I Bleed Buff and Blue

Friday, October 20, 2006

Washington Post Editorial: Backbone for the Board

Backbone for the Board
Gallaudet's trustees should not surrender their principles.
Friday, October 20, 2006; Page A20

TRUSTEES AT Gallaudet University knew they weren't making the most popular decision when they selected Jane K. Fernandes to be the school's next president. But they believed she was the best choice to lead the renowned school for the deaf. If the trustees are to take seriously their obligation to the university, they must not surrender their principles to mob rule.

Weeks of unruly protests that have disrupted the university, a faculty vote of no confidence and unrelenting bad publicity appear to be weakening the resolve of some members of the board of trustees. As reported by The Post's Susan Kinzie, as many as seven of the 20 trustees (cloaked, of course, by anonymity) are having second thoughts about Ms. Fernandes and think she should step aside. This is the board that just six months ago unanimously appointed her and that, as recently as five days ago, called her "the most qualified candidate to run the institution."

Contrary to the false claims of protesters, Ms. Fernandes was picked after a careful six-month search by a 17-member committee that included people of color as well as deaf and hard-of-hearing representatives. The majority of the committee was made up of faculty, students, staff and alumni -- all appointed because of their good standing on campus. Ms. Fernandes emerged as a finalist after she and five other candidates were interviewed. Such facts don't appear to matter to those students and faculty members who have just one goal in mind: to get their own way. It is instructive that even now they have offered no cogent explanation of what they see as so wrong with Ms. Fernandes. Indeed, even her harshest critics concede that "on paper" she is qualified.

It is clear, however, that one factor that went into the faculty's vote of no confidence and that is now affecting the board is a belief that it would just be easier for Ms. Fernandes to leave so the university can move on. How, though, will the university ever function if the people who are charged with its interests go against their best judgment and give up their legal authority to individuals who behave so badly?

Ms. Fernandes knows the answer, and that's why she, at least, is standing by her principles. She should not be left standing alone.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Communication Access at GU - interpreters!

Communication Access for the Gallaudet Community
Monday, October 16, 2006, 6:40 p.m.

The University Administration believes that communication access for all members of our community is of paramount importance, particularly in times of crisis. In response to concerns about the lack of interpreting services and the need for communication access during this current situation, the University Administration has established a special account with Gallaudet Interpreting Services (GIS) to provide interpreters for crisis-related situations at no cost to departments requesting service.

GIS will also have two interpreters available every day of the week, 24 hours a day during a crisis. Interpreters have been informed that they may volunteer their services after work hours, and many have.

At a later date this process will be reviewed and a permanent plan for providing communication access during a crisis situation will be established.

Interpreter requests for non-crisis related situations will be handled through the regular request and payment process.

More Gallaudet and Rule of Law

More Gallaudet and Rule by Law[Candace de Russy 10/16 09:52 AM]http://tinyurl.com/y2g9hj

Anthony calls the shutting down of Gallaudet University by students demanding that its next president sanction the exclusive use of sign language, at the university and in deaf culture, “strange.” Indeed, this latest pitched battle between campus members favoring the primacy of sign language, and those receptive to the use of voice and sign language simultaneously, is puzzling to outsiders.

But whatever the origins and merits of this dispute, it should not be allowed to obscure the fact that this campus takeover by students, allegedly at the instigation of faculty members, constitutes (in the words of the departing president I. King Jordan) “illegal and unlawful behavior.”

The president designate, Jane K. Fernandes, accused by the “sign only” faction of not sufficiently valuing sign language, seems to have been duly vetted and appointed by Gallaudet’s governing board

Former president Jordan is right to have forewarned students that they could be faced with arrest and suspension. The board is right to declare that its decision to hire Fernandes was “fair and final” and to forewarn that it will not reopen the search for a new president. And students and faculty who support Fernandes’s appointment are right in objecting that the protesters are depriving their fellow students of an education.

Due process and rule by law must carry the day. The protesters must desist and, if discussion fails, be forcibly stopped from (as Fernandes says) “holding the campus hostage.” In addition, if punishment is meted out to protesting students, it should be determined if and which faculty members instigated this latest bout of campus anarchy – and they too should face penalties. Professors should not have immunity when they use students as proxies in campus takeovers or any other unlawful actions.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Update from GU President, Part Two - the Timeline

Timeline of Negotiations

On Friday, October 6, 2006, protestors occupied and ultimately barricaded Hall Memorial Building (“HMB”), the University’s main classroom building. Shortly thereafter, the DC Police and Gallaudet’s Department of Public Safety evacuated specific campus buildings in response to a bomb threat that appeared to be related to the student protest. Despite repeated University requests, the protesters refused to leave HMB and allow classes to resume.

