Gallaudet Battle Heats Up

Yesterday, the faculty of Gallaudet University voted no confidence in the University administration’s choice to succeed the presidency of the university. Students are holding daily protests in front of the campus’ administration building in protest of their choice for President, Jane Fernandes. The issue at the heart of this is that Fernandes is not “deaf enough” to lead the University at this time, because she did not learn to use ASL until she was in her 20s.

It appears, though, that the student body is going to attempt to hold the University hostage until such time as the search is reopened, given the statements of students like Anthony Mowl:

“Jane Fernandes must resign as president of Gallaudet University. We will not accept anything less.”

With the faculty unwilling to cross the students, and the students holding the administration’s feet to the fire, despite the fact that Ms. Fernandes was the provost there for six years, one has to wonder how the University will take this sort of reaction from the students, and worse, their own faculty.

6 Comments so far

  1. wayan (unregistered) on May 9th, 2006 @ 1:12 pm

    “not deaf enough” – I love that. Reminds me of people saying Mayor Williams wasn’t “black enough” to lead DC.

  2. Tiff (unregistered) on May 9th, 2006 @ 3:20 pm

    Of course it sounds ridiculous to us hearing folk, but there’s a very real cultural identity to being deaf. Deaf culture has its own distinct language, its own schools, its own artists, its own humor. Many deaf people feel like their culture is under attack from things like cochlear implants and the oral method of educating deaf children. So when a president is chosen who essentially got to live as a hearing person into her twenties, it feels like another threat to that culture.

  3. Joseph J. Finn (unregistered) on May 9th, 2006 @ 5:30 pm

    You know, I’m all for exploring your own identity, celebrating your culture and perserving the joys of your culture. But these people just sounds liek a bunch of whankers; saying she’s not “deaf enough” because she learned to speak, has cochlear implants and learned ALS relatively late? Please. Ever of of “is she qualified?”

  4. Tiff (unregistered) on May 10th, 2006 @ 12:46 pm

    First of all, ALS is a disease, and ASL is American Sign Language. ;)

    And when you’re being selected to lead what is regarded as the central institution of Deaf culture, whether or not you are a part of that culture is very much a reasonable question of your qualifications.

  5. Joseph J. Finn (unregistered) on May 10th, 2006 @ 4:25 pm

    Sorry about transposing those letters. But it still smacks to me of a very narrow definition of “deaf culture” to me.

  6. Jamie Berke (unregistered) on May 12th, 2006 @ 9:52 pm

    I am a parent of deaf kids and I had a bad experience with Fernandes 11 years ago. You can read about it here:

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