373: Gallaudet In Trouble: whose fault?
In the latest twist at the Gallaudet protest - reportedly Jordan sent out the following memo which tries to blame the protest for problems with accreditation for the University:
October 22, 2006
TO: Members of the Campus Community
FR: I. King Jordan
RE: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
As most of you know, we submitted our five-year Periodic Review Report (PRR) to the Middle States Association (MSA) on June first. This Report was developed by a 14-member committee of faculty, staff, students, and administrators. A draft of the report was reviewed by the Faculty Senate, which provided feedback that was incorporated into the report and a draft was made available to the campus community for review and feedback as well. The Middle States Commission on Higher Education is scheduled to act on our PRR in November and make a decision about reaffirmation of the University’s accreditation.
Last week, the vice president of the Commission contacted me and informed me that the Commission is concerned about the protest that led to closure of the University for three days and that there is concern about how this affects compliance with accreditation standards.
I have been asked to submit a response to MSA’s concern in early November so that the Commission can incorporate it into their deliberations. I will share my response with the campus community.
I know you are aware of how important MSA accreditation is to the University and to our graduates as they seek employment and further education. I will keep you informed of any further communication and action by MSA.
In this memo he tries to blame the protest for causing problems with Gallaudet's accreditation. But Gallaudet's been having problems since Fernandes was illegally chosen as provost, without the usual involvement of the University Faculty! And a big part of the problem is that they are ignoring the needs of students, as Ridor points out in his recent post:
Some people said that they disagreed with the idea of civil disobedience and that we should open a dialogue with Fernandes, Jordan and all that silly putzes. I understand their views but they are wrong. Know why? We already did. I used to volunteer for the SBG’s Deaf Issues Department and I had been observing different departments within the SBG who made a lot of efforts to recommend many things that can enhance Gallaudet’s place in the society.Look at this e-mail from Jordan as recently as February 2006, months before the protest began, where he tries to backpedal:
The recommendations has been consistently *ignored*. Sending the letters to them has been unanswered. Bringing up the issues in meetings with ehse administrators always resulted in things like, “Oh, that is good idea. I’ll bring it up with others.”
“The Provost and I knew that the OMB assessment was taking place over the past year. But when we inquired about Gallaudet’s participation in the process we were told it was primarily about the ED’s oversight responsibilities, and that we were not invited to participate in meetings, help interpret data, or even allowed to comment on preliminary findings. In other words, we had no direct involvement in the OMB assessment.
“Fortunately, the PART rating had no negative impact on Gallaudet’s appropriation request, but it could have a temporary effect on the University’s image. That is why it is important for every member of the campus community to understand the true purpose of the OMB report, which is to evaluate the ED’s oversight responsibilities relative to Gallaudet’s federally funded programs. Gallaudet has been serving people who are deaf and hard of hearing for nearly 150 years and our thousands of successful alumni are proof that, regardless of what this report says, ours is an extraordinarily effective University.
This is bullshit. The PART report is a new report, but they have a website with clear indicators of what they're looking for. Why are their requirements such a surprise? And as you can see here on the government's webpage although Jordan has promised to fix the problem, Gallaudet still has a rating of 16%:
Programs receiving this rating are not using your tax dollars effectively. Ineffective programs have been unable to achieve results due to a lack of clarity regarding the program's purpose or goals, poor management, or some other significant weakness.
* Gallaudet failed to meet its goals or showed declining performance in key areas, including the number of students who stay in school, graduate, and either pursue graduate degrees or find jobs upon graduation. For example, Gallaudet graduates who find employment commensurate with their education declined from 90% in 2001 to 69% in 2005.
* The Department of Education lacks a schedule and mechanism for monitoring federally funded programs at Gallaudet. The Department does not conduct site visits on a regular basis to Gallaudet, document its use of funds, assess program data quality, or the University's compliance with its governing legislation.
* The Department of Education has not evaluated the federally funded programs at Gallaudet to ensure that they are operating effectively, addressing the needs of their service population, addressing their statutory purpose, and achieving results.
It said that today - months after Jordan and Fernandes promised to repair the damage. And today Gallaudet Protestors are demanding a fully accessible campus-that the DPS, for example, who are supposed to protect them, be able to sign. Isn't this one of the needs of the service population? Maybe the REAL problem is that the Gallaudet Protest demonstrates that Gallaudet is NOT meeting the real needs of its service population- and people are noticing.
Moreover - Fernandes herself threatened the Board of Trustees with a violation of fiduciary duties. That tells me there are/were serious problems at Gallaudet which have nothing to do with the Protest which are not being addressed. But as Jordan's February letter shows, this program has a history of problems - which involve both President and Provost. Now they're trying to use the protest to get out of responsibility for their failures. Even the protest itself is a result of their failure to deal with student concerns.