Friday, October 13, 2006
Gallaudet University President-Elect in Trouble
Gallaudet University students are mad as hell and not going to take it anymore. So mad that they shut down the nation’s only liberal arts college for the deaf again yesterday. Students and others are unhappy with Gallaudet’s new president-elect, Jane K. Fernandes, and want her to resign.
“Students pitched tents, took over a major classroom building and, before dawn Wednesday, blocked all access to the private university,” according to the Washington Post article by Susan Kinzie entitled “Gallaudet Closed for a Second Day.”
The Post details the trouble that has been brewing since Fernandes was selected in May. Some in the community think the search process was too quick and overlooked the strongest candidate. Kinzie writes, “Their anger has grown over what they say is the board’s dismissive attitude. Some say Fernandes has divided them more since May rather than bringing them together on a campus that has enormous cultural resonance for the deaf community.” “They have no idea who we are,” a student said to ABC News of the board of trustees.
Fernandes, who has strong board support, is set to take over in January. She says the debate is about deaf identity politics.
“I feel that this institution cannot move forward under Dr. Fernandes’ leadership because there are too many disagreements about her as a leader,” Mark Weinberger, a professor of foreign languages and chair of the faculty senate, said to ABC News.
Fernandes vows to stick it out.