Gallaudet Protest Legal Issues

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Friday, November 01, 2013

Excerpt from an e-mail to Lewis Perry, regarding his book: Civil Disobedience–An American Tradition (Nov. 1, 2013)

I feel somewhat excited that you featured the 2006 Unity for Gallaudet (UFG) protest in such a prominent way in the beginning of your new book on civil disobedience, so I don't mean to be overly critical. Just putting us front and center like that feels very satisfying, and so my subsequent thoughts of a critical-negative nature are something that I hope you take as being secondary.

That being said, I feel you missed out on some very important points of contextualization. The first major point is that we UFG protesters did not perceive our protest in 2006 as being substantially different from the 1988 Deaf President Now (DPN) protest, in terms of its ultimate import and purpose. I think you are wrongly interpreting the events in a too-shallow fashion by categorizing the two protests as being primarily related to campus politics and on top of that by classifying the 1988 and 2006 protests as being fundamentally different in purpose. Campus politics is not the fundamental context at all.  The fundamental context is one of Gallaudet University being a cultural institution as part of Deaf culture. Gallaudet, in fact, plays a large role in creating Deaf culture. So the larger, more fundamental context for both the 1988 and 2006 protests involves the theme of self-determination on the part of Deaf people (i.e., deaf people who use a natural sign language in the US).  If you don't grasp the meaning or reality of Deaf culture, and feel the need to put it in quotes as something to be disputed, then you're not going to grasp the significance of what I am saying here. To learn more, you should read: The People of the Eye–Deaf Ethnicity and Ancestry, by Harlan Lane, Richard C. Pillard and Ulf Hedberg.

So it is not correct to criticize us 2006 protesters for supposedly not giving a sufficient theoretical justification to the public for what we were doing, precisely because we perceived the 2006 protest as being a continuation and necessary follow-up of the 1988 protest. The very first speech given during the 2006 protest was given by Tawny Holmes at the front gate on May 1, 2006, and she rallied the crowd by signing "Better President Now! Better President Now!" In the first days of the 2006 protest, many were referring to it as "DPN 2", i.e., meaning: DPN Part 2. In that sense, everything that was presented in 1988, ipso facto, carried over to the 2006 protest as justification for it as well (including all the formal lessons given to the 1988 student protest leaders in their government class, which was taught by Mary Malzkuhn and is well documented).

For my part, I participated in the 1988 protest as well. Before we knew we had achieved victory on that Sunday (March 13, 1988), we were planning a major march on the Lincoln memorial for Tuesday, March 15, 1988, in part because of that being the location of King's famous I Have a Dream speech. I myself had put together a flyer quoting major portions of the speech and we had run off hundreds of photocopies. We didn't need to use them or have that march, because we won the protest and it became unnecessary. Later, in 2006, I personally took it for granted that it was understood by most protesters that there was a connection between the Black Civil Rights Movement (including the famous lunch counter sit-ins/sit-downs, etc.) and the 1988 and 2006 protests at Gallaudet. In 1988, after the protest, I myself had written a long, two-part article that was titled "Deaf Civil Rights" to emphasize this connection.

Another very important point that you are missing is that the Gallaudet community is a bilingual community and ASL is not a written language. So it's simply not accurate to take a survey of things published in English and then claim there was little or no presentation of theoretical justification for the civil disobedience in 2006. What you were reading in the blogs, though abundant in the number of words, was actually just a tiny tip of the metaphorical iceberg of all that was communicated in total. Obviously, 99% of what was communicated in ASL was not recorded in any permanent form. We did, in fact, have theoretical discussions of civil disobedience. Suzy Rosen Singleton, a UFG protester who herself is an attorney, in fact gave lessons to protesters on the nature of civil disobedience and techniques on how to "go limp", and so forth, when being arrested. This was just before Black Friday. That's only just one example. I'm sure there are many more.

I better stop now, but I hope this brief note helps you to gain a deeper appreciation of the historical context involved.  By the way, as a PhD student at UC Davis, I was also a protest organizer during the Occupy UC Davis movement in 2011 and also played a pivotal role during the Pepper Spray Incident as to what transpired, so I am bringing a long perspective and a lot of experience to what I say here. I completed my master's in linguistics at Gallaudet in 1987, then enrolled in a PhD program at UC Davis in 2008.

