Calm at Gallaudet? NOT Until the LIES Stop!

SOME media outlets STILL do not ‘get it.’ They continue to perpetuate the simple lies upon their readership, perhaps because the complex truths are too just hard for them to grasp. We won the battle on campus, but must continue to fight the war in the
media. Note the last two paragraphs of the following article, in which Mercy Coogan continues to LIE about her office’s activities and intentions. -Ken @ bibliomarket 


Calm at Gallaudet
After months of protest over the selection of Jane K. Fernandes as president, students and faculty at Gallaudet University are getting back to the business of higher education — with things somewhat resolved since the board on Sunday terminated her contract Sunday night. A mess of tents, banners and tables still decorated the lawn at the campus’s entrance Monday, but at 5:00 p.m. protesters opened the main gate to outside traffic. They expect to have any mess cleaned up by this morning.

Throughout the protest students had always stated two demands: that Fernandes resign and that there be no reprisals against those who protested. The board agreed to both demands but has said that students who vandalized buildings or destroyed property will face disciplinary action.

Diane Morton, professor of counseling, said that today is the last day to drop classes and that student protesters are now working with faculty to figure out how to make up material they missed. “We will know today how many students will drop classes or have to leave the university,” she said.

Still hanging over the university is how to proceed and choose a new president. A Gallaudet spokeswoman, Mercy Coogan, said that she is not sure what will happen in the coming months and that the administration is waiting for the board to make a decision. “Everything is up in the air,” she said.

Meanwhile, a consultant who advises universities during executive searches said that any search will now be much harder since the students and faculty have already rejected one choice by the board.

Gallaudet’s board hired Academic Search Consultation Service to manage the search that led to the decision to offer the job to Fernandes. The lead consultant was Patricia T. van der Vorm, who did not respond to calls or an e-mail seeking comment.

“[Van der Vorm] is a spectacularly good search consultant,” said a consultant with another firm who did not want to be identified. The consultant added that any future search would be extremely difficult because the protesters, by rejecting a well qualified candidate like Fernandes, had made the decision more of a popularity contest. The consultant also speculated that the board would seem to have a poor relationship with the faculty, since the trustees did not seem to understand just how much professors dislike Fernandes. “It will be interesting to see how they deal with this,” added the consultant.

But John Thelin, a professor of educational policy studies at the University of Kentucky, said that “what’s not clear is who the board is listening to.”

“I’m sure students will scrutinize more closely who is on the search committee,” Coogan said. Coogan said that a “subtext” to the opposition against Fernandes was “deaf politics.” Fernandes learned sign language late in life. Protesters have complained that the administration has attempted to play up this issue rather than focus on critics’ real concerns, which were Fernandes’s alleged poor leadership and lack of charisma.

“We weren’t spinning it,” Coogan said. “We were pushing it.” Coogan added that the administration was worried about raising the issue of deaf politics but that reporters kept bringing up the issue in their news reports.

Paul D. Thacker

[Paul, if you cared about facts, perhaps you would have taken the time to READ this letter from Dr. Robert Johnson, who went into great detail about the events leading up to the Protest. More likely than not, you’re simply lazy, and made a call or two to the office of Public Relations at Gallaudet. -Ken @ bibliomarket]

Other Comments:


She’s NOT well qualified !!!

I’m not sure who is saying Fernandes is “well qualified” — the unnamed consultant or your writer — but she most certainly is NOT well qualified. For goodness sakes, that’s what the whole protest was about — her dismal track record at Gallaudet over the past 11 years and her lack of qualifications for the job. She was hand-picked by the outgoing president and rubber-stamped by an out-of-touch board that was also hand-picked by the outgoing president, a man who was able to amass WAY too much power over the years, even to the point of controlling the Board of Trustees. Are you people EVER going to get it?

Tom Willard, at 1:10 pm EST on October 31, 2006


Tired of this.

I’m an intelligent Deaf, gay male that teaches American Sign Language and English at a community college in Salt Lake City. I have two BAs (including a minor in Journalism), a MA, and am working on my PhD.

I get tired of reading news report after news report that shows only the administrators’ views of the protest at Gallaudet. Why don’t the reporters talk with the protesters or the FSSA (Faculty Staff Student Alumni Coalition) of Gallaudet University and find out the facts?

The protest had nothing to do with “Deaf politics,” but with an improper, suspicious, and fixed presidential search process. It is clear that the search process was not conducted properly.

In addition to this, the former president-designate, Jane Fernandes, had demonstrated time and time again that she was an ineffective leader. This has been documented so many times, it spins my head. This information was kept from the Board of Trustees when they were deliberating on their choice for the next leader of Gallaudet University.