On Saturday, October 7 and Sunday, October 8, the Interim Provost Michael Moore, the Dean of Student Affairs Carl Pramuk, and the Executive Director of Enrollment Services Deborah DeStefano, met repeatedly and for several hours at a time with the identified group of protest leaders. At every meeting the protestors would send in a different team of negotiators. This made the negotiations difficult since the university representatives were always dealing with a different group of people who brought different demands. These meetings did not result in resolution of the situation.

Throughout Monday, October 9, the protestors continued to occupy HMB and the University received another bomb threat. However, the University moved and rescheduled classes and remained open.

By the afternoon of Monday, October 9, the University believed it was close to announcing a peaceful resolution, having obtained a signed agreement with the president of the Student Body Government (SBG), who held himself out as a leader among the protestors. However, he subsequently rescinded his signature.

On October 9, the University again called for the protestors to cease their occupation and the protestors refused to do so.

The University moved and rescheduled classes and remained open throughout Tuesday, October 10.

On the evening of October 10, the Interim Provost Michael Moore, the Dean of Student Affairs Carl Pramuk and the Dean of the Laurent Clerc Center Dr. Katherine Jankowski were identified as the University representatives who would meet with four SBG representatives to resume negotiations. At around 10 p.m., both parties agreed to specific negotiation ground rules and all seven individuals signed a joint press release announcing the negotiation team and agreement on ground rules. The joint press release was distributed to the campus community shortly before 1:00 a.m. on October 11.

At approximately 3:00 a.m. on Wednesday, October 11, protestors physically barricaded all entrances to the campus by forming “human chains” in the paths of all pedestrians and cars seeking to enter or exit the campus, including the main entrance on Florida Avenue. By this time, protestors included students, faculty, alumni, parents and others.

After meeting with District of Columbia police and University officials for three hours on Thursday, October 12, certain of the protest leaders agreed to open the 6th Street side-entrance to the campus. However, other protestors refused to abide by this agreement, and all entrances to the campus remained closed. Drs. Fernandes and Jordan met with a group of seven faculty members to discuss ways in which to reach a peaceful resolution of the campus lockdown.

On Friday, October 13, DC Police and University officials, including Dr. Fernandes, again met protest leaders to request that they allow the campus to reopen.

On the evening of October 13, President Jordan issued a statement announcing that the University had exhausted all means of communication and negotiation with the protestors. He stated that University would allow the protest to continue at the front of the campus at the main Florida Avenue gate, but that access to the campus would be restored so that the educational activities of the University could resume. President Jordan also asked the University Department of Public Safety, their consultant, and the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department to take actions necessary to reopen the University.

On the evening of Friday, October 13, the University police began arresting protesters. The arrests were peaceful, proceeded without incident, and there were no injuries. During the evening and into the night of October 13, certain of the protestors started three separate fires. Protestors then denied access to the Metropolitan Fire Department the second time they were called to the scene. The Fire Department sent a fire inspector to the campus, who informed University officials that the school would be fined if the Defendants continued to block the Fire Departments access and that those who blocked fire trucks could be subject to arrest. Following the arrests the 6th Street side gate to the campus was reopened early in the morning of Saturday, October 14. The main entrance on Florida Avenue remained blocked.

Since the morning of October 11 and continuing to the present, protestors have cut off or significantly restricted access on and off campus. Protestors have used physical and verbal intimidation to deter those seeking to enter or exit the campus. When Dr. Fernandes drove to a side entrance of the campus on Thursday, some protestors surrounded her vehicle to try to stop it from entering. Security lifted these individuals out of the way before she could enter the campus. Only individuals with heavy security protection have been allowed to enter or leave campus. Protestors also have marched into the Department of Public Safety building and demanded that either those security people not currently on duty leave campus or the head of security leave.

