I’ve been watching Gallaudet’s News postings over the past few days ever since it announced the BoT’s decision to oust Fernandes.
More importantly, I was watching to see whether the PR Department would post more editorials that were pro-Fernandes as it had done in the past. It is important to emphasize just how overwhelming the Deaf community’s support was for the protests, to the extent that the administration could only counter by publishing pro-Fernandes statements from editorial boards that had no inkling of what the protests were about, much less what Deaf culture is.
Thankfully, the PR Department hasn’t posted any further editorials…so far.
But, I King Jordan did issue a message asking for “Reconciliation on Campus,” which I eagerly read.
I became disenheartened to see that I King Jordan simply is still in denial and unapologetic in how his own actions, and of those serving under him, during the protests had been far more damaging to the Deaf community than the actions of the protestors themselves.
My comments are in italics…
Reconciliation on Campus: Message from I. King Jordan
Dear Students, Faculty, Staff, and Teachers:
I don’t have to tell you that the past months of intense discord have taken their toll on our community. Certainly the impact of what we have been through will resonate among all of us on campus and among alumni throughout the world for many years to come.
Of course you don’t have to tell us about the toll you’ve taken on “our” community; thanks to your mind-boggling decisions and actions, Jordan! And, oh, yes, we will certainly be speaking ill of you for many years to come…about how you turned your back on the very people that made you who you are.
I deeply regret that Dr. Fernandes was not given an opportunity to become Gallaudet’s next President and carry out her vision for the University. She has devoted the past 11 years to making Gallaudet an inclusive educational environment of high quality for all deaf and hard of hearing students, and I believe she would have led the University to new heights of achievement. However, that is not to be, and we must look to the future of Gallaudet, to address the issues that have been raised, and to reconcile our differences.
Jordan, your pro-Fernandes statement has absolutely no place in this “reconciliation” message from you. The Board of Trustees, which oversees you, has made its decision and for you to openly regret the Board’s decision is tantamount to insubordination. If a high-ranking officer in a corporation made such a similar comment, that officer would have been likewise terminated by the Board. Either that, or this is yet another indication of the widely-held belief that you retain (or rather, had retained) significant influence on the Board.
As we work to ensure a safe and productive teaching, learning, and working environment for all members of our community, I ask each of you to join me in bringing about reconciliation on campus. One way to begin is for each of us to look within ourselves and think of what we can do to help bring about healing. I realize that the issues before us evoke passionate feelings, but I believe we can—and must—devote that same passion to addressing these issues and healing our community. Concerns that have been debated with heat must be discussed and resolved through collaboration of the administration, board, faculty, staff, students, alumni, and all those committed to the well-being of the University.
I take affront at your comments, Jordan! ”Safe” environment? I’d like to remind you, Jordan, that it was you and your divisive comments and decisions that led to: 1) Protestors assaulted and threatened by DPS; 2) Protestors injured as a result of DPS and PPD personnel attempting to re-open the MSSD gate by force; 3) Protestors placing their health and lives at risk by being willing to starve themselves as a result of you and your decisions!
However, I am more insulted by your comment of asking US to join YOU in bringing about reconciliation. YOU are the one who should be joining US in reconciling our differences…and it begins with YOU apologizing to us!
After all, you DID say that we need to look into ourselves and think about what we need to do to begin the healing, didn’t you? Well, Jordan, we are all waiting for your apology.
During the almost 19 years of my presidency, we have accomplished great things together. I know our community will get through this challenging period, but it will require hard work from all of us. After all, no matter what position each of us took in recent months, we share a common love and concern for Gallaudet University. May that shared love give us the desire and strength to rebuild relationships, and work together for Gallaudet’s future.
I. King Jordan
It is truly unfortunate, Jordan, that you didn’t realize that there are many of us who love Gallaudet and are more concerned about it than you are. It must have been astonishing for you to see not only the campus rise up against you but the nation and the rest of the world as well!
Don’t ever underestimate the power of a unified Deaf Community, Jordan. One would have thought that you’d be the first to know this, considering the circrumstances that brought you to the presidency in the first place.
Yes, the Deaf Community can be bogged down in bickering, politics, and gossip…but when an event or series of events, such as those that unfolded at Gallaudet, inflames them, the sight of a unified Deaf Community is truly one to behold.
While I await your apology, Jordan, I’d actually like to thank you. Your inflammtory decisions and tactics at Gallaudet served to not only unite us but to illuminate us as well! Across the nation, there are now reports of the Deaf Community beginning to expose the audism and management by intimidation occuring elsewhere!
Jordan, the final chapter in your Gallaudet biography is a disgraceful one caused by none other than yourself; however, there is a silver lining. You can at least brag that you were one of the original instigators that renewed and inspired the Deaf Community to reassert itself in the beginning years of the 21st Century.