You might be interested to know that Tawny herself just completed law school and has already written about the Unity for Gallaudet protest. [LINK]

I should mention that I am simplifying the social situation involving deaf people for the purposes of this e-mail. Just to give you a brief idea of the complexities involved, think of culturally Deaf people (those who use sign language) as being the "core" of a larger group that includes those hard of hearing people who lean more toward speaking, and some deaf people who rely less on sign language and more on lipreading. I myself am part of an unusual category of people who have experienced a vocational hearing injury who can sign fluently, doubly complicated in my case from having longstanding hearing "endurance" issues from childhood.

Thanks for reading.



"Justice for Gallaudet" (Oct. 11, 2006) [LINK]
"Jordan Poised to Make Worst Mistake of His Life" (Oct. 13, 2006) [LINK]
"Manifesto" (Oct. 16, 2006) by DPN student leaders  [LINK]

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Here is the old erroneous definition of American Sign Language that used to be included in the University Faculty Guidelines at Gallaudet

To see Ryan Commerson's video commentary on this old policy, please go here:

NOTE: This policy was officially revoked and replaced with a new policy on April 30, 2007. See the UPDATE below.


Page 3 of the University Faculty Guidelines (May 2006)

2.2 Policy Concerning Communication

The University Faculty Recognizes that the Gallaudet academic community includes persons who depend on a variety of communication modes and that a major purpose of instruction is the communication of information and ideas. Gallaudet's mission, as a unique educational institution, is inextricably bound to the need for accessible and direct communication among students, faculty, and staff. Historically, the university has integrated sign language into its educational programs. The University Faculty is now committed to a working model of a bilingual (American Sign Language and English) multi-cultural community where deaf, hard of hearing, and hearing people can learn and work together without communication barriers. The centrality of communication at Gallaudet permeates all programs and services. Accessible communication is the right of all members of the Gallaudet community and the people served. The university faculty encourages the learning and clear use of American Sign Language and English in all aspects of university life to meet the needs of the individuals served. To facilitate meaningful visual communication, the Faculty is expected to use clear sign communication, with or without voice in the classroom, in faculty meetings, and in meetings of like nature, as well as when communicating with individual students. The term American Sign Language is to be used in an all-inclusive sense and includes signs expressed in English word order, with or without voice--in much the same way many deaf and hard-of-hearing people communicate among themselves and with hearing people.

UPDATE, May 12, 2007

The old policy was officially revoked by the Gallaudet Faculty Senate and a new policy was officially approved on April 30, 2007. Here is the new policy:


2.2 Policy Concerning Communication

The University Faculty recognizes that our community is comprised of deaf, hard of hearing, and hearing individuals who depend on a variety of communication modalities. Gallaudet’s mission as a unique educational institution is inextricably bound to the need for direct, comprehensible and accessible communication among students and faculty. To that end, all members of the University Faculty are committed to promoting bilingual (American Sign Language and Written English) communication. The University is committed to providing training and resources, as needed, to support all members of the Faculty in developing the necessary language skills.

This policy is not prescriptive, allowing considerable latitude with regard to acceptable communication on campus; the only restrictions are that the communication be direct, comprehensible and accessible.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Installation speech of Gallaudet President Robert R. Davila

This has truly been a wonderful experience. I'm at a loss for words. But I know I can't escape without giving you a few. I just want to tell you that I stand here today, humbled and honored. I accept both the honor you have bestowed upon me and the enormous responsibility to be the steward, the leader of our great university. I thank the students, faculty, and staff for their warm welcome and introduction.

I share much in common with students and the faculty and staff who are here. I thank the Board of Trustees for their continuing support and encouragement. Without all of this support from the community that I am now leading, I would not succeed. And I hope we can continue to support one another and stick with our mission. I consider this maybe the toughest job and the greatest responsibility that I've ever accepted. But my experience in the last four months has taught me that this community, of which you are all members and that we all share responsibility for, can do anything when we put our minds to it. And in no time more than today, 2007, have we really needed this kind of united responsibility.

Truly, the students who come here to study deserve nothing but the best possible education that we can give them. And that's truly the fundamental purpose of our university. This university has proven time and time again over the years that it can do wonderful service for individuals and helping to shape their lives in a way that students deserve and that will carry them throughout their lives.

Just a small example: On Sunday I spoke to a gathering in Connecticut. It was a chapter of the GUAA--the Alumni Association. And I stood up on a raised platform, as I am doing now, and gave an address. There were about 150 people, all dressed in their finery. It was a beautiful audience to speak to. And during the middle of the speech, I was looking at the audience and the thought struck me. I thought: Wow, look here. These are people who've had success in their lives--mothers and fathers, homeowners, professionals, a few lawyers, a few chemists, people from the technology fields--a few teachers--people from a variety of professions.

