Gallaudets Victory -by Poppi

Gallaudet’s Students:

I would like to wholeheartedly salute you! Your bravery, determination and, above all character deserve admiration. Whether one likes it or not, what you have done forces respect even from your foes and detractors. What you have accomplished combine classicism–classical revolution– and modernism.

Classicism, because you have don’t have the kind of resources one need to fight an all-powerful, iconized, feared, and oppressive administration. Your resolve is reminiscent of old times’ style revolutions. You responded to the old “world proletarians, unite!” Make no mistake, I am not a Marxist. However, given what has happened at Gallaudet over the years, after DPN, after so much hypocrisy, so much MBI, [Management by Intimidation] so much discrimination, so much audism, and given the recent October the 13th brutal response of the outgoing administration, one can’t help tracing a parallel between times, no matter how distant. In fact, without unity, this victory could have remained an unattainable objective. Without your resolve, determination and yes, SACRIFICE, this victory could not have been achieved.

Modernism because you turned your resolve, courage, resolve, intuitiveness and creative tactics into a formidable arsenal. You transcended your difference–albeit sometimes painfully–and formed a rock solid block.l You have overcome your lack of resources and positioned to make yourselves Davids. The administration was so arrogant and so confident, that it had totally discarded the likelihood of your success. This was David vs. Goliath! They had and have the money. You had nothing but your resolve. They had a powerful PR machine, though the same machine has sometimes fired shots at itself and its “owner.” They had the money to go cyber. They slept in six figures villas. You spent night in tents. They filled their stomachs with fancy food. You lived on snacks and some, on water and juice alone. 

No, I haven’t supported you the way I wish I had! Regardless, I have a genuine a higher than conceivable admiration for you. You are my heroes and once again, I salute you!

Gallaudet faculty, I know that casting the votes the way you was painful. Some of you are not tenured and have risked their teaching job. History will show that your support proved critical to this outcome. I have always admired and respected teachers, even when we don’t agree on certain things. However, the beauty of this is that we agree to disagree. Thank you so very much for your historic and powerful VOTES!

Gallaudet Alumni, you have, once again proven that you love your Alma Mater and that whenever you are called to duty, you will always respond massively. I cannot name you but I know you know what I mean. You have all given what you could give. You have used the means you could use, sometimes risking and accepting to lose “friends.” I know you’ll pass this torch to future generations of Gallaudet alumni.

Jeff Rosen, the power in silence. Your support for these students especially during the critical week following now historic 13/10 will be remembered for years to come. I know it wasn’t easy for you. I know it wasn’t easy for your sister either, given that your active involvement, be it just humanitarian, could have been construed as being in response to your beautiful and beloved–and missed–mother, Dr. Rosen’s rejection by a group apparent dominated by the king for once ordered her sacking. From the bottom of my heart, I want to say, simply, very simply, thank you!

Gallaudet staff, oh poor friends! I know many of your have thrown in their towels. What a bravery! Knowing that tomorrow, you might be sacked for having dared to say a word! Whether you supported this fight openly, used fake names for fear of retaliation, your support has paid off. I do salute you all!

Now, let me call our attention on a few critical points.

Victory is Gallaudet’s: I know I have given you bouquets of roses for all your wonderful, heroic fight. So, now pointing out that victory is Gallaudet’s might seem odd. No, it isn’t off and let me explain why. History is replete with facts showing chaos followed victories. Why? Though reasons might vary, I do sincerely think that the most obvious justification is poor or ineffective management of victories. A victory always calls for more focus, more attention. More importantly, victories won through this kind of struggle calls for magnanimity, the ability to forgive without forgetting, the ability to build consensus, unite forces—even antagonistic ones.

Effectively managing victory requires that we adopt a unifying attitude. It requires strong character. It requires that you not view yesterday’s opponents as today’s enemies today. Even though yesterday’s opponents may continue to belittle you, hate you, despise you, show them grandeur! if you reciprocate, you are going to contradict yesterday’s message and the core purpose of the fight, which was and is to SAVE Gallaudet from an oppressive and dysfunctional leadership.

In view of the preceding, I dare call upon each of us, to please declare that this victory is Gallaudet and Gallaudet’s future. It is not the students’. It is not the faculty’s. It is not the staff’. It doesn’t belong to alumni. It s Gallaudet’s victory. The victory is Gallaudet’s.

