Where is the logic in this when we see deaf or hard of hearing students go from a world full of "audism" (a word coined by Tom Humphries who is "deeply committed to all aspects of Deaf life, the arts, Deaf cultural studies, the language, and to promoting scholarship among Deaf people" and is also on the Board of Trustees that selected Dr. Jane K. Fernandes to be the next Gallaudet University president) to a world full of greater communcation freedom (ASL or sign language, too!) along with greater understanding and opportunities at Gallaudet University and then accuse the university of practicing "audism" (exceptions can be made for DPS campus police in this case)? These protesters have accused Gallaudet University with "rampant" audism and oppression thus making it sound like a 3rd world country with hoards of people writhing with cries of social injustice! Oh, the inhumanity of it all! It would even rival the Stubbed-Toe Gate incident.
Pardon my French but it all sounds a bit too much like one big odorous poopy pile of mass proportion. The mother of all stinkers.
The United States is considered to be the best country in the world to live in for Deaf, deaf and hard of hearing people considering the amount of technology and services available for them allowing them greater and greater independency. It is astounding though far from perfect. Video phones, relay interpreters, CART services, communication devices, ASL interpreters, Cued Speech transliterators, SEE interpreters, Oral translators, Instant Messengers (eg AIM, MSN, YAHOO), vlogs, blogs, emails, IDEA, ADA, Section 504, and many more. Even Gallaudet University is working with people on ASL recognition to speech or text output. And vice versa. I'm sure Gallaudet campus reeeeks of audism and oppression that are totally unimaginable it would put the Gulag prison to shame.
Recently we had a faculty standing vote a few weeks back with 168 fo them out 221 showed up to vote for the ouster of Dr. Jane K. Fernandes. Out of 168 of the 221 who showed up, 138 voted against JKF. That's fine all that but isn't it ironic that these same protesters who applauded the voting exercise are the very same people who screamed at the many of the faculty members for not being ASL fluent enough in their signing? And the fact that the majority of faculty members on campus are hearing? Why are these same faculty members who sign so poorly in ASL want the ouster of JKF? How come "Motion J" wasn't voted on which was the last on the list of motions to vote on? Shouldn't it have been near the top of the list to vote on since so many protesters and Deaf faculty members were screaming about this for years on ASL signing competency among faculty members who are non-native signers?
MOTION J - “Ask that Committee A and the Senate work together to change faculty guidelines such that all previously tenured faculty will be required to take the same sign language assessment test that untenured faculty take. GU till rovide interps in the classroom for any currently tenured fac member who does not pass the sign lang assessment at the same level required for new fac to gain tenure. This would not replace the system of testing non tenured faculty”
Now, why many of the hearing faculty members who most likely don't sign as proficiently in ASL voted for the ouster of JKF? Is it because Dr. Jane K. Fernandes has in mind that they should better start ramping up their research publications to peer-reviewed journals on a regular basis that many have been lax on for years? And the 82% of those faculty members who voted for the ouster of Dr. Jane K. Fernades, are they all against her vision of academic excellence for Gallaudet University and its students, professors and staff? What exactly are the Deaf professors or faculty members' agenda or true positions here? Is this about the increased expectation for research papers? Is this about the tenure-track controversy?
What I can see is that Dr. Jane K. Fernandes is committed to and expect greater academic excellence among faculty and staff (and even students). All one has to do is look at a recent power point presentation that summarizes the goals for Gallaudet University called "Academic Affairs: Implementation of the New Directions Plan - August 25, 2004". It comprehensively covers the goals for Gallaudet University to become the preeminent university for all deaf and hard of hearing based on expected academic standards and acceptance among students, staff, and faculty members. Among the 5 directions these are the priorities that Dr. Jane K. Fernandes and many others want to see accomplished.:
Direction #1. Gallaudet University is recognized as a prestigious university with high quality academic programs, co-curricular programs, and research.
Priority 1.1: Raise standards for undergraduate admissions, academic programs, and graduation.
Priority 1.2: Strengthen, nurture, and infuse academic culture into all aspects of the Gallaudet community.
Priority 1.3: Recruit and retain an exemplary faculty and professional staff.
Priority 1.4: Increase support for research, publication, outreach, and other scholarly activities.
Priority 1.5: Support quality teaching and learning by providing adequate resources for instructional technology and the library.
Priority 1.6: Establish a comprehensive program of professional development for faculty, teachers, staff, and administrators.
