Gallaudet Faculty Vote For President-Designee's Removal
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
October 16, 2006
WASHINGTON, DC--Late Monday night, during one of two regularly scheduled annual meetings, the faculty at Gallaudet University voted 138-24 to call for provost Jane Fernandes to step down and not accept the presidency of the school next January.
"We demand that Jane Fernandes resign or be removed," faculty member Chris Heuer told the Washington Times.
The faculty also voted 133-15 against allowing any retaliation against students who have been protesting since the school term began two weeks ago.
While the votes are not binding, the faculty have threatened other actions, which could include a walk-out, to force Fernandes' removal.
The faculty and the students, along with staff and alumni, have been protesting Fernandes' appointment and the selection process that led to that appointment. They say Fernandes is not competent to run the nation's only 4-year liberal arts college for deaf and hard-of-hearing students, is not proficient in sign language, and does not have the temperament to be a role model for and representative of the deaf community. They also claim the selection process does not include enough student or faculty input.
Classes resumed Monday, as did the demonstrations. Many of the 133 students that were arrested Friday night were back on the protest lines after paying a $50 fine and being released from jail.
Bobbie Beth Scoggins, the president of the National Association of the Deaf came to the campus on Sunday to show support for the protesters. The NAD has called for the Gallaudet board of trustees that appointed Fernandes to recognize the unique role of the school in the deaf community and to "act in the best interest" of the university.
The board also issued a statement on Sunday, reiterating its support for Fernandes, who has maintained that she will not step down.
"Classes resume at university for the deaf, protests continue" (Washington Examiner)
"Seventh Open Letter to the Gallaudet University Board of Trustees, Administration, Supporters, and Interested Persons" (National Association of the Deaf)