However, trying to aim for incremental-ism might prove fatal. So much is needed. Here are some of the things I expect to see happen:

  1. The Presidential Term Limit: I wrote last Spring or summer during phase one of this struggle, that allowing an individual–a single individual to rule for almost 20 years was an absurdity. It is an academic aberration, it is academania and pure academentia. Gallaudet is not a monarchy. It is not a Third World tradition chiefdom. It is not Idi Amin Dada‘s Uganda or Jean Bodel Bokassa (AKA Papa Bok)’s Central African Republic (these two renegades rulers made themselves life president). Until death do us part should never be encountered on any college campus. If such thing were to happen, or existed in academia, they should never be tolerated on any campus of an American university! Let’s all unite forces to work with the BoTs and show them the high value of LIMITING the president’s term. So doing would have obvious benefits.
    • Limiting presidential term would if not eliminate, at least significantly minimize the risks of a second Competent President Now (CPN). We don’t want to turn Gallaudet into a potentially deadly volcano!
    • Limiting presidential term would eliminate deification and/or iconization of the one in office. Once someone is iconized, excesses follow because people become consciously or unconsciously conditioned to always follow like Panurge’s goats.
    • Limiting presidential term would improve accountability This is even more true IF the university’s By-laws are subsequently updated to include a clause that allows the outgoing president to bid. for a second term. However, each the outgoing president is allowed to run again, then the term should be reduced to 5 years. In the event that the outgoing president is not allowed to bid for a second term, then the term should be 6 year or 7 at a maximum.
  2. Shared Governance: While DPN did not necessarily result from a lack of shared governance, the current fight is a result of it. The BoTs should update and streamline the By-Laws and clearly spell out core principles of shared governance. In fact, because Gallaudet is an institution of higher learner, shared governance is a sine qua condition without it education–effective teaching and learning cannot happen. never again shall the president of Gallaudet dictate his/her will on faculty, students, the BoTs and staff. Never again should the president impose his/her choice of a key senior administrator to the campus community. Shared governance means that students, the core stakeholders, faculty, staff and whenever necessary alumni, are consulted. There are alumni who have significant know how in various (e.g., IT, law, teaching) who can provide Gallaudet with significant, cost effective or sometime free consultancy. Gallaudet needs to learn to trust its own graduates. If you don’t trust us, don’t expect others to do so! Shared governance also means that students, faculty, staff and alumni are represented on the Gallaudet BoTs.
  3. Inclusion: Let’s be clear and honest with ourselves. There are events beyond our controls. Dynamic societal changes will happen, whether we want it or not. Technology will continue to change with unfathomable speed and unprecedented awe. These changes will continue o affect our life, including our hearing and vision. If we wear eye glasses to see, when we go to our eye doctor with a vision issue, and receive a prescription for a pair of reading glasses, why should any other technology be viewed as taboo? If we want freedom, let’s be willing to accept that others’ including parents, make freely make decisions that affect their life and/or the lives of their offspring. Fighting lost battles is akin trying to catch the win, or write on water.
  4. Diversity: The outgoing administration has constantly turned diversity into diversitism. It has even used diversity to divide. Let’s work with the new administration, interim or permanent, to ensure that real and effective diversity initiatives are implemented.
  5. Audism/Racism: The BoTs must develop anti racism and anti-audistic policies. For instance, it is unacceptable for a hearing person to throw a massive, destructive insult onto the deaf community and still keep their job. For a hearing administrator to throw in the face of a deaf professional that “technology is nit for deaf people should be asked to leave the university. This kind of insult is tantamount to moral assassination. It is like a white faculty telling a student of color that: “college education is not for people of color.” I repeat, anyone guilty of such massive offense (character holocaust) should be immediately fired.
  6. The Need for an Independent Auditing Office: I have been at Gallaudet and need not attend a day long workshop at Gallaudet to know what the reality is. Gallaudet Internal auditor simply has no authority to do the job! Make no mistake! The current director of Audit didn’t tell me nothing. I have been at Gallaudet an have first hand experience. For the university’s auditor to do the job effectively and serve the Gallaudet stakeholders well, this position must be empowered. It must report to the BoTs, NOT even the president. The auditor should nit be expected to audit the little guy, the line manager. The auditor must have the authority to audit the university, from the president to the janitorial staff! Had Having an empowered audit as a senior administrator yield results. One obvious benefits is that it will have a deterrent role. We all know the complaints from the ousted former police chief. Had Gallaudet had an empowered auditor, and an integrity office, such complaints and many other could have been investigated, and I dare have the audacity to say that, actions that triggered them could have been avoided. Additionally, unfair hiring and firing practices could have been avoided. Mind you, the University administration must thank God, for these cases could have cost Gallaudet millions of dollars in damage and compensation had the victims chosen a legal route.

These are my $0.00000 cents. The BoTs has allowed a dysfunctional system to exist for decades. It is time it fixed the situation. It is time it took the steps in the direction of building modern, future-oriented structure. You cannot cannot to let Gallaudet stand solidly on the 21st century while functioning in the 20th century!

Poppi

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