Direction #2. At Gallaudet University, liberal arts is the foundation for intellectual development, ethical decision-making, career development, professional preparation, citizenship, and lifelong learning.
Priority 2.1: Increase emphasis and integration of the following into each student’s educational experience:
Expanded internship opportunities
Expanded opportunities to study abroad
Community service and/or service learning
Priority 2.2: Develop an internal and external communication plan that conveys our vision of a liberal arts education clearly, concisely, positively, and as relevant for a lifetime.
Direction #3. Gallaudet University is the university of choice for an increasingly diverse pool of potential students who are deaf and hard of hearing, and for hearing students who want to prepare for careers in the deaf community.
Priority 3.1: Preserve Gallaudet’s rich cultural heritage and promote the study and appreciation of Deaf culture, Deaf history, and American Sign Language.
Priority 3.2: Foster positive identities and cultural competence for all students through a program of cross-cultural studies, diversity initiatives, and a climate that is characterized by inclusion and respect for everyone. Inclusion and respect for all individuals and groups within the deaf community. Cultural competence and respect for diverse groups within the larger society. Right of every student to explore and choose his own identity.
Priority 3.3: Provide adequate resources for both undergraduate and graduate students. Meet the needs of new signers. Assure the availability of a continuum of support services for all students offer a variety of course delivery methods. Better address the needs of non-traditional students. Ensure effective communication among faculty, staff, and students.
Priority 3.4: Develop articulation agreements with Gallaudet University Regional Centers and other community colleges with strong programs for deaf and hard of hearing students. Goals of the agreements are to prepare students to come to Gallaudet and to make sure that appropriate credits transfer.
Direction #4. Gallaudet University nurtures and strengthens its position as a global educational and cultural center for people who are deaf and hard of hearing and demonstrates its commitment to diversity by reaching out to deaf and hard of hearing people everywhere.
Priority 4.1: Promote partnerships with other countries and international organizations, more educational exchange programs, more information sharing, and increased focus on international relations.
Priority 4.2: Strengthen the global content in the curriculum in order to prepare American and international students to compete effectively in an increasingly global community.
Priority 4.3: Continue efforts to remove the cap on international student enrollment, eliminate the surcharge on tuition, and exclude online course and certificate program enrollments from the cap.
Direction #5. Gallaudet University values and promotes undergraduate and graduate education equally.
Priority 5.1: Enhance and build on the strengths of graduate programs.
Priority 5.2: Strengthen undergraduate education and promote better preparation of undergraduate students for graduate programs.
Priority 5.3: Faculty governance takes a leadership role, in consultation with administration, academic departments, and professional staff in promoting collaboration and articulation among undergraduate, graduate, and co- curricular programs.
Priority 5.4: Promote collaboration among undergraduate, graduate, co- curricular, and Clerc Center programs and constituencies with shared interests as a way to enhance outcomes and increase efficient use of resources.
For faculty members (as well as protesters) who voted for the ouster of Dr. Jane K. Fernandes and her plan for academic excellence means that they are:
1 - Against the requirement for increased quality research publications to peer reviewed journals that will help foster an increased climate of expectated academic excellence from everybody.
2 - Against in recognizing the right of every student to explore and choose his/her own identity.
3. Against increased standards for undergraduate admissions, academic programs, and graduation.
4. Against any upwardly and more mobile academic direction.
For too long Deaf students have called Gallaudet University as the "Deaf Harvard". Saying this is nothing but a joke because the academic standards for admitting students is nothing like a Harvard standard. Even many of the courses do not even reflect the usual academic Harvard standard. If one wanted to get into Harvard, MIT, Standford, or even Yale, would you expect them to lower their academic standards and admittance requirements just so they can get in?
So, if you want Gallaudet University to be the preeminent educational institution for deaf and hard of hearing students, then you need to take a close look at those 5 directions. Fernandes has a plan for academic excellence and it's already in place and ready to go.
UPDATE: The remaining four motions were voted on a week later. "Motion J" was voted in favor but only 80 faculty members participated in it. That's a drop from 168 members who voted earlier this month. Does this mean that 75 out 168 were in favor of "Motion J"? Or 44% in favor? I wonder what the odds are that most of those that voted were Deaf faculty members? What happened to the remaining 88? Couldn't they have submitted a vote in absentia?
Question: Do many of the Deaf and hearing faculty members have different but underlying agendas in regard to why they what to oust JKF?
Hat tip: Gallaudet Employee. Thanks.