1
   

Gallaudet Students Protest New President

 
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 May, 2006 08:46 pm
Yeah..!

Doesn't seem to have been any major new developments today.

I've been musing about the idea of bookends -- of the two protests starting and ending a kind of golden age. I remember this quote, right about when I started becoming aware of Deaf culture and the Deaf community:

Greg Hilbok said, and in the NYT Magazine in 1994 Andrew Solomon wrote:
From the time God made earth until today, this is probably the best time to be Deaf.


In 1994, the DPN movement was in the recent past (1988), the first Deaf Way had recently happened (1989: a huge, proactive, and inspiring celebration of Deaf Culture) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (1990) had passed and its effects were starting to really be felt. There was momentum and a great sense of accomplishment and opportunity.

In 2006, there have been waves of backlashes against the ADA, both in terms of personal opinions and actual legislative weakening of it, and I am extremely worried that the visibility of these protests and the pettiness they embody (I can be convinced that it's not petty but after the amount of reading I've done am feeling more confident than ever that it's petty and counterproductive) will have larger (negative) ramifications, just as the DPN protests had larger positive ramifications.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 May, 2006 08:52 pm
One trope I'm seeing a lot of is that Gallaudet is broken, and this whole process is shining a light on that and will lead to ways to fix it. I think it's a certain amount of um er so it's not about the WMD's it's about liberating Iraqis (as in, coming up with a pretty reason after things have already gotten going and after bad reasons had already been tried and cast aside). But it is indeed something that could perhaps be a positive result.
0 Replies
 
fishin
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 May, 2006 08:54 pm
Well, if tonght's national news broadcasts have anything to do with it it's going to make things look very petty.

They had one guy on there complaining that she wasn't "deaf enough" (I really hate that whole concept! lol) because she is married to a man with full hearing and has a child with full hearing. She lives in a "hearing household".

There were other things mentioned too but that stuck out in particular. Is she supposed to marry a deaf man and go stick an ice-pick in her kid's ears so that everyone in her household is deaf? If this is the criteria they are setting then I doubt there is anyone that is "qualified" to run the school.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 May, 2006 09:03 pm
Ugh, they actually got a guy who said that?

Bad bad bad bad...

The protestors are all insisting, now, that it's not about the "Not Deaf enough" thing, that it's about problems with Gallaudet and yadda yadda.

But you get one guy saying that on TV and poof. That's what it's about.

Again, the concept of being part of Deaf culture when one is the leader of the only Deaf university in the world and a university that is very much the center of Deaf culture is actually not a completely ridiculous concept. It's the context, here, that makes me batty.

There is a guy, Ron Stern, who everyone loves but doesn't have the administrative experience nor a Ph.D. (He's evidently in process, not clear on that.) If that very guy -- completely fluent in both ASL and cultural mores -- had sufficient administrative and academic credentials, I'd be all for him, and consider him "qualified". He doesn't, though.

The icepick stuff is misleading, I think. It's not about audiology, it's about fluency.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 May, 2006 09:09 pm
Random-ish "no it's not about 'not Deaf enough'" letter:

Quote:
May 10, 2006

Leading or Misleading?

Once again, Gallaudet University is in the media spotlight because of a protest over its Board's selection of an unpopular president. In 1988, the President-Elect, Dr. Elizabeth Ann Zinser, was unpopular because she was not deaf. It is now being widely reported that students are protesting the current President-elect, Dr. Jane K. Fernandes, because she is "not deaf enough."

This dangerous misrepresentation of the protest obscures the real issues that are driving a broad and diverse coalition of faculty, students, staff and alumni to camp out on the campus when they could be enjoying the beginning of a summer vacation. The protests are a referendum on the leadership abilities of the Provost, on perceived flaws in the search process, and the lack of adequate diversity in the finalists. On May 8, the faculty -- 66% of whom are hearing -- sent a clear message in four resolutions that they lacked confidence in Fernandes' ability to lead the university based on her tenure as Provost, not on whether she is "deaf enough."

Even more unfortunate is that it is the President-elect herself who has promoted the "not deaf enough" rationale in interviews with the Washington Post and National Public Radio. Nothing could have a more damaging effect on the public image of Gallaudet University. As the majority of deaf children currently attend mainstream public programs, they--like Fernandes--learn American Sign Language later in life. Why would hearing parents send their children to such a polarized environment? Why would Congress continue to fund a breeding ground of identity politics? Why would the Deaf community reject 90% of deaf people who are born to hearing parents, attend mainstream schools and learn sign language later in life?

It would be disingenuous to say that no one has expressed the attitude that Fernandes and those like her are 'not deaf enough'; however, to characterize the outspoken protests as being motivated by such myopic identity politics does not demonstrate the ability to lead, but rather the will to mislead. I appeal to the President-elect to listen closely to the faculty, students, staff and alumni and to represent their views accurately. This community, above all others, knows what it is like not be heard correctly.

I appeal to Dr. Fernandes to call a meeting with the media to set the record straight and to halt the damage that has already been done to Gallaudet University.

Sincerely,

Dr. H-Dirksen L. Bauman, Professor, Department of American Sign Language and Deaf Studies.
0 Replies
 
fishin
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 May, 2006 09:18 pm
sozobe wrote:
Quote:
On May 8, the faculty -- 66% of whom are hearing -- sent a clear message in four resolutions that they lacked confidence in Fernandes' ability to lead the university based on her tenure as Provost, not on whether she is "deaf enough."


This wasn't even mention on the National news broadcast. The entire spot was on the "deaf enough" question.

(I know the icepick comment is out there but I think that's the sort of thing that pops into the head of the hearing public when you see something like someone complaining that someone isn't qualified for a job because one of their family members is hearing. His comment made those who are doing the protesting look petty and like they were taking cheap shots.)
0 Replies
 
mac11
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 May, 2006 09:25 pm
Wow, great letter though, from Dr. Bauman.

This is such a startling peek into a world I know so little about. Is there any hope for a happy solution here? It seems that it will be difficult to find a solution that is good for everyone involved at this point.
0 Replies
 
yitwail
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 May, 2006 09:53 pm
sozobe wrote:
Random-ish "no it's not about 'not Deaf enough'" letter:

Quote:
The protests are a referendum on the leadership abilities of the Provost, on perceived flaws in the search process, and the lack of adequate diversity in the finalists.


i think it's rather disingenuous (to use Prof. Bauman's word) to ascribe the protests to the search process & inadequate diversity of finalists, when the protests occured not when the finalists were announced on April 13, but when Dr. Fernandes' selection was announced on May 1.
0 Replies
 
FreeDuck
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 May, 2006 06:59 am
soz, regarding the bookends, maybe you should write a book. I'm being serious.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 May, 2006 10:04 am
fishin', I know. And that's definitely what has me upset -- that what you describe is the impression hearing people who know little about this will get.

Yitwail, I agree. It's generalized discontent, pettiness, and brattiness that has glommed on to a few legitimate complaints in an attempt to dignify the whole shebang.

FreeDuck, I was seriously considering an article -- E.G. suggested the NYT magazine, I think that's a stretch. Might try writing something and see what happens.

I've been nosing around the deafdc blog and found this:

http://www.deafdc.com/blog/adam-stone/2006-04-10/gallaudets-poop-rally/

It predates the protests by less than a month, and shows a bunch of spoiled brat rude students looking for an excuse to agitate. I think it's interesting, context-wise.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 May, 2006 10:08 am
Oh and mac, I don't know! I can't really see a happy solution. What I would like to see, I think, is Fernandes taking control of the process a little more, not just the open-ended "forums" she's been having, but something like:

Look, I'm the president-elect. That simply is not going to change. (She can lay out reasons here, there are a lot of them, including the integrity of the process and why [outside consultants with 30 years' experience, etc., etc.]) You are wearing these "Gallaudet Unity" t-shirts -- let's unify, then! You are complaining about problems with Gallaudet -- let's address them, then! What better way to improve things around here then to take all of this passion and energy and combine it with a brand-new president who's more than willing to listen -- and that's me. Now, what are the problems? Be specific. What are your proposed solutions? Be specific. Let's get moving!
0 Replies
 
FreeDuck
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 May, 2006 10:14 am
sozobe wrote:
FreeDuck, I was seriously considering an article -- E.G. suggested the NYT magazine, I think that's a stretch. Might try writing something and see what happens.


I say write it and send it out and see who will publish it. My sister did that with a sailing article and it worked.
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 May, 2006 12:42 pm
sozobe wrote:
FreeDuck, I was seriously considering an article -- E.G. suggested the NYT magazine, I think that's a stretch. Might try writing something and see what happens.

Maybe the NYT magayine is a stretch, but I believe you have a great shot at some leading newspaper's Op-Ed page right now. Good luck!
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 May, 2006 02:49 pm
Yeah, definitely. I mean, we all know you write well, and know how to break a situation down in clear analysis; but how often does that moment come along when the very field of your expertise is grabbing the headlines and rousing interest among editors / a broader audience?
0 Replies
 
yitwail
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 May, 2006 03:50 pm
sozobe, the only misgiving i have about having an article published is that it might alienate some members of the deaf community, which makes me wonder, are there any deaf people besides you on a2k that you know of? if there are, then perhaps you're not as concerned with ruffling feathers as i might be in your place.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 May, 2006 03:57 pm
I don't know of any, but I'm not concerned about ruffling feathers per se. I'll phrase things carefully, of course, but won't say anything I'm not prepared to stand behind. (Yeah, y'all talked me into it. I'll see what happens.)

I'm very used to ruffling feathers IRL -- I've been the "er, wait a minute" voice of dissent in a lot of situations, and have been in the center of a fair amount of hot disputes in the Deaf community and outside of it. (A position I find myself in often in life is being the one who steps up and says something and then after saying it having all kinds of people come up to me privately to thank me for doing so.)

Anyway, I'll see what I can come up with, not sure of my hook (the bookends thing maybe) or who I'd submit it to, but will give it a go.
0 Replies
 
yitwail
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 May, 2006 04:03 pm
i see, you're more than just a tough looking avatar. Laughing good luck.
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 May, 2006 09:04 pm
sozobe wrote:
A position I find myself in often in life is being the one who steps up and says something and then after saying it having all kinds of people come up to me privately to thank me for doing so.

Funny - I had that a coupla times in a row here on A2K, a year or two ago (with the "coming up privately" turned into PM's). But I wouldnt easily do it in real life.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 12 May, 2006 07:45 pm
So I'm trying to work on some sort of op-eddy thing and its not really going anywhere -- it's always been my problem, that if I write something off-the-cuff there is sometimes good stuff in the middle of not-so-good stuff, but if I sit down to Write I start self-editing from the get-go and nothing gets written. Pff.

So I'm still gonna write here and then maybe take stuff from here and make something out of it -- or else stall until it's not news anymore. Laughing

Anyway, Fernandes has resigned!!

... as provost. ;-)

She's stepped down from that position to completely focus on the transition to the presidency, and they're starting a new search, for the provost. I think it's a canny move, as it allows a shift of focus in a proactive way -- no, Fernandes won't step down as president-elect, but if you're so concerned about process yadda yadda then go ahead and get involved in the search for the provost.

Of course, that could also backfire, they have to be careful of how much participation they solicit, because it could easily be the same thing all over again -- the protestors want someone who is personable and fluent in ASL and Deaf cultural mores, while the Board of Trustees (or Fernandes, or whomever makes the hiring decision -- Fernandes, I think) wants someone with the qualifications and skills but who is not necessarily completely fluent in those things.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 12 May, 2006 08:11 pm
The latest circular logic is making me batty:

Quote:
What qualities of leadership does Fernandes lack?
Students and faculty and staff here on campus have no connection with her, nobody is following her. How can she lead with no followers?
Her actions this week have been very divisive, she has told the media that the protest is about identity politics, which is not true, which shows that she is out of touch with the community. Her willingness to spread misinformation shows that she is not acceptable as president.


Why shouldn't Fernandes be president? Because she said that protestors said she wasn't deaf enough.

Thing is... THEY DID!! (And as fishin' showed, still are.)

Quote:
Although some said the board had made a great effort to get outside opinions, others disagreed.

Some were angry that all of the finalists were white. Some wanted a candidate who would promote "cultural deafness," preferring those who grew up deaf and relied on American Sign Language. Fernandes learned to sign when she was a young woman and can communicate well by speaking or by signing.


May 1st

Quote:
"Jane Fernandes doesn't have the ability to be the next icon of the deaf," signed Sara Stallard, a graduate student. "She doesn't have the ability to speak for us all."


May 2nd

Quote:
some wanted a "truly deaf" president, one who grew up without hearing and spoken language.

For Fernandes, the criticism often centered on personality: Many said she was cold and aloof and condescending. "She doesn't say 'hi'," one student's poster read.


May 3rd

That's a quick sampling from news articles -- it's not going into the much more explicit complaints about her relative Deafness and "audism" on blogs.

In other words, even if some of the protestors don't think that's the main issue -- or if they're trying to refocus the debate -- she certainly had reason to say it was the issue. It was not "spreading misinformation," and as such is extremely weak grounds for opposing her. Completely circular.
0 Replies
 
 

Related Topics

T'Pring is Dead - Discussion by Brandon9000
Another Calif. shooting spree: 4 dead - Discussion by Lustig Andrei
Friends don't let friends fat-talk - Discussion by hawkeye10
Before you criticize the media - Discussion by Robert Gentel
Fatal Baloon Accident - Discussion by 33export
The Day Ferguson Cops Were Caught in a Bloody Lie - Discussion by bobsal u1553115
Robin Williams is dead - Discussion by Butrflynet
 
Copyright © 2021 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.05 seconds on 10/18/2021 at 05:55:15