As a result of the protesters actions, the campus has remained closed and classes have not taken place since October 11. The University is particularly concerned that the protestors have halted classes for the child development center and students in elementary and secondary school at Kendall Demonstration Elementary School (KDES) and Model Secondary School for the Deaf (MSSD). KDES students are bussed to the campus from around the D.C. Metropolitan region, and the protestors’ blockade would have prevented these busses from entering the campus. Most MSSD students reside on campus, but are currently off campus visiting family or friends because the weekend of October 13 was already scheduled to be a “closed weekend.” MSSD students are due to return to campus on Monday with classes scheduled to resume on Tuesday, October 17.

Since October 11, protestors have halted the educational process of both undergraduate and graduate students enrolled at the University. The protests caused the disruption of scheduled mid-term exams. The University estimates that of some 1,900 hundred enrolled students, fewer than 400 are among the protestors.

Finally, the protests have also suspended all University services offered to the District's deaf, hard of hearing and deaf-blind clients, community mental health services, as well as all University sponsored conferences, seminars, and other University activities.

Update from GU President - Part One

October 15, 2006

Dear Members of the Campus Community,

For those on campus who say they want to be heard, I assure you have been heard. You have been heard by me. You have been heard by the Board. We have heard you from the beginning of your protest. We have considered and discussed your points of view. We just haven’t agreed with you. And we still don’t.

We recognize your right to continue expressing your opinion, but we cannot defend your tactics. Taking control of Hall Memorial Building and locking out students, teachers and staff is indefensible. Blocking entrances to the campus is unjustifiable. No one has the right to stop education.

The protestors are making accusations in the media which do not reflect the reality of the past week. The Administration negotiated with the leaders of the protests in good faith and around the clock. There was a complete lack of good faith on the part of the protestors. Agreements were reneged upon and demands changed at the last minute. I have attached a timeline of events to demonstrate the enormous efforts put forth by this Administration and the Metropolitan Police Department to peacefully end the standoff.

Most of you do not know how long and hard we negotiated with the protestors. On Monday afternoon, the SBG president signed an agreement to reopen HMB and then reneged. The protestors then made public a list of more than 20 demands, some of which were obviously unacceptable. They proceeded to shut down the campus by blocking access at all the gates, with complete disregard for the havoc their actions wreaked on the rest of the Gallaudet community. We continued to negotiate but when it became clear the protestors had no intention of allowing access to the campus, I had no choice but to call the Metropolitan Police Department. MPD Assistant Chief Wilson was on campus for two days also trying to negotiate a way to peacefully reopen the campus. It is impossible to have a negotiation when only one side is willing to act in good faith. Chief Wilson and his team repeatedly explained to the protestors that they would be arrested if they did not allow access. Unfortunately, many protestors chose to be arrested. Let me be clear, this was a method of last resort but it was their choice. They were arrested for breaking the law.

I do believe that diversity, including diversity of opinion, is our strength and absolutely essential for academic excellence. Freedom is about choices within the law that respect justice for all people. It is our responsibility to teach these important concepts to our students.

Dr. Jane Fernandes has the leadership qualities needed to lead this University. The Board of Trustees has selected her from a diverse field of candidates. Dr. Fernandes can meet the challenge to lead during a time of change. She can help expand Deaf culture to include all deaf people. She knows and loves Gallaudet. Her years of educational and administrative experience have prepared her to help our students to be successful in a changing and diverse world. Encourage your sense of fairness to surface and give Dr. Fernandes the respect that is due her and the opportunity to bring us all together in pursuit of academic excellence and strengthening our inclusive deaf university.

For now, the University’s top priority must be to keep open the campus and to resume providing education to all of the students in the Gallaudet community, in a safe environment.

I. King Jordan
President

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Many Ways of Being Deaf

Today's Editorial in Washington Post -
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/10/13/AR2006101301492.html

Many Ways of Being Deaf by Jane Fernandes

It was 3 a.m. on Tuesday. I had been up all night negotiating with student protesters occupying Gallaudet University's Hall Memorial Building, home to classrooms, department offices and labs. Negotiations had broken down. The protesters did not approve of my appointment by the board of trustees to be the next president of Gallaudet University. How had things at the world's premier university for deaf and hard-of-hearing people come to this?

Our Gallaudet community is varied. There are many kinds of deaf people. Some are born to deaf parents; most are not. Some are lucky enough to grow up using American Sign Language. Others -- like myself and increasing numbers of Gallaudet's students -- learn and embrace ASL later in life. Some are deaf from birth; some become deaf later in life. Some benefit from the use of hearing aids or cochlear implants; others don't. Some have visual impairments or other disabilities.

