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Gallaudet University: Really News?

October 17, 2006

Protests and disarray at Gallaudet have been all the news recently in the education sections of major newspapers. I’m not interested. Why? Because not a single story has done a good job of explaining why the new president could possibly be so bad. The newspapers seem attracted merely because of the fracas. Can someone refer me to an informative and issue-oriented story on the situation? What’s its larger significance? – TL

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4 Comments
  1. Anonymous permalink

    From: http://edition.cnn.com/2006/EDUCATION/10/13/gallaudet.protest.ap

    The protests began last spring when Fernandes, the university's provost, was appointed president by the board of trustees. She is scheduled to take over for President I. King Jordan in January.

    Fernandes has said some people do not consider her “deaf enough” to be president. She was born deaf but grew up speaking and did not learn American Sign Language, the preferred method of communicating at Gallaudet, until she was 23.

    Those who are against her presidency say Fernandes isn't open to different points of view and that the selection process did not reflect the student body's diversity.

    “They have no idea who we are,” said LaToya Plummer, 25, a junior from Suitland, Maryland, signing her comments through an interpreter.

    Not everyone at Gallaudet supports the protest, however. A small group of students has been gathering at a fence on the edge of campus, where about a half dozen teachers on the other side meet to teach classes.

    Jordan became the 1,800-student school's first deaf president in 1988 after student protesters marched to the Capitol demanding a “Deaf President Now.” The school was founded by Congress in 1864.

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  2. Thanks! Still, I can't decide if “the news” is making more of this than what it is, or not making enough of it? Nothing in this CNN story indicates ~why~ Fernandes has “no idea who we are.” Not “deaf enough” doesn't seem to warrant vigorous protest by students and faculty. I just can't imagine the deaf being that superficial. – TL

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  3. Anonymous permalink

    Well,
    1. Maybe it's not so “superficial” to them.
    2. Maybe it doesn't seem so important to one not in the community (deaf or Gallaudet), and
    3. Just because one is deaf doesn't mean they are immune to superficiality

    But I'm neither deaf nor at Gallaudet, so take my response for what it's worth.

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  4. I suppose you're right on the superficiality issue: who knows for sure except for those that are involved? Plus, it's not that I think the Gallaudet University situation is not important, but rather that I'm not sure what to make of the ~news~ of it – or the stories about it that are being written by news professionals. – TL

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