Wednesday, October 11, 2006

359: some important updates to put together

Today's a big day at Gallaudet. The campus lockdown, the revolt of interpreters who decided to support students' communication access, and the open support of the protest by several members of the faculty and staff at Gallaudet who call for the resignation of Fernandes. Also, GIS (Gallaudet Interpreting Services) talks about oppression at Gallaudet and the difficult ethics of being an interpreter in a political situation. Check out also this great post by Allison Kaftan. I agree wholeheartedly with this comment:
The fact that Dr. Fernandes grew up orally and learned ASL later has absolutely nothing to do with her ability to empathize and lead. In theory, she could be a deaf child of deaf adults (in fact, isn’t she?!), an extremely articulate signer (of which she IS capable of being, though she doesn’t show it), and still not be able to lead the University.

It's true. I've been saying from Day One that Jane Fernandes should get her hands dirty and sit down and talk to protestors. Instead she seems to be trying to speak FOR the Deaf Community. It's a little frustrating for me to see her skydive into failure. It would be so easy for an intelligent leader to fix this!

I have spoken to some students and faculty today. They are doing well. They seem confident this is the right action. One thing we talked about is Gallaudet's dirty secret - there is no required level of ASL fluency for faculty and staff. There is also no such thing required for DPS officers. This is part of the Audism issue that Gallaudet students keep talking about. My suggestion? Make incoming staff take the CDI test - the test to become a certified Deaf interpreter. If they can understand what students say and translate it, and vice versa, let them stay. If their receptive and signing skills are so poor they cannot pass a version of this test, it indicates serious problems.

I also think some Deaf people should become DPS officers and team with hearing officers to promote security on campus. How does security work when DPS cannot talk to the students it is required to protect? In my time at MSSD there was one signing officer, Dean, but have no idea if he is still there.


Anonymous said...

I can totally agree with all of that. It only makes sense.

I only wish I heard more of the protesters saying the same as well.

BTW, something else occurred to me today while reading through the news. More than one mention was made of reporters who tried to talk with the students but failed because no interpreters were available.
1) Pen and paper?
2) No one, no one in the media at all has had the bright idea of bringing their own interpreters along?? After all the role of the media is supposed to be to present both sides...and I would think WaPo could afford the services of a terp while covering this...[Yes, G. is supposed to provide the terps but as long as its falling flat on its face, why is the media joining it in complete lack of critical thinking skills?]

--Deaf Gadfly

Bevo said...

yea I remember, Officer Dean...where's he now?

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to say that I don't think interpreting skills are what hearing faculty and staff need. Interpreting is more than just production and comprehension of a language. Is the old SCPI no longer a requirement of new employees?

JRS said...

Deaf GadFly - yep! The media should have brought their own terps. Maybe we can point to Gallaudet's overall failure to lead as part of this problem. Why didn't they think of that?

Anonymous, I didn't specify hearing people. I want a test for all faculty and staff to ensure they can communicate at University level. You have to have really good English to get into a hearing University as a professor so you can teach students of all levels. Same thing with ASL - how can you teach and identify student skills if you're not fully conversant with the language? Fully, not just enough to get by - I wouldn't dare assess a student in Spanish even though I can put together more than a few sentences!

OCDAC said...

This protest is, of course, the key event in the evolutionary proccess we're seeing in the deaf community.

The protesters are all about the old deaf guards who dont believe in the re-intergration of deaf people back into the hearing society.

The deaf communities are facing major evolutionary changes in the near future which enable them to mainstream and re-integrate back into the hearing society. They are cochlear implants and recently, stem cells, which are promising to be part of the final solutions to addressing deafness. The medical marvels have enabled deaf people to function almost like hearing people. This has created a new deaf society in the past decade and this new deaf society has been slowly taking over Gallaudet University operations.

The protests youre seeing is the old deaf guard's last stand against the changes in the future of deaf society, against the new deaf society taking over Gallaudet University.

Jane's leadership has the support of the new deaf society and is best one to lead the new deaf society which comprises 80 percent of the students at Gallaudet into the future.

The protesters are about the past deaf society, about the old deaf guards who have become the scourge of the deaf communities.

They have to give it up because they cant beat the evolutionary proccess the deaf society is facing.

Richard Roehm
Chief Executive Officer
Orange County Deaf Advocacy Center

JRS said...

"deaf guards"?

I disagree totally with your opinion, and I consider myself one of the new Deaf people.

I also think it's biologically inappropriate to phase out people society doesn't like. Evolution-wise, it's a dangerous thing to do. I studied biology, and I know that species who survive do so because they have the greates amount of genetic diversity.

Who do you define as the "new deaf society?" How do you get "80%"? All the students at Gallaudet are young and driven. They are the people who will succeed in the hearing world. They think independently.

From what I understand, Deaf education sucked badly until Deaf people began taking it over-and since Jane Fernandes has taken over MSSD and Gallaudet it's been one disaster after another.

I will certainly not be recommending any Deaf people to your "advocacy center."

JRS said...

P.S. Roehm, I note Orange County has news and video in ASL.