What unites all types of deaf people at our university is the rich history of the deaf community, American Sign Language and Deaf culture that has shaped Gallaudet's mission and character. As divided as we might seem right now, we are united in our commitment to that mission and character.

But what we see happening at Gallaudet is not just about being deaf. Just as there is diversity in ways of being deaf, the deaf community shares with the larger society diversity of age, gender, disability, racial and ethnic background, religion, sexual orientation and socioeconomic class. Just as in the larger society, racism exists within the deaf community. Deaf people of color face discrimination not only because of their hearing status (termed audism) but because of their race -- even from within the deaf community. Deaf people of color and others from diverse groups must be included and are just as central to Gallaudet's mission and character as are our commitments to American Sign Language and Deaf culture. Currently, they are not.

During the presidential search and selection process, the issues of audism and racism that have plagued the deaf community for centuries came to the forefront. Long rumbling under the surface, they erupted like a volcano. I happened to be the person standing next to that volcano. The heat and fury of the eruption are the result of suppressed frustrations due to racism and audism, disagreements on how best to address them, and how best to preserve and support Deaf culture and American Sign Language in an age when deaf people are more diverse than ever.

There are those who would have us hunker down, fighting audism by excluding those who are not already like us. If Gallaudet took this approach, we would find ourselves shrinking to insignificance as the diversity of deaf, hard-of-hearing and deaf-blind people looked to other institutions to welcome them, however imperfectly.

Let me make very clear my complete commitment to Deaf culture and American Sign Language as fundamental to Gallaudet University. Having devoted half my life to improving and extending deaf education, I want to see our university grow in preeminence as an institution of higher learning. The best way for Gallaudet to thrive in the 21st century is to strengthen our community by sharing American Sign Language and Deaf culture and by growing as an inclusive university for the deaf. American Sign Language and Deaf culture are the birthright of every deaf, hard-of-hearing and deaf-blind person who wishes to claim them. By welcoming and including the diverse spectrum of deaf people, by respecting and appreciating our differences, we strengthen our core.

At age 23, when I learned ASL and was embraced by the signing deaf community in Iowa, I found my home; I became a whole person. By including me and sharing their language and culture, the people of the Iowa deaf community made me whole and at the same time strengthened their community just a little bit. Becoming an inclusive deaf university will strengthen Gallaudet and its students in the same way, many times over.

Having grown up deaf, I know what it means to experience audism. In high school I was the only deaf person in all my classes. My best friend was an African American student, the only person of color in most of her classes. We shared a bond based on similar experiences of discrimination and a determination to address them. I maintain that determination today, and I am devoted to making Gallaudet University a place that welcomes, respects and provides a top-quality education to all students. It's time to break the impasse and work together on our common goals.

The writer is president-designate of Gallaudet University.

A Ficitous Protest for Ficitous Reasons

A Fictitious Protest for Fictitous Reasons


By Guest Blogger on Sat 14 Oct 2006 (from DeafDC.com)
By Kristi Merriweather

Elsia Writes:
I have two request from the community. One, do not give up. Two, begin to ask Gallaudet University to justify the fact that a white man with masters is more qualified than a black man with a Ph.D. To this day, I have never heard a reason to justify that.This is the message to the person who used my name…do not lose hope for victory is close.With best regards,Noah BeckmanSBG President

How cowardly.

The very same man who told a dissenting student group of color back in April, “Sorry, we must follow the majority, based on polls, the majority wants the process to continue, so the SBG cannot support your fight about Glenn”, is now claiming to be concerned about the same thing.
Quick quiz — who is the majority on campus, numberwise?

Of course, white people.

Who are the minority to begin with, numberwise?

People of color. Well, duh!

Thank you, Student Body Government (SBG), for faithfully representing “everyone”. I mean, “the majority”.

And now he is highlighting Dr. Glenn Anderson as a reason to be involved in this protest?
Tsk tsk. How very convenient.

Do you, by chance, remember, back in April, a group called Coalition of Organizations for Students of Color (COSC)?

COSC was started by Black Deaf Students Union (BDSU), Asian Pacific Association, International Students Club (ISC), with external support of National Black Deaf Advocates (NBDA) and some staff members of color. (Latino students and Rainbow Society, for some reason I do not know, refused to be a part of COSC…FSSA yes, but not COSC.)

