Saturday, October 14, 2006

What an unforgettable image!

Tim Rarus, the DPN student leader from 1988, hangs limply, dressed for the office, not jail, as three security officers carry him away
(Image of Tim Rarus being arrested borrowed from

This has been the strangest Friday the 13th so far, and one for the deaf history books.

135 people voluntarily got arrested for protesting Jane K. Fernandes (JKF)'s nomination before the student leaders called an end at 2 AM. The announcement of the arrests started 7 PM and arrests started at 9 PM. That is 5 hours of arrests, in the biting dry fall cold last night.

My fist kept going up and pumping itself in a cheer while reading the reports last night. Such courage. I have had to take a crash course in Gallaudet politics since this started, and I'm still hunting for my cliff notes. Ah, here they are.

Most of the arrested were students. Gallaudet has an enrollment of 1,100 students this year (significantly down from my era). That's over 10% of the student body at a rough guess.

Last May, soon after Fernandes was named, the faculty passed a no-confidence vote with a 70% majority. Current estimates indicate that half or more of the student body are actively in favor of or supporting the protest directly. Alumni are also a strong force. Even the National Association of the Deaf has expressed grave concern over the situation at Gallaudet.

Common sense says that no person can strongarm herself into a leadership role like this without seriously injuring the institution she is meant to lead-- LEAD, not rule.

Each action she (JKF) in fact has taken since May has actually added fuel to the protest, except for two: She resigned as provost, and Michael Moore talked to the students as the interim provost. However, that grand gesture from the administration to lend somebody to talk to the students came too late, after the pepper-spraying of students by campus security.

What are we, a plague of pestilient grasshoppers to be sprayed with Raid?

I wish she would consider this: what is she going to do at her inauguration? Be sworn in at an undisclosed location? Pepper-spray the whole university? Arrest all the students as often as possible? Have them attend classes from jail?

We will never quit.

No comments: