Students at Gallaudet University have illustrated that fighting for what you believe in is necessary and beneficial. In this article it is announced that Gallaudet has withdrawn its appointment of Jane Fernandes as president of the university.
This announcement comes after weeks of protest at Gallaudet, a prestigious school for the deaf, hard of hearing, and hearing. Gallaudet had selected Fernandes to be their next president, but students protested because they felt that the selection of Fernandes was a sign of audism. Fernandes was born deaf, but was mainstreamed into schooling (attended school with people who could hear), and she didn’t learn sign language until her 20s. Some of her critics complained that she wasn’t fluent in sign language.
I have been fascinated watching this unfold, and to me, it truly represents the power with and necessity of fighting for what you believe in. The students at Gallaudet have encouraged me. At the same time, I wonder how it feels to be Jane Fernandes- to have a board of trustees tell you that they trust you and your ability to be the next leader of a university, and to then have them rescind their offer. That has to hurt. I believe that it probably speaks more to the dynamics of the situation rather than to her abilities. At any rate, I’m sure that they feel that they are doing what is best- and in all honesty, would it be better to have a few angry Fernandes supporters, or many angry students and alumni?
This makes me wonder what could be accomplished on all levels if people came together to fight for the issues they were passionate about…
Statement from Gallaudet’s Board of Trustees
Statement from Jane Fernandes
Gallaudet axes incoming president- courtesy of MSNBC.com