Gallaudet Board Rescinds Fernandes’s Appointment

I find it interesting to note that I K Jordan said the board acted as it did to “resolve the current stalemate . . . Now we must all put down our weapons of words and seek to restore a sense of community.”

So, does this mean that Jordan is now admitting that his administration DID INDEED engage in a weapon of WORDS? Words like terrorists, mob, dissenters, anarchists, and so forth?

By Susan Kinzie And David A. Fahrenthold
Sunday, October 29, 2006; 7:22 PM

The governing board of Gallaudet University today revoked the appointment of the school’s incoming president, bowing to the demands of students, faculty, staff and alumni whose protests have kept the nation’s premier school for the deaf in turmoil for the last month.

The board, meeting in a day-long special session at a hotel near Dulles International Airport, voted to “terminate” Jane K. Fernandes’ position as president-designate, and said she would not take over for current President I. King Jordan as planned on Jan. 1.

They issued a statement this evening saying the decision was made with “much regret and pain.”

“We understand the impact of this decision and the important issues that inherently arise when a Board re-examines decisions in the face of an on-going protest,” the statement said. “The Board believes that it is in the best interests of the University to terminate Dr. Fernandes from the incoming President’s position.”

Protesters have criticized her leadership since her appointment had been announced in May.

Fernandes, the school’s former provost, has said she was caught in the middle of a cultural debate over what it means to be deaf enough. Although she was born deaf, she did not learn sign language until she was an adult. But protesters said that was not the issue. They said the protests were about her inability to lead, an unfair selection process and longstanding problems at Gallaudet that have been ignored.

Supporters, however, praised her leadership abilities and said the presidential-search process was fair.

In a statement after the trustees’ action, Fernandes issued a statement saying that she loves “Gallaudet University and I believe I could have made a significant contribution to its future. I hope that the Gallaudet community can heal the wounds that have been created.

“I trust that we all want a stronger, better, more inclusive Gallaudet where ASL and Deaf culture have been and always will be at the core of academic and community life,” she said.

Jordan also issued a statement saying that he was “deeply troubled by the divisions among us and by the anger that overtook reason, respect, and civility. Now we must all come together for the sake of Gallaudet, particularly for the sake of Gallaudet’s students . . .

“I want to thank Jane Fernandes for her dedication and courage and her standing up for what’s right. . . . Her vision and her plans to make that vision come to life would have guided the university we all love into a bright future,” he said.

Jordan said the board acted as it did to “resolve the current stalemate . . . Now we must all put down our weapons of words and seek to restore a sense of community.”

The trustees’ statement said they are “continuing to meet to discuss transitional issues.”

Staff writers Nelson Hernandez and Judy Sarasohn contributed to this article.


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