It reminded me that when I was a young man, when I was ready to leave college, people did not have opportunities to have those kinds of jobs. That's progress that we've made since then, and we have to credit this great university and the people within it for that success and the success that deaf people have made over the years.

I thank God that I'm still young enough to have benefited from those opportunities, and now old enough to appreciate what will be for others. It's truly wonderful. We love this university. There's no other reason I would have wanted to come here to work after I was fully retired. I would have stayed in retirement, but the only reason I could fathom, or imagine, to be called to come out of retirement would be to come to work and help.

Again, like I said. I can't do this alone. It's a responsibility that all of us share for the future and for our community's sake, and the competition we face with the development of global economy and technology that influences how people live and work and learn all over the world. We have a greater responsibility than ever before to be sure that we provide students the preparation, the education, the knowledge and the tools that are needed to succeed and be competitive.

And so what we do here on campus for our people levels the playing field for them for when they leave college. And that responsibility will never change. In fact, the responsibility for us who remain concerns our knowledge and expertise in different fields and will increase as time goes by.

I'm really proud to be called to be a leader of this university. I feel humbled with this responsibility, but I'm encouraged by the experiences I've had in the last four months that we have wonderful people here on this campus, people willing to work, willing to sacrifice, willing to do everything possible to keep us No. 1 in the field of work that we do.

So I accept this responsibility, and I accept the mission of the university to prepare young people for the larger competitive society that they will enter sometime later. We really wish to do the best for them and we have demonstrated that we are capable of doing that. That will never change.

I want to thank you for asking me to be your leader. I accept that responsibility. I cherish that responsibility. I'll do everything I can, and I'll be calling on you all, because together we can't lose.

Thank you very much for this wonderful opportunity, ladies and gentlemen! [Cheers and visual applause]. And thanks go to the Board for their continuing support. And, of course, I want to thank my family for giving me so much of themselves.

Thank you very much.

[Standing ovation]

[End of translation of speech]


CLICK HERE to read previous posts of the Gallaudet Protest Legal Issues blog.

BREAKING NEWS--Congresswoman Norton compares UFG to American Revolution of 1776

Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton today spoke of the Unity for Gallaudet protest of 2006 as a "student uprising" and a "revolution" at the Installation of Robert R. Davila as Gallaudet's Ninth President:



Students probably regard the uprising of 2006 as their revolution, yet they and all of us who love Gallaudet and who read history know all too well that revolutions do not always bring the changes that are promised.


Congresswoman Norton then went on to compare the Unity for Gallaudet protest to the American Revolution of 1776, saying: "...we are still trying to realize some of its major promises," in reference to the fact that the American Revolution of 1776 was fought over the issue of democratic representation, and that citizens of the District of Columbia, including Gallaudet student residents of DC, are still today denied full representation in the US Congress.

Congresswoman Norton's comments have important implications for the future of Gallaudet, as the issue of the American Deaf Community involvement in Gallaudet's governance is raised. Many believe that members of Gallaudet's Board of Trustees should be elected by the alumni members of Gallaudet, or appointed in a more democratic fashion.

Currently the Education of the Deaf Act specifies that the Board members are empowered to select their own members. The Gallaudet University Alumni Association recently requested that the composition of the Gallaudet Board of Trustees be changed to incorporate a super majority of 75% of Gallaudet alumni members.

CLICK HERE to read Congresswoman Norton's speech.

CLICK HERE to read a translation of President Davila's Installation Speech.

CLICK HERE to read previous posts of the Gallaudet Protest Legal Issues blog.

Installation speech of Eleanor Holmes Norton


The following speech by Eleanor Holmes Norton will be remembered as a historic event in Gallaudet history and the history of the Unity for Gallaudet protest movement.

CLICK HERE to see the related breaking news bulletin of May 9, 2007

From Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton's speech at the the Installation of Gallaudet President Robert R. Davila:

...I'm here above all as a proud daughter of Gallaudet who proudly has an honorary degree from Gallaudet University. And I am here, and honored, at the Installation of President Robert Davila, which makes me think of a word usually reserved for graduations. The word is "commencement."

