This is fascinating ... cause it's about things that are so much more general, more deep-going, than just the incividual case -- indulge me while I go off on some tangent digression below, 'k? (Sorry)
Oooh, lots of good stuff on that blog, I encourage people who are interested in this to look around.
Just read that blog entry, and now entering the comments that were posted I immediately recognize your explanations about Deaf culture and cultural misunderstandings. Like right here, in the first comment:
I can see how that could be totally subjective, a result of failing intercultural communication rather than her actually having been "vitriolic" and "acidic".
(I can also see how that raises a dilemma. You want to judge a person for this function on his/her provable skills, not on personal prejudice; on what she can do
rather than on whether you think she's nice. But on the other hand, to have someone presiding a Deaf university who apparently gets stuck in continuous intercultural miscommunication with (culturally) Deaf people is not, well, practical - and thats a concrete enough skill thing right there. Hmm.. difficult.)
Second para tho is more clear-cut:
OK, am I getting this right? Super-small university; good name within the core Deaf community but failing to attract students from beyond; without such students the university can not financially survive. BUT - any move to attract anyone outside the core community is sensed as a kind of "betrayal", a threat to the core community's identity. With the implicit subtext being about how change, openness and transformation might well endanger that tight, family-like feeling on the campus.
"Steered us [loyal core people] to the curb and open the wide access for others to fill in" - whoever who's been involved in some small community with its inevitable clique tendencies hasnt heard that complaint at some point or other? "It was better in the old days!", "all those new people, they dont know what its really about", "I dont feel at home anymore", "theyve sold out our community, I dont recognize myself anymore in what its become like!".
A foreland like that can be devastating to people's sense of security, so I guess its a human nature kind of thing to resist tooth and nail. Even if it is clearly unreasonable or petty or even self-destrutive to do so.
I see parallels kinda tumbling over each other! Right here, a web community like this one, A2K - and Abuzz was much worse - everyone always lamenting the loss of the old, good Abuzz, and how all those newbies who are not "real" or dont "really care" or whatever, have made it lose its character, its all gone down the drain... yeah, web communities seem like a well striking parallel (by nature cliquey, breeding grounds of rumor, little respect for authority or tolerance for central(ised) administration, passion fuelled by how they are a home/refuge away from the bad world for many..)
Or, parallel five scales bigger, the Old Labourites in the UK, who (and I sympathise) resented Tony Blair's rather merciless drive to throw open the party's windows, ruthlessly efficientize it, open it to whole new electorates, from the very start ... it was necessary to win an election again after 18 years, he didnt have to sell out all socialist roots quite as integrally as he did, but in any case the Old Labour resentment, especially on grassroots level, appears to be driven by a sense of personal loss ("I dont feel at home in this party anymore ... what did he do to MY party") at least as much as anything content-wise.
Or, for that matter - another three scales bigger - what else is the resentment of white working-class Europeans who've "seen their neighbourhoods change" and are angry about it; "I dont feel at home in my own country anymore!", "the neighbourhood I come from ... we all used to know each other, watch each other's back ... but now there's all newcomers, the man at the bakery doesnt even say hello anymore!".
That kind of sentiment? Is that what we're talking about here as well? Only kind of pre-emptively, like - thats the path even the protestors themselves somehow dimly see out ahead, and they're kinda throwing themselves in front of what they are afraid might turn out to be a steamroller that'll change what they consider home? (The mass demos against the ultimately abortive French labour market reforms come to mind..)
I guess that kind of resistance against / resentment of any possible change that threatens one's "nest" must be one of the oldest human instincts - and there's plenty people (from Abuzzers to Old Labourites) who'd rather keep their place like it was, even if it means certain death in the long run, than accept change that might save the place, but would transform it unrecognizably anyway.
And I mean, they've got a point (all those people, I mean) - why willingly co-operate on the transformation of what you hold dear, just cause someone says it's "necessary" or "unavoidable"? They've said all kinds of things, in the past, that didnt happen either.
I mean, I get that in this case all of this reaction is waaaay pre-emptive/premature, but does it kinda fit into such a larger context, such parallels?