If you will re-read the eloquent position papers COSC and NBDA issued, nowhere in these documents did they call for Fernandes to resign. They didn’t have beef with Fernandes. Even when they were on FSSA, they did not ask for that demand.

Fast forward to today.

Is BDSU even part of the FSSA?

No.

In fact both the past and current Presidents of BDSU are opposed to this fictionious protest. There are no BDSU rep on the FSSA today.

Is NBDA part of this protest calling for JK to resign?

No.

And I know this because I am the Vice President of a NBDA chapter with direct contact with the NBDA Board.

Is Asian Deaf Congress part of this protest calling for JK to resign?

No.

Representative of APA Aryln P. resigned from FSSA for the same reason Representative of BDSU David King resigned — they saw the FSSA in its true light. The light wasn’t pretty.
Only ISC is still with FSSA, but that is no longer “COSC”.

Huh? What happened?

Do you not find it rather odd that this “protest” is “supposedly” about social justice, about combating racism and audism…and you cannot tell me that organizations for deaf people of color with long history of experiencing racism are even endorsing this “protest”!
What’s wrong with the picture?

You do not even have the original COSC involved in this fictionious protest supposedly “fighting for” the very thing they believe in, social justice!

Perhaps because we aren’t fooled. Even David King, a COSC leader, former FSSA member, and now currently anti-protest leader, got a email from Frances Kendall, the author of the book White Privilege, complimenting him and calling this protest the height of white privilege and an example of racism and audism! Imagine that…a noted expert of racism and audism is not fooled about the fictitious reasons being perpetrated!

This is a FSSA/SBG/Football Players/GUAA/(fill in the blanks) “protest” hijacking the original reasons from COSC, coz “we’ve had enough of the racism, audism, oppression” sure sounded a lot better than “we don’t like her and her leadership style. We wanna turn back time, back to April!” Even went as far as to stealing the black coffin concept from COSC!

Ask yourself — from the announcement of the three finalists to the announcement of Jane Fernandes, where was the FSSA? Where was the SBG? Where, oh indeed, where were the same protestors now occupying HMB calling for “social justice”, to dismantle racism and audism?

Answer:
They didn’t want to join the protest called for by the Coalition. When explained the Dr. Glenn Anderson - Ron Stern discrepancy, the responses ran from : “Well, maybe Dr. Glenn bombed the interview”, “Doctorate degrees are passe anyway, Ray Kroc of McDonalds didn’t have a college education but look what he did for America!”, “Maybe he was too old, this position *is* stressful, you know…”, “I heard he has a history of illness. That’s why he missed the ceremony for I.J.King last year.” (Guess what, I asked Dr. Anderson about this and he told me that in his 16 years of service, he has never missed one Board meeting, and the reason he was not at the said event was because he had food poisoning!) This silly speculation ride went on and on for two to three weeks prior to the announcement of Jane Fernandes.

But the most damaging one and the true reason for the resistance went something like this:
“Yes it does seem odd, but I really want Ron Stern, he’d be great for Gallaudet, and I don’t want to stop the process, may never get this opportunity to get him.”

Guess who said this last statement? Ryan Commerson, one of the most vocal current protest’s leaders, as told to David King, who in turn shared that with me the same day. And today, we feel like vomiting everytime we see Mr. Ryan Commerson in his vlogs lecturing the public about the “-isms”, about the right for social justice. Coming right out of the hypocrite’s mouth.

To add injury to insult, the SBG told us that they’d hold a *political* student rally to reconsider this and the rally turned out to be a light-hearted pep rally calling for the process to not be interfered with because the summer was coming and they wanted to know now.

FSSA wasn’t even formed until May 2nd, after the announcement of Jane Fernandes as President.

NBDA set up a press conference and asked the National Association for the Deaf (NAD) to stand with them to call for the process to be halted. The NAD said no, they must maintain neutrality, which is fine. I just wanted to point out that no other national or local organization of and by the deaf other than Asian Deaf Congress (if my memory serves me correctly) and Atlanta Black Deaf Advocates (which I am the Vice President of) came out in support of the original protest by students of color.

NBDA issued these two position papers:
http://www.nbda.org/images/download/NBDA_Logo_3.pdf
http://www.nbda.org/images/download/NBDA_Logo_3.pdf
The bottom line — with a few exceptions, the very same protestors you are seeing now, calling for a re-do of the process for “social justice” are the same people who either were on the fence or did not want to join the original protest…until Jane Fernandes was announced as the 9th President of Gallaudet University.

