363: the great deluge
I read with tears the amazing Letter from Clerc Center in which they detail the problems they have with Jane Fernandes. I wrote about many of these issues way back in May but it feels wonderful to see the faculty standing up for themselves. As a student who truly loved MSSD which was the MOST progressive Deaf school at the time (where they signed 100% of the time, by the way, and many faculty meetings were voice-off) it hurt to see the teachers suffering during that time. I think the only one which even came close was in California.
Why is this post called "the great deluge?" Because right now information is flying thick and fast. Fernandes snuck on campus last night- almost all the fuss with the police was really an effort to get her on campus without letting students near her. Now the amazing Elisa reports that Fernandes has come forth and offered to speak to a small group of students about the problem. She refuses to put this discussion on video or make it publicly available. This is typical of Fernandes' leadership style-she likes to lead from behind, not be open and available, as they have written on 9thprez.com. Unfortunately at this point I do not believe it is wise for her to continue to lead from the background. She needs to get into the street and show fair play all around. Broadcasting a discussion would be a great way to both protect her from jumpy students and allow everyone to see what's going on.
At the same time, other Universities and Colleges around the US have been writing in and coming in to support Gallaudet protestors and refute the silly idea that students shouldn't have a say in the running of a University. Me, I knew this all along - my college has a Honor Code and people can call the University administration to account. In this case, Gallaudet broke a promise: they promised a fully accessible University. Don't believe me? follow this link and click on Prospective Students and you see this:
The Gallaudet difference—what we call the "Gallaudet Advantage"—begins with a barrier-free communication environment. The communication environment at Gallaudet gives deaf and hard of hearing students freedom to focus on the joy and business of learning and to engage in a high degree of interaction with classmates and professors, both in and out of the classroom.They tried to lure me in with this promise but when I went there and saw English Professors who couldn't sign well enough to explain Shakespeare, I was disgusted. (Thank Goddess I had Rae Johnson in MSSD!) They broke this promise as several teachers, administration, and especially DPS officers know no ASL. This enough is reason to protest, but there's many more.
One more thing. Juanita Garcia claims protestors prevented students from attending the Clerc Center. In fact this is not true. The truth is that the University administration ordered the Clerc Center closed, as the letter from faculty states:
We are representative of a larger Clerc Center community. We did not approve of Gallaudet University’s decision to close Clerc Center on October 11 and 12. The protesters were prepared to allow MSSD and Kendall staff on-campus so that education for pre-collegiate students could continue uninterrupted. University administrators shoulder the burden of responsibility for the two days of lost teaching time for those students.Protestors were willing to allow students at those schools to continue their studies. Don't blame protestors for the actions of oppressors.