Gallaudet protests continue (2)

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Wed Oct 18 12:52:32 UTC 2006

>>From the Chronicle of Higher Education:

October 17, 2006

Gallaudet U. Cancels Homecoming as Protests Continue

Gallaudet University this afternoon indefinitely postponed its annual
homecoming weekend because protests over the incoming president have
disrupted the campus, it said. Protesters continue to refuse to open all
of the gates, according to a statement by I. King Jordan, the universitys
current president, so we must postpone homecoming and all related
activities, which had been scheduled for this coming weekend.

Student, faculty, and alumni critics of the president-designate, Jane K.
Fernandes, resumed protests this fall that began last spring, after her
appointment was announced. The protests, which cited the search process
that chose her and her suitability to be president, intensified last week,
with a campus takeover that shut down the campus altogether. The campus
blockade was broken up on Friday, with the arrest of more than 130
students, but protesters continue to block the main entrance. Further
arrests seem a distinct possibility.

Classes resumed on Monday, the same day that faculty members called for
the removal or resignation of Ms. Fernandes and voted no confidence in the
governing board and in Mr. Jordan (The Chronicle, October 17). Mr. Jordan
responded with a statement vowing that Ms. Fernandes will become
Gallaudets next president, despite the anger and vitriolic demands and
demonstrations on campus.

Gallaudet U. Faculty Calls for President-to-Be to Resign or Be Removed

Faculty members at Gallaudet University reiterated on Monday their lack of
confidence in the choice of Jane K. Fernandes as the next president of the
college for deaf students, voting overwhelmingly for a resolution that
calls for her to be removed or to resign. The vote, which was taken among
three-quarters of faculty members eligible to participate, took place
three days after police officers ended a blockade of the campus, in
Washington, by arresting 133 students who were protesting Ms. Fernandess
selection (The Chronicle, October 16).

The faculty vote followed a similar resolution last spring, shortly after
the universitys board members announced that Ms. Fernandes was their pick
to succeed I. King Jordan as president (The Chronicle, May 9). The
protests, in which faculty members and alumni have joined students in
assailing the presidential-search process and in criticizing Ms. Fernandes
as unsuited to the post, began in the spring and resumed this fall. Ms.
Fernandes, backed by the board and Mr. Jordan, has said she will not step
aside. She is scheduled to be formally installed as president in January.

At Mondays meeting, 138 of the 168 faculty members present voted for the
resolution. Also at the meeting, 131 of them called on the Board of
Trustees to convene an emergency session to deal with the crisis, but 106
voted for a resolution expressing no confidence in the board. A resolution
asking the trustees to include on the board students, alumni, and faculty
and staff members passed unanimously.

Even President Jordan, the hero of a similar protest 18 years ago, came in
for criticism. In the most narrowly approved resolution, faculty members
voted no confidence in him, 80 to 60.


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