-The End-

Posted by: Pah! | October 29, 2006 7:33 PM

One protester sent treatening mail to BOT.
They planed close campus if BOT refuse Jane's resign.
It is not right way.

http://news.gufssa.com/2006/10/29/message-to-bot-from-unity-for-gallaudet-protestors/

Education supporters sent mail BOT for explain about mix up in Gallaudet University, and wrote that they will accept any BOT's decition.

I believe that BOT thought about neutral students, education supporters, and some protesters who wrote nice manner letter.

I am happy that protest finish and I can back to my country with "Good name U.S.A."

Thank you very much and good job to BOT.

Posted by: gallybison | October 29, 2006 10:18 PM

I am deeply saddened that the Gallaudet Board of Trustees voted to terminate Janes Fernades contract for president starting January 2007.

I felt she may have been just the role model that many parents of deaf children, oral deaf, or deaf children with implants needed. Her leadership was questioned.....people do and can change. I do believe that Jane wanted the best for Gallaudet and wanted to lead Gallaudet with new ideas and continue to strive for excellence in education. It is too bad she was not given the chance to show what she had planned.

Gallaudet has always been "heaven" for the deaf where everyone that comes is accepted and welcome. We must be proud of that.

Posted by: Carley Carbin | October 30, 2006 9:40 AM

Gallaudet University will never be the same without Dr. Jane Fernandes. I will never be able to look at Gallaudet University and feel inspired again because protesters have rejected diversity of Deaf people especially rejecting Dr. Jane Fernandes. People need to learn to look at facts not hearsay. I won't be surprised if Gallaudet University heads for worse.

Posted by: A very Depressed Gallaudet Student | October 30, 2006 9:51 AM

True victim was Dr. Jane Fernandes.

When some studnets block American football's stand,Jane admonished the students last spring. It was beginning of her cross. The studnets became hate her.

One teacher encouraged Jane become president. The teacher joined FSSA when protest began.

All of begning was some people's malice to Jane.

Then, some protesters continue say speak evil of Jane even protest finished.

Protesters should be panishment by law.
We should not neglect offender on our campus.

Posted by: gallybison | November 2, 2006 6:31 PM

Gallaudet University is falling apart. Look at board of trustee, some of them resigned because of wrongful decision has been made to terminate Dr. Jane Fernandes' contract. I don't think that Deaf members of Deaf community have realized that they has caused a lot of damages.

Posted by: Carley Carbin | November 8, 2006 12:15 AM

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