Coalition Seeks Reconciliation For Gallaudet Protesters
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
December 20, 2006
WASHINGTON, DC--A coalition of faculty, staff, students, and alumni of Gallaudet University have expressed outrage at a decision by the school's Board of Trustees to allow administrators to continue with disciplinary actions against students who led the protests that resulted in a change in leadership at the nation's largest school for deaf and hard-of-hearing people.
For several weeks this spring and fall, hundreds of people held public demonstrations, effectively shutting down the college, over the board's choice of Jane K. Fernandes to head up the school when President I King Jordan leaves at the end of the year. The protesters said that Fernandes was not capable of heading up the school or effectively representing the deaf community.
After the board finally decided to fire Fernandes, the board announced a freeze on disciplinary actions against the students who led the demonstrations.
On December 9, however, the trustees decided to allow the administration to deal with individual students' actions the same as they would any other violations of the university's code of conduct. For those found guilty of violating the code, disciplinary actions could include suspension or expulsion.
"I don't think it ends at this," Diane Morton, a faculty member who joined the protests, told the Associated Press. "This is unacceptable."
Parents United for Gallaudet asked the board on November 11 to consider an "amnesty of reprisals" for protesters, whom the group described as "the true heroes of Gallaudet", so the school could move forward.
In a letter to incoming president Robert R. Davila, the coalition asked for help in opening the lines of communication at the university.
"Students face stir penalty" (Associated Press via Washington Times)
Letter from Gallaudet University Faculty, Staff, Students & Alumni's Attorney to Board of Trustees (Latham & Watkins, LLP)
Letter to Dr. Davila from Parents United for Gallaudet (Gallaudet University Faculty, Staff, Students & Alumni)