"She doesn't say 'hi,' " one student's poster read.Ok. Great. Now the whole world will see that as the prime reason for the protest about the first deaf woman! president because she isn't friendly enough according to students in the very first page of the Washington Post. But Dr. Fernandes had this to say after being selected:
She said it will be hard to follow Jordan. "I'm more of a quiet leader," she said. "Quiet but effective -- I have a different style."
And the article goes on how deaf students are tying to make this into a black and white reason when there were no black, deaf candidates considered in the selection process for the finalist position. Or any other candidates with a different ethnic background for that matter. This certainly does not help the students if they are trying to make this into a politically correct cause by saying that presidential selection process was all about qualifications over diversity and cultural aspects. Some protesters in GallyNet-L feel that
"the problem is DEFINITELY BEYOND OUR CONTROL unless we find a way to move the law into favoring culture over qualifications."
That sounds very, uh, much like affirmative action when qualifications do not count but race and culture do.
As I said before, watch what you do in your actions because it could come back and bite you. Some points are valid, it's how you present them that counts.
My prediction? Well, if they don't plan this right this whole thing could backfire making the students looking like a bunch of cry-babies when they have the very first woman deaf president and not a hearing president by which the world would readily understand. This might turn out to be a mightily frustrating protest that may go nowhere and if that happens I'm sure tempers will flare and petty violence will be the result.
The problem will be transmitting the proper image to the outside world since these people have no knowledge of the whole event and will only get their new s and perception from blogs, newspapers, and television news. What doesn't help is to have a poster being waved around saying that Fernandes doesn't say "Hi" general campus population (ie. more friendly). Here's a plausible scene:
Reporter: "Why are you protesting."
Students screaming: "Because she doesn't say 'Hi' to us."
Reporter: "Is that it?"
Students: "No. She not Deaf enough and doesn't sign ASL like the rest of us."
Reporter: "I see."
This is what the world will see if these protesters and student leaders do not watch out what they say and do. And with any protests there are demands. The Student Body Government recently released two demands:
And hence we have two demands:
1. Jane Fernandes resign as President and the search process be re-opened.
2. No reprisals for students, staff, faculty, and alum.
No reprisals? Does that include the right to re-take the final exams because you decided to protest that day during the last week of school? The SBG better come up with a good list of explainations why Dr. Fernandes should resign as the 9th president of Gallaudet University. Just because they don't like her is not a good enough reason.
Frankly, those demands will most likely not happen. This is not another Selma or DPN movement that had an entirely different reason for the protest because of oppression and putting down deaf people as not capable people of running their own show. Try and explain "oppression" to the world about the new deaf woman president of Gallaudet University. The new president is deaf!
And the Washington Post ends its article on page 3 for the world to see by presenting deaf students as.......sore losers:
A student leader stood high above the crowd, asking them what they wanted to tell the board.
"We want to be heard," he signed. They yelled and jumped as he signed again, forcefully, "We want to be heard!"
Not looking good for them from the outside looking in when one reads the Washington Post.
For tons more pictures go here on the event prior to the protest to now.
Previous blogs on Gallaudet University's selection of Dr. Jane K. Fernandes.
The Selection of Dr. Jane K. Fernandes - a Rush Job?
Did the "Really Deaf President Now" Protest Fizzled Yesterday?
We Must have a Really, Really, Really Deaf President Now!