This is why I oppose this protest, because it has nothing to do with what they claim to be fighting for. In my opinion, this protest is an extreme case of sore losers not willing to accept what they reaped — pushing on the process hoping to get either Mr. Stern or Dr. Weiner. Sorry, like Michael Moore wasn’t fooled about the WMD in Iraq, I am not fooled about the various hidden agendas covered by empty social justice rhetoric.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Reaping what was sown...

It was bound to arrive to this point.

Arrests. According to the blogging - 30 have been arrested so far..

An extremely sad day.

Alumni have the luxury of going back home and to their lives.

We're left with the mess to clean up.

Are you happy now - reaping what you have sown.... like what you see?

Cancel Homecoming??

What a thought! The horror!! I can't believe I'm suggesting this, but I just don't see how we can have an homecoming?

We have so many wounds and we are bleeding internally.

I think it is prudent to cancel homecoming festivities and use that time to re-focus and begin to heal our wounds. The football team obviously does not care much for their winning streak and tries to make up for their loss last Saturday by "taking control" and "making things happen."

Let's see if they sing or sign the same tune next year when they do not make Division III and remain a club team.

Heck - why don't we just cancel the rest of the fall football season, and while we are at it - the entire academic year!

President Jordan writes letter to Parents of GU students

(From http://news.gallaudet.edu)

Letter to Parents

Dear Parents:

You must be concerned about what you are hearing and reading about the Gallaudet University protest and I wanted to reassure you that we are doing everything in our power to reopen the campus in a peaceful manner.

We have continued to negotiate in good faith only to have the protestors continue to hold the campus hostage to their intractable demands. Just five minutes ago, President Designate Jane Fernandes met with protestors at the front gate and is appealing, again, to end this. That said, we continue to seek a peaceful resolution. Please know that your child’s safety is and will be our first and foremost consideration and why we have kept the police option only as our last resort.
Today’s Washington Post editorial succinctly sums up the situation. We look for your support as we work towards resuming our educational programs on campus as quickly as possible.

Sincerely,
I. King Jordan

Another good editorial in Wash Post -- "Giving Gallaudet a Bad Name"

Giving Gallaudet A Bad Name
Student and faculty protesters have harmed their institution and the many students who want to learn.

Friday, October 13, 2006; Page A28

UNHAPPY WITH Gallaudet University's choice of a new president, students continued their blockade of the campus yesterday. Hundreds of students were being denied their college education. Elementary and high school students also were locked out of their Kendall Green schools, which share the campus. Every lost day of school for them is significant.

Gallaudet officials, to their credit, sought a peaceful end to the stalemate. But to every overture, students changed their demands, reneged on deals and, in the end, essentially dared the university to arrest them. This has been the pattern since demonstrations began in the spring. The ultimatums they threw down -- a new presidential search and the withdrawal of Jane K. Fernandes's appointment -- were the only two conditions that university officials said, with justification, were not negotiable. Officials were amenable to an outside review of the search process, real student involvement in the search for a new provost and a student role on the board of trustees, but students weren't interested. While it would have been nice if Ms. Fernandes's selection had been more popular, it really is not the students' place to name the president. That holds all the more true since they were unable to articulate reasonable grounds for their opposition. By any objective measure, Ms. Fernandes is well qualified to lead the world's only institution of higher learning for the deaf.

Equally distressing has been the behavior of some faculty members who have incited student dissent and abetted the shutdown of the school, when they should have been acting like grown-ups and telling students about the real world of consequences. The blockade confronted university administrators with a terrible dilemma. The protesters probably know the pain that would be caused by an image of students at the world's most famous school for the deaf being hauled off in handcuffs -- a particular affront to those who communicate with their hands. So official restraint was right and understandable. Opposition to the tactics of the protesters is emerging, and that could help in efforts to reclaim the campus.

But the unlawful protest has gone on for too long, and it's time for learning to resume.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Our future -- Brainwashed!

I just watched the short video of the Riverside, California tent city on youtube.com (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ET6dAWFxyOs).

I think this video should be called "brainwashing" and should be used in case studies on how destructive members of a very small community can be to each other.

It's so obvious the children, these darling children, are being fed cues and prompted.

Wow. What have we come to?

More from Pres. Jordan.

