CNN Interviews Dr. Davila [text transcript]

PHILLIPS: Straight ahead, a bridge over troubled waters. A renowned educator comes out of retirement to restore calm at Gallaudet University. Dr. Bob Davila joins us live next in the NEWSROOM.

Dr. Davila

PHILLIPS: Not all the big changes in Washington this week are in government: a new interim president took over at Gallaudet University after a year of campus protests.


PHILLIPS (voice-over): Gallaudet is the only university specifically designed to accommodate deaf and hard of hearing students. But it went 124 years without a deaf president. That finally changed in 1988, but not without a fight.

When the Gallaudet board of trustees selected yet another hearing president, that year, students, faculty and alumni revolted and formed a movement called deaf president now. It worked. And Gallaudet soon had its first deaf president, I. King Jordan.

I. KING JORDAN, GALLAUDET PRESIDENT: I am thrilled to accept the invitation on the board of trustees to become the president of Gallaudet University.

PHILLIPS: That 1988 victory has never been forgotten on the Gallaudet campus. And it took on new significance last spring when the time came to choose a successor to Jordan.

The trustees selected Gallaudet’s provost, Jane Fernandes. She was not a popular selection. The reason why is a matter of dispute. Fernandes is deaf, but she had a different background from many members of the Gallaudet community.

JANE FERNANDES, GALLAUDET PRESIDENT-DESIGNATE: I had attended a public school, not a school for the deaf. I had gone to a college other than one that was for deaf people. And I didn’t learn to sign and really met deaf people who did sign until I was 22 years of age. So my emergence into American sign language and culture came later in my life.

PHILLIPS: Some Fernandes supporters claim she simply wasn’t deaf enough for her campus critics. Her critics deny that. They argued that Fernandes was an autocratic provost, insufficiently supportive of students or faculty. Continue reading “CNN Interviews Dr. Davila [text transcript]”

Jordan Leaves Gallaudet With Painful Goodbye

Former President’s Legacy May Not Reflect His Tenure

By Susan Kinzie
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, January 8, 2007; B01

When I. King Jordan announced in fall 2005 to a hushed and expectant crowd at Gallaudet University that he would step down as president of the school for the deaf, people gasped. Many burst into tears. Dozens stood in line to thank him or to sign “I love you.”

That was then.

In the past year, he has faced an onslaught of protests over his support for an unpopular would-be successor, including effigies, a faculty no-confidence vote, insults and accusations, some lingering bitterly through the end of his term Dec. 31.

Jordan in 1988

At Gallaudet, for going on two decades, Jordan’s presidency inspired an intensity of feeling hard to imagine on any other campus. He came in as a hero, a charismatic spokesman who told the world, deaf and hearing, how much was attainable.

It has been a painful goodbye.

Jordan has said many times that the school changed his life, starting when he was a young man stricken deaf in a motorcycle accident who found an education, hope and purpose at Gallaudet. How he changed the private university as its leader is still up for debate.

Nearly everyone agrees that he beautified the historic campus in Northeast Washington, raised its profile and strengthened its relations with Congress. But in a wrenching final year, critics harshly questioned everything from race relations to academic integrity to the school’s relevance.

Robert Davila, who began as interim president this week, takes on a troubled university.

Time will tell whether the controversy that flared up over Jordan’s potential successor is soon forgotten or remains to redefine his legacy. One thing is certain: His tenure ended as explosively as it began. Continue reading “Jordan Leaves Gallaudet With Painful Goodbye”

Text Transcript and Videos : Dr. Davila / Welcome Back

President Davila shares his plans with the campus community

Choose your video version:

[Text Transcript of Video Message follows- thanks to Brian Riley for providing the transcript]

Hello, and welcome back to the campus. I hope that you and your families had a really pleasant holiday and that you are rested, because we really have a lot of things that we need to do together, and I would like to share some points and ideas with you, and tell you a little bit about what my plans are for the next few weeks and what our priorities will be.

After the announcement of my appointment as the 9th President last month, I knew that there were many things to be done, so I needed to come here [to the campus] to study and learn. There were many individuals that I needed to speak with here, and groups that I needed to talk to and exchange ideas with. So I’ve been here for a few weeks now, and I feel comfortable with my level of understanding about the issues and problems that we must work on, and I’m looking forward to the next 18 to 24 months. Continue reading “Text Transcript and Videos : Dr. Davila / Welcome Back”