Monday, May 08, 2006


Today's edition of the Washington Post finally, FINALLY says the right thing:
On Friday, nine professors with backgrounds similar to Fernandes's -- they grew up speaking, went to public schools and didn't learn American Sign Language or immerse themselves in the deaf community until later in life -- wrote her an open letter saying she had misunderstood the reasons for the opposition. The real issues, they wrote, are about a flawed search process and ineffective leadership.

Admittedly this is like hearing people seeing a Black group vote for a Black person then getting confused as to why the constituents of the group aren't happy... then realizing that being Black isn't the sole reason for picking someone for a position. But I digress: the article continues:
I. King Jordan, the longtime president who plans to work with Fernandes for the next eight months and then step down, said recently that the board selected an academician with vision for the future of the university, "not the winner of the popularity contest." The board can't give the decision over to protesters, he said, without long-term implications for the governance of the school. It's not, he said, another "Deaf President Now," the movement that vaulted him into the presidency.

Jane Norman, a professor who was one of Fernandes's references, sent a widely distributed e-mail saying that protesters were pressuring others to join them. "We are going through a very difficult time but we will emerge as an inclusive university," she wrote. "Gallaudet is for all. Dr. Jane Fernandes has worked long and hard on diversity. Dr. Fernandes is our 9th president and will lead us into the 21st century."

WRONG, Mr. Jordan. WRONG, Ms. Norman. This protest is MUCH more important than Deaf President Now. We picked a guy who had a hearing problem in 1988. Now we are going beyond the problem to define Deafhood... and we get to say that it is inclusive. Not you. You removed yourself from the process when you decided not to open a dialogue with the students. The community makes these decisions, not a University President... and if you've been so blind as to not see the need for almost 20 years, well, maybe there's even more reason to have this protest now. Congratulations: you said Deaf people can do anything but hear. Well, they are. Doing, I mean.

We had to get past the ear one day; the heart is more important. My heart is a Deaf heart, despite the fact that I'm not a Gallaudet student. As Ridor points out Deafhood has nothing to do with deaf elitism! MSSD was where I began my trip to Deafhood. And a long strange trip it's been!

Can anyone get a picture of the dog with the t-shirt that says "Pet me to reopen the search process?"

Elisa Abenchuchan continues her great reporting. I found out she used to be on the BuffNBlue which was always my dream at MSSD (until I decided to leave the institution...) So no wonder, she has experience!
JACOBOWITZ [continuing]: King Jordan said to everyone--And I quote King Jordan verbatim--Quote: "I have a very [stressed], very [stressed] positive relationship with the Board of Trustees."--And then he said: "I represent the Board of Trustees."

[To the audience:] Do you all remember him saying that?

AUDIENCE [nearly in unison]: Yes, yes, yes!

JACOBOWITZ [to Baldwin and Humphries]: How can you say that King Jordan was neutral and then also say that he was not involved in the hiring process?

JACOBOWITZ [continuing]: I don't trust you two [pointing to Baldwin and Humphries]. I don't trust the Board of Trustees. I don't trust King Jordan. I'm very, very sorry. I used to think the world of him. I loved him. I loved him to death, because he was my professor, my academic adviser, and our dean [and president]... I used to look up to King Jordan, but now after what has happened, my trust in him and confidence in him as a person has completely collapsed and hit rock bottom. On top of that, what's worse is that you, the Board, did not listen to any of us. You didn't listen to the world. King has been twisting your arms all along.

I want to point out something else: Classes over. Finals over. Students still care enough to be there. I think Jordan and everyone were counting on students not having enough stamina or feeling to stay at the University until this matter is completed... they misunderestimated the depth of feeling!

one more thing: I found Jesse Thomas' blog on Xanga (and someone just taught me the sign for Xanga - tap the point of an X on the inside of your wrist! Cool!) through Jamie Berke's blog. He makes an interesting point about campus racism:
In the six years she has been Provost, I have seen no evidence of confronting this problem head-on. I have talked to people of color and they tell me that this situation has remained unchanged, if not worsened. The answer to this problem has been, it seems, to discuss it in committees. Gallaudet has a million committees discussing a million problems, and nothing appears to come out of it.

A big part of the PART report is that there is no quality assurance or quality improvement reports at Gallaudet. QA and QI ensure that the necessary work is completed. With handling racism, first we would document reports of racism, identify strategies to deal with it (staff training? alliances with local groups?), document actions taken to deal with it, and these would be available for review. Documentation would prove action had been taken, but as Jesse said nothing happens. This is to be expected without good QA and QI for which Provost is responsible.

1 comment:

Adrean said...

Re: on-campus racism, that "white flight" comment from JKF says a lot about her thinking. :/