Questions abound such as who really started the push for "Unity for Gallaudet" protest which is an altogether an oxymoron combining "protest" with that of demand for "unity." Reason I'm bringing this up is because of the recent revelation brought up by Dr. Angela McCaskill in a Tuesday press conference where she stated that:
"I quickly looked back to the protest of 2006 (see video on Unity for Gallaudet with MJ Bienvenu in it). Several radical people pushed the students to the front to debate student's agenda. It was not the student's agenda. It was not student's agenda back then and it is not student's agenda now."There must be more to this charge. What does McCaskill know that we don't know since she had access to faculty members in 2006 and saw what went on on the inside. I think she saw enough of what went on that simply disgusted her. Enough so to make such a charge in a live news conference.
Yet the irony in all this bullying was discovered when I found out that President Hurwitz requested that Gallaudet University establish an anti-bullying policy for faculty, staff, and students back in 2011 stating (see page 2):
We are currently developing an anti-bullying policy for faculty, staff, and students. A brief video, “It Gets Better,” was made by Gallaudet students and is available at http://youtu.be/WoaYsF_OzXU."It gets better?
Looks like it got a whole lot worse straight up at the faculty level and from a person who high on the authority list as one of the faculty Senate member of Gallaudet University. More on that later below.
Who knew that their very own Dr. Angela McCaskill, Chief Diversity Officer, would become a bullying victim from faculty members who squarely have set agenda against her from the beginning which brings me to Celia May Baldwin who was a victim of bullying during the 2006 protest. I saved Baldwin's 2006 memo outlining her reason why she resigned from the Board of Trustees stating that she received threats during the 2006 protest.
May 9, 2006
TO: Bill Graham, Board Secretary
FROM: Celia May Baldwin
SUBJECT: Tenure on the Board of Trustees
After many sleepless nights and much reflection these past several days, I regret to tell you that on Sunday night I came to the decision to resign from the Gallaudet Board of Trustees. The presidential search and the controversy that has ensued have put enormous strain and stress on me. I simply could not ignore the numerous aggressive threats I have received over the past weeks.
I cannot express how disappointed I am that it has to come to this point. However, I trust that you will give me your full support and understanding in my decision.
It is my sincerest hope that you feel I have served Gallaudet University to the fullest in the years that I have been on the Board. I admire and respect each of my colleagues on the Board and am glad that I had the opportunity of working closely with several of them in the recent months as the Interim Chair. I also appreciate all the assistance I received from the President's Office. I am truly saddened by recent events.
I am confident that we all share the same goal of working towards the best possible future for Gallaudet University. Thank you for allowing me to serve this fine institution.
Question for ya'll.
Where were the faculty members who were in support of the 2006 "unity" protest when these threats occurred? Who stood up and said that issuing such threats to members of the BoTs and said that it "ain't cool." Who publicly voiced that they do not condone such actions against BoT members?
Where was M.J. Bienvenu when that happened?
Did she not care about threats made to certain members of the BoTs?
Where were the 145 full-time regular faculty in 2006 who were in attendance for the no-confidence vote, out of a possible 220 but made the vote count appear bigger when it wasn't since 145 faculty members in total for the special meeting were in attendance. A total of 140 voted on the "no confidence" vote where there was a 93 to 47 vote where of "No confidence" in Fernandes with a difference of 46 votes. 140 out 220 voted attended the "no confidence" vote which means only 63% of the faculty voted on the subject which leaves 80 faculty members who refused to attend the special meeting or could not attend the special meeting. It wasn't a faculty Senate vote but a non-binding vote in a special meeting during the height of the "Unity for Gallaudet" protest. And this calls into question the validity of the whole vote when you have barely 60% of the faculty members attending for a special vote by which they admitted it was not a faculty Senate vote.
Jumping back to Celia May Brown.
Did faculty members who were in support of the 2006 protest ignored threats that were made to Celia May Baldwin? Was this a classic sign of allowing bullying to happen by keeping quiet about it? How come the 21-member faculty Senate never voted on the "No confidence" vote? Wouldn't that yield a more powerful, official vote and voice against J.K. Fernandes? How many of those 21 members of the faculty Senate actually participated in the non-binding vote in a special meeting that day? Who were those 21 members of the faculty Senate back in 2006?
And now, today, we have faculty members who used Angela McCaskill's petition signature as a blunt weapon to bully against her by essentially forcing president Hurwitz into a corner to try and get her fired. Some faculty members who may have been key in helping start the 2006 protest may have been the ones who pushed students out in front and center to get them to protest in their favor. Who, as far as we're concerned, never condoned the threats that were made against Celia May Brown back in 2006.
Now here is what gets interesting.
Kendra Smith and M.J. Bienvenu are members of the 22-member faculty Senate for the 2010 - 2013 term. Those two are involved in the whole McCaskill/Gallaudet University mess as charged by Dr. Angela McCaskill. Kendra Smith represents Graduate Studies group while M.J. Bienvenu represents University Faculty Officers and as University Faculty Vice Chair. A powerful position with a lot of pull.
The roles, responsibilities and authority given to these members are described in the faculty Senate page:
The principal decision-making body of the faculty:
1.Review and advise the administration on the relative merits of creating new administrative structures, revising existing structures, and re-defining the purposes and functions of existing programs.
2.Make recommendations to the administration regarding the academic calendar.
3.Establishes courses of study, requirements for admission or transfer, and requirements for graduation for degrees; determines academic discipline.
4.Reviews faculty grievances and makes recommendations to the President.
5.Verifies faculty eligibility for promotion and tenure.
6.Recommends to the president and Board of Trustees candidates for degrees; and regulates faculty status and conduct.
This Committee has the following authority:
•Principal decision-making body of the University Faculty. Oversees quality of academic programs. Recommends candidates for degrees.
•Advises Provost, President, and BOT
Powerful responsibilities and the delegation of authority to those Senate members. This has an air of conflict of interest at work in the effort to oust McCaskill. Also, does this reek of "deafhoodism" all over again but in an all different format at the political level with a twist that it's become a good ole-girls network (14 out 22 are women in the faculty Senate) with Bienvenu near the top of the authority delegated to her?
Also, is Bienvenu a tenured professor?
And so all in all we can only surmise what has been going on now since 2006 with McCaskill bringing it up. Perhaps this goes back much earlier than 2006. And exactly what kind of a professional relationship there was between McCaskill and Bienvenu all those years they've known each other?
It's obvious that Bienvenu has an axe to grind toward McCaskill for some reason or another that she was willing to push such an agenda in a very public way. Perhaps time will tell eventually this sordid tale yet to be told. The 2006 chapter thought closed is now open again. What really went on and why?
Maybe it's time to add and revise some of the Wikipedia entry on "Unity for Gallaudet" protest?