May 04, 2006

Protests Strengthen at Gallaudet Over New Prez; Faculty Join In

Ongoing updates at
Gallaudet Protests blog (with photos, interviews, updates)

From the May 4 Washington Post:

About 1,000 people rallied at Gallaudet University yesterday afternoon, with faculty and staff members joining students in a widening protest against the presidential search process, a reaction that started Monday when Jane K. Fernandes was named president.

They urged people to bring tents and sleeping bags to join a candlelight vigil and overnight protest. They handed over a letter with demands to Fernandes and to the current president, I. King Jordan, who said he will forward it to the board of trustees. An online petition had been signed by more than 1,200 alumni by early last night.

From yesterday's Post story Ideas Exchanged as Protest Continues at Gallaudet:

For a second straight day, students at Gallaudet University protested the appointment of a new president, with at times hundreds rallying at the front gate of the campus yesterday and demanding that the choice be reconsidered.

University provost Jane K. Fernandes was named Monday to succeed the university's first deaf president I. King Jordan. Jordan was named to the post 18 years ago, following protests when the school had named a hearing president.

Fernandes is deaf but some students have said she is not fluent in ASL.

They said they do not like Fernandes's leadership style, the way the search was performed and the feeling that they have been ignored. . . .

"Based on a student opinion poll, Fernandes had the fewest supporters of the three finalists, and has had to deal with several controversies during her time as provost that polarized the student body," says Inside Higher Ed.

Deaf students are not only protesting; they're blogging about the issue as well. From the blog gallaudet protests: updates from kendall green:

My stomach began to boil. Did they really think all this was just about Fernandes' lack of social skills? Come on, there have been several issues that have been brought up concerning Fernandes' lack of skills in many areas, more than just being unable to say 'hi' to students . . .

Don Tropp, the 2005-2006 Editor-in-Chief of the Buff and Blue [student paper], said to the crowd, 'The Board of Trustees did not listen to us. [The protest] happened because the Board of Trustees did not listen.' He said that the faculty and students both had made it very clear that they did not want Fernandes. . .

For more...

Links from Deaf Weekly:, Xanga blog "gallaudet protests" - with detailed on-the-scene reportage., The university's official site, where, among other things, you can read the letters of application and resumes of the three finalists and see who is on the board of trustees.,, an uncensored site not sanctioned by the university., -- "The Gallaudet community for a fair Presidential selection.", a petition site that has attracted more than 2,000 signatures to reopen the presidential search process., "Observe But Do Not Interfere," Ricky Taylor's blog with information and comments about the protest., -- a detailed account of Jane Fernandes' April 26 Open Forum at Gallaudet University., -- "Trimming the Fern," an "admittedly biased" student perspective on Jane Fernandes., -- pictures from the protest.

Posted on May 04, 2006