Mercy Coogan, Irving K. Jordan, and Jane Fernandes used a common tactic to gain sympathy and support—playing the “race card,” only in this case, they played the “deaf card.” This was unfair and put Deaf people across the world in a bad light.

Since they pushed the issue, though, deaf politics came into the picture. Nearly 15 thousand people across the world participated directly and/or indirectly in this protest. How can that many people be wrong?

The protest was not about preserving Deaf culture or American Sign Language, it was about unifying the Deaf community and eradicating Audism (akin to racism).

Please, reporters, educate yourselves on ALL sides of the story and write neutral, informative articles. Isn’t that what journalists are supposed to do?

Alan, at 1:15 pm EST on October 31, 2006

Jane Fernandes

I am the Home Region Representative on the Gallaudet University Alumni Association Board of Directors and was very much involved with the protest.

Before I retired two years ago, I was the Director of Media Relations in the Public Relations Office at Gallaudet University.

It was very obvious right from the beginning that the PR Office and Administration was going to play and harp on the “not deaf enough” card. Unfortunately,the media kept picking up on this topic throughout the protest.

The fact is, Dr. Fernandes just doesn’t have the leadership or management savvy to run the university. I would like to point out a few things about Dr. Fernandes lack of leadership and management.

When the Head Librarian left several years ago, Dr. Fernandes took it upon herself to be the Acting Head Librarian.

When the dean of CLAST (College of Liberal Arts, Science and Technology) resigned, Dr. Fernandes took it upon herself to be Acting Dean.

When the 2001 Tower Clock (student’s yearbook) had some “off color photos and comments,” Dr. Fernandes ordered the Department of Personal Safety to padlock the Tower Clock offices to prevent the yearbook from being distributed. This problem actually falls under the domain of the Dean of Student Affairs but once again it was Dr. Fernandes who stepped in and took over.

This led many people on campus to feel that Dr. Fernandes didn’t have any confidence in her subordinates. Of course, Dr. Jordan gave her blanket approval for the above (as well as a few other lesser incidents) which contributed to the speculation that Dr. Jordan was “grooming” Dr. Fernandes to take over his position when he retired.

No my fellow colleagues in the media, “not deaf enough,” or her lack of ASL were not the issues. When 82 percent of the faculty gave her a vote of no confidence, it’s quite obvious that leadership, management, and to some extent, charisma, were the issues.


Mike Kaika, GUAA Board Member at Gallaudet
University, at 2:46 pm EST on October 31, 2006


4 thoughts on “Calm at Gallaudet? NOT Until the LIES Stop!

  1. The media reported this for exactly what it was a personal attack at JKF. The “Not DEaf Enough” campaign began with the protesters in the beginning blogs and continue to this day and JKF is out of the picture. It is as clear as can be.
    You want to hide behind your real reasons for the protest.
    You can see the real reasons by watching the hateful burning of the effigy of JKF.
    As for Congress, they now know that Gallaudet is not for All Deaf people, you have proven this. The Federal money will dissappear and Gallaudet will dwindle away.
    I now work in the one of the largest school district in the nation and we are recommending our students not attend Gallaudet. The proof is in the stats. Just being fluent in ASL will not prepare our students for life outside the gates of Gallaudet. We recommend any and all means of learning methods to prepare our students for the Real World. And it is a proven method!


  2. Facts are not attractive to the readers LIES ohh the public love this… to them we are just one big soap operas.. And it is titled “World Revolved around IJK, JKF and the PR”

    Don’t you all fret the truth will come out eventually. Congress are going to watch now more than ever. Just keep your head cool… as it does work wonders.


  3. I am wondering if there was a situation when media kept on picking up wrong information until they finally corrected themselves and shed the light of truth. I have a hard time remembering anything except that it takes a long time to undo damages.

    It seems we have a choice, keep everything perfect for PR’s sake or get in real mess and pay prices to clean up the system. I choose the latter period because..I was an insider myself. I worked there for 10 years prior to my 6 years in Ph.d here in Boulder.

    Anne Marfie


  4. The media was there everyday. Why did they not get it? Because there was nothing to get. So JKF rubbed some people the wrong way, lots of leaders do that. The media no doubt read some of the blogs and the countless accusations against JKF and in the end they added up to nothing. These are REPORTERS whose job is to INVESTIGATE. If there was something really wrong at Gallaudet, they would love to jump on it and expose it for their own station/paper, but it didn’t happen because there was nothing wrong. The media did not buy it and neither did most of the hearing world. I ask you: how could so many people be wrong?


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