Statement by Gallaudet President I. King Jordan
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Mercy Coogan
October 11, 2006 9:00 p.m.
Statement by Gallaudet President I. King Jordan

“Our paramount consideration has and continues to be the safety of our Gallaudet family. We have shown extraordinary restraint in the face of extreme provocation over the past several weeks. Dissenters who have repeatedly expressed fears for their safety are, in fact, the same people who have been intimidating and harassing anyone who disagrees with them and their demands.

“So far we have avoided confrontation. However, the dissenters keep escalating their outrageous behavior: vandalizing College Hall, taking over Hall Memorial Building keeping students and faculty from classes, labs and mid-term exams. And now they have shut down campus – a campus that is home to college, high school and elementary school students. They have broken many laws.

“Every step of the way, we have attempted to negotiate a peaceful resolution only to have the negotiators and their demands change whenever a solution seemed at hand. Even when we had a signed agreement with the SBG President, they backed out. This afternoon, while claiming to fear the Department of Public Safety (DPS) officers, they marched on the DPS building and issued an ultimatum that either the head of security leave campus or that all campus security must leave.

“Although the last thing we want is to have any one of our Gallaudet family arrested, the dissenters have lawyers advising them about how to respond to police who might arrest them. I urge the faculty, students and staff who have acted unlawfully and with complete disregard for their colleagues and their commitment to the University’s educational mission to stop and think about the serious consequences of what they are doing. Go back to your classes and go about your business, even if that business is lawful dissent. We will address the legitimate issues that are raised.

“Civility, integrity, and truth are victims today, held hostage as much as our beloved campus is. I have been asked why I haven’t used police to end the stand off. It is because I care about the safety of all of our students more than the protestors care about anything but getting their way. This illegal and unlawful behavior must stop. The faculty members who are instigating and manipulating the students have simply gone too far in pursuit of their own agendas. If there is a confrontation, the dissenters will have caused it. They must take full responsibility for the consequences of their actions, including possible suspension and arrest.”

Words from Knox

Printed with permission of author:

1.) I strongly support Ms. Fernandes and applaud her commitment.

2.) As a child of the 1960's, I wonder at the protesters' priorities:

North Korea and Iran have become (or are becoming) nuclear powers
under the tenure of President George W. Bush. More US troops have died in
Afghanistan and Iraq than civilians died in America on September 11.
Although exact numbers are not available, it seems over 100,000
Iraqis have died as a direct result of the US invasion. As a result of
the US invasion, Iraq has become the primary breeding ground for new
terrorists. The US economy is in danger due to over-spending by the
current Republican Administration and the record trade deficit with
China. Global warming promises life threatening changes we cannot
even fully comprehend.

And still, some Gallaudet students believe that the most important
issue facing us right now is the "President's Leadership Style"?

This protest is all that the "Best and Brightest" of the Deaf Community
can offer to the rest of the world?

Shame on all of us if this is the best we can do!

Jane Knox

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Statement from President Jordan - Thanks!!

Got this from the Gallaudet Newspage and thought it bears repeating... Thank YOU, President Jordan!!

Statement by I. King Jordan, President, Gallaudet University

Wednesday, October 11, 2006, 5:42 p.m.

Civility, integrity, and truth are victims today, held hostage as much as our beloved campus. I have been asked why I haven’t used police to end the stand off. It is because I care about the safety of all of our students more than the protestors care about anything but getting their way. This illegal and unlawful behavior must stop. The faculty members who are instigating and manipulating the students have simply gone too far in pursuit of their own agendas.

Statement from JKF - Shared with protesters just now

Public Relations released this statement to the protesters from Gallaudet's President Designate Jane Fernandes:

I remain committed to becoming the president of Gallaudet University. Although the current situation is serious, if I abandoned my commitment at this point, which I have no intention of doing, it would only become worse for the University, in general, and future Boards of Trustees and presidents, in particular. We live in a country that is governed by the rule of law, not anarchy. All of us in the Gallaudet community must continue to be strong and adhere to the principles that have made Gallaudet University and our country great.

Washington Post: Give Fernandes a Chance

Standoff at Gallaudet -The wrong way to shape the university's future
Tuesday, October 10, 2006; Page A20 (Washington Post)

STUDENTS AT Gallaudet University are entitled to protest the school's choice of president if they so choose. They're entitled to protest how that choice was made. They're not entitled to hold hostage the educational hopes of their classmates. Doing so undermines the legitimacy of their campaign and strikes at the heart of the nation's leading institution of higher education for the deaf.

Opposed to incoming President Jane K. Fernandes, student protesters have taken over the main educational building on the campus in Northeast Washington. For four days, campus life and learning have been disrupted. Officials have tried to relocate classes, but since Hall Memorial Building is home to most of the school's major academic departments, hundreds of students have been locked out of lectures, labs and midterm exams. Students say they won't leave unless Ms. Fernandes steps down and a new search for a president is undertaken, while the board of trustees says those are the only two items it will not negotiate.

One only has to watch the faces and hands of the students to appreciate the depth of their anger. It is more difficult to discern what is behind that anger. The protest started with complaints that Ms. Fernandes, who attended mainstream schools as a child and learned to sign when she was 23, is not the best choice to lead a school that is a touchstone for the deaf. Then there were charges that the search process was fixed; then, grievances about a lack of racial diversity among the candidates, classes that don't prepare students and poor graduation rates. Most absurd was the grumbling that a student center was being named for outgoing President I. King Jordan, who, ironically, became the school's first deaf president because of student protests.

The students who have barricaded themselves behind the walls of Hall Memorial Building say they are acting in the best interests of the university. Tell that to the students who are juggling jobs and school to get a diploma, or to the parents who are sacrificing to widen their children's futures. If the protesters really care about Gallaudet, they will open up the halls to learning and work toward reaching a middle ground. University officials have been willing to make concessions; they agreed, for instance, to an outside review of the search process, only to have the students withdraw that demand. Students could get involved in the search for a new provost or push for a student vote on the board of trustees.

There is no doubt -- given the bitterness of the controversy -- that Gallaudet has deep-seated problems. Ms. Fernandes, well qualified in every way, faces an unenviable job. That she still wants to do it should be one reason to give her a chance.

Washington Times Editorial -- Calm Down, Gallaudet

Calm Down, Gallaudet

October 11 Washington Times Editorial

The story of Elisabeth Zinser may not be particularly well known, but a group of students at Gallaudet University would like incoming President Jane K. Fernandes to repeat it. In 1988, the University of NorthC arolina administrator was selected as the new Gallaudet president by the board of trustees. Of three short-listed candidates, she was the only one who was not deaf. Students responded with what I. King Jordan would later call a “student revolution,” which included taking over several buildings on campus, and the trustees eventually yielded and appointed Mr. Jordan, who became the university’s first deaf president.

Perhaps the success of the 1988 student opposition has emboldened the few current Gallaudet students who restarted their disruptive protests last week with the takeover of a main classroom building on campus. Since then, the university has twice evacuated the campus in response to bomb threats, was forced to relocate classes and may need to reschedule midterm exams because students staged a sit-in to oppose the selection of Mrs. Fernandes to succeed Mr. Jordan as university president. Protests first hit the campus in May, when student opposition was deplorably encouraged by the faculty, which issued avote of “no confidence” against Mrs. Fernandes. The interim head of the board of trustees even decided to step down after “numerous aggressive threats.”

That Mrs. Fernandes grew up speaking and only learned sign language in her 20s is some sort of detriment, protesters bizarrely claim, because it shows that she isn’t, in Mr. Jordan’s phrase, “deaf enough.”Protesters have also charged that the incoming president was chosen in a selection process that did not include enough diversity. Contrary to the attacks that Mrs. Fernandes isn’t sufficiently deaf or diverse, her qualifications, demonstrated during 11 years at Gallaudet and six years as university provost, were impressive enough to win unanimous support from the trustees as well as the favor of Mr. Jordan. The trustees wisely reaffirmed their endorsement of Mrs. Fernandes during a meeting on Friday.

The protesters should realize that the 1988 episode was an anomaly, not a precedent. It is the prerogative of the trustees, not the faculty or students, to appoint the university’s president. This is not to say that no student can be displeased with the trustees’ selection, but their methods of expressing this displeasure are disruptive and harmful to the rest of the student body. Mr. Jordan’s effort to keep the university on the right track during this ugly experience is laudable, since the most baleful impact of besieging the main academic building falls on the students themselves. To move Gallaudet forward, the protesters and others who egg on the type of deaf-president-now tactics that disrupt Gallaudet’s unique learning environment need to start working with Mrs. Fernandez, and stop working against the university.

http://washingtontimes.com/op-ed/20061010-090343-1099r.htm