Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Other Side of the Story

I don’t know if this is big news in other areas, but right now there are huge protests going on at Gallaudet University, the premiere college for the deaf in the United States, over the appointment of a new president to replace the popular I. King Jordan – who himself was swept into office after protests from the deaf community to be represented by one of their own. In the media, all of the coverage has been a bit one sided, portraying the protesting students and faculty as quibbling that the prospective president “isn’t deaf enough,” which is not the case at all and distorts the real issues at hand.

A friend of mine who works at Gallaudet wrote on this issue much better than I could, and I wanted to share this with everyone so you too are informed about what’s actually going on.

I don't know if you have heard about what's happening here at Gallaudet University where I work, but the students, faculty, staff, alumni, and parents have been protesting the appointment of Jane Fernandes as the next president of the university. Since the president of Gallaudet is an ambassador to the hearing world, the president of Gallaudet is also viewed quite literally as the president of all Deaf Americans. Jane Fernandes is a person that the current president, I. King Jordan, appointed to the Clerc Center (the deaf elementary and high school where I work) as the director 11 years ago. She decimated the place and fired anyone who disagreed with her. King then promoted her to Provost without going through a normal search committee 6 years ago. The community is protesting her now election as the next president to take office in January 07. The protesters took over the university last week forcing the closure of the entire campus for 3 full days. 130 plus protesters were arrested late Friday night in the dark when they could not see interpreters to know what was happening. The university is open now with only gate allowing passage on and off campus.

Tent cities have sprung up all around the country in support of the protests.

Alumni and parents from all over the country have come to support the protest movement, especially when so many of the protesters were arrested last Friday night.

Websites have sprung up detailing the [grievances against] Jane Fernandes and listing advice from several prominent members of the academic and Deaf Communities.

Please share with people you know. The more people are aware of the real issues (not the red herrings put out there by Gallaudet Administration) the more momentum this will get. Encourage local news stations to investigate and cover the story. Right now the media is presenting the impression that the students are spoiled children avoiding schoolwork and that they don't think Jane Fernandes is "deaf enough." I can assure you that that is not the case. Please visit the following websites for more information:

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