That word, of course, always has important meaning at graduation time, as it surely will this year on Friday, May the 11th, for the great--for the first graduation since the student rebellion of last year ended. But if "commencement" means the beginning for graduates who have just finished the vicissitudes of a college education, imagine what it must mean for President Davila. We look to our new President for [a] multitude of new beginnings, for students, faculty, staff, and for this great institution itself.

Students probably regard The Uprising of 2006 as their revolution, yet they and all of us who love Gallaudet and who read history know all too well that revolutions do not always bring the changes that are promised. Too few revolutions are remembered with the fondness of the American Revolution of 1776. And we are still trying to realize some of its major promises, not the least of them that the Revolution was fought because the Americans were denied representation.

May the slogan of that great revolution--a slogan that is honored and revered by Gallaudet students, who, when they are in the District of Columbia, qualify to vote wherever their residence may have been, are qualified to vote. So I say in their name as well: May the slogan of our great Revolution--"No taxation without representation"--come to life in the Nation's Capital this year, with the DC-Utah bill to give DC residents, including the residents of Gallaudet [University] a vote in the House of Representatives for the first time in 206 years.

[Visual applause]

I surely believe that under President Davila, Gallaudet will continue in the great tradition signified by the signing of your charter by Abraham Lincoln, as our country began to keep some of the promises inherent in our founding.

Like the United States when it was founded, Gallaudet is first of a kind, one of a kind, and a beacon to all the world. Here, all languages are welcome and possible, sign language, and every other language as well, including spoken English. And here, all are invited to communicate with another, deaf, hard-of-hearing, and hearing people. Would that that could be said in universities across the United States of America.

Your own story, Mr. President, is in keeping with the inspiring stories of many of Gallaudet's own students in this college here today. A little boy who had experienced the wonders of hearing, the sounds of music, and of nature, and the voices of his mother and father, becomes deaf at eight, and then, not even in puberty, goes alone, to Berkeley, for his first formal education, denied his parents, as poor farm workers. Could those parents, or even you, Mr. President, have envisioned that this child would become president of a major university that is recognized and admired the world over?

You own character, grit, and many or your personal characteristics account for your success. I think that you would concede, however, Mr. President, that even your gifts could not have been offered here and elsewhere without the gift of education that you yourself received. Today, we need to educate each and every deaf and hard-of-hearing person with the desire to go to college. No less than our place in the world depends upon leaving no willing mind untrained.

Demographers warn about ominous signs that we may be peaking in college attendance just as we need quickly to surge, to double and triple our college rates to compete with the very ambitious Chinese and Indians and Japanese and Asians who are exporting their college-trained people just to help us keep ahead. We have the most educated work force in the world today, to be sure, because almost 85% have a high school diploma, up from 25% in 1940, and 28% have a college degree--a five-fold increase.

However, a high school education will not keep us competitive in a global and technological economy. And predictions are that growing numbers of poor, and poorly educated people, meaning that high school and college attendance, could even decline somewhat. This, of course, because the highly educated and very numerous Baby Boom generation is retiring.

As we stare these demographic predictors in the face, there is a premium on Gallaudet and all that it can offer. Your students will graduate not in the century of the telephone, but of the computer. They will go to work in an economy where people communicate digitally, not vocally, where the brain and what it can do counts, not old modes of communication. Today and tomorrow we will type it and e-mail it and use other short-hand and fast digital modes of interoperable communication, and the language is not likely to be English and French, but computer languages, such as C++, [Visual C+++], Java, Pearl and [HTML].

This means that Gallaudet's emphasis on technology puts you already ahead of the game, the game that is galloping upon us. I have no doubt that if Gallaudet continues to keep looking forward, and does not look back, you will be even better positioned than most, in a world that is less interested in what spoken language you speak, than in what computer language you know.

I believe, Mr. President, that you are a perfect messenger to carry forward the Gallaudet revolution of students and faculty and all of us across the board. All have gathered around you. All love you. All are grateful that you have returned to an institution that has only had eight presidents in all its 143 years, and that you have already served so very sell. Who knows? Who could know the university and what it needs, better than a man who has taught here in the classroom of the elementary school and the high school, and nine years in the college itself?

Mr. President, you know Gallaudet as no president has ever known it, in all its iterations and at all its levels. Much is at stake, especially for an institution which depends on the Federal Government for two-thirds of its budget, and where many of us will look especially to you for what is done with the Kendall School and your secondary school. But your broad shoulders are ready-made for the task you have so generously agreed to make your own, Mr. President. It is a testament to your lifetime of work for the deaf and hard-of-hearing in education and as an administrator in the Department of Education. It is a testament to your lifetime of devotion to education that all have gathered around you, from student and faculty revolutionaries across the board and back again.

There can be no more deserved homecoming for you, Mr. President, and there could be no better sign that Gallaudet is on its way and challenging all the rest of higher education to catch up with this great American university. I bring you the congratulations, Mr. President, of the Congress of the United States.

[Standing ovation]

[End of transcript of speech excerpt]

VIDEO (fast-forward to 27:00 minutes to see speech):

CLICK HERE to read previous posts of the Gallaudet Protest Legal Issues blog.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Paul Kelly, Karen Kimmel and Carl Pramuk must go!

Paul Kelly, Karen Kimmel and Carl Pramuk must go!


The Protest will continue until Paul Kelly, Karen Kimmel and Carl Pramuk are gone from Gallaudet. There can be no compromise.

THREE reliable people witnessed Paul Kelly, on October 25, 2006, smiling (!) on the day he directed DPS officers and PPD employees to assault protesters by throwing plumbing hardware at their tents and by plowing into their tents with a bulldozer without checking to see if people were inside the tents.

Paul Kelly could possibly have been charged with at least some degree of attempted manslaughter. His actions were inexcusable. For him to then SMILE in the presence of these three reliable witnesses was more than an outrage. It shows him to be a villain who must be expelled from our midst who must never be allowed to return.

Gallaudet's enrollment statistics will never improve as long as Kelly remains on campus. The community will never accept this.

Here's how Paul Kelly's assault was
reported in the Washington Times.

(NOTE: Please see the continuation of this Commentary below.)

Gallaudet razes 'tent city' at gate
By Arlo Wagner
October 26, 2006

The protest over incoming Gallaudet University President Jane K. Fernandes became heated yesterday as school officials tried to reopen one of the gates that students had been blocking for more than two weeks and protesters tried to take over an administration building.

A large earth-mover scooped up tents that the protesters had set up near the Brentwood Road gate and the students' belongings before it started to lift a fired-up grill which protesters had been using to stay warm. Metropolitan Police and the D.C. fire department were called.

Four students were injured during the confrontation.

Graduate student Brian Morrison, 23, of Fremont, Calif., said he was injured when the steel gate was moved back and its wheels rolled over one of his toes.

"I was just standing there peacefully holding the gate with my arms and got injured doing so," he told the Associated Press.

Others suffered bruises and their clothing was torn.

Trevor Baldwin, 20, a sophomore from Indiana said the situation happened "very, very fast."

"They were throwing things at my tent ... They were very physical," he said, describing how officers pulled him off the metal gate.

Dexter Jones, 20, a sophomore from Florida, said he was standing next to a police car when an officer opened the door, bruising his leg and tearing his jeans.

"It became chaotic," said freshman Sean Stone, 18, of Phoenix, adding that a truck backed up against him. "There was no warning. Now we feel we cannot trust the system."


At least two protesters were sent to the emergency room on October 25, 2006, as a result of Paul Kelly's assault against peaceful protesters.

On the evening of May 1, 2006, the first day of the protest,
Elisa Abenchuchan reported the following in her blog:


And then I turned around and saw a math teacher, Dr. Zoltan Szekely, standing with us. He was expressing his support for us and saying that the faculty was not in favor of Jane. So I asked him if he would tell me the faculty's side and name him as a source, and he said he would. Here is what he told me:

A poll was taken of the faculty. 2/3 are not for Fernandes, only 1/3 support her.

Fernandes was appointed as Provost without the faculty's knowledge. They were surprised when she was picked by I. King Jordan, and they objected, but Jordan stood by his decision and the faculty couldn't do anything.

Then, during a break when all the faculty wasn't on campus, the Dean of CLAST, Karen Kimmel was appointed. They all came back to find her in power, and again they weren't happy, but they couldn't do anything. Their voices weren't being heard.

Then Kimmel, along with Fernandes, had a lot of power over the departments. They had to do what she wanted, and they were scared of being fired if they did not oblige.

As for the Math/Computer Science Department -- they failed some students from their classes and then Kimmel actually ordered them to pass those students. Again, the teachers obliged because they didn't want to lose their jobs.


The next day on May 2, 2006,
Elisa continued the reporting:


Erica Parker and Tawny Holmes stated some facts -- 2/3 of the faculty do not support Fernandes, some of them feel that they have a gun to their head with Fernandes and Karen Kimmel in power..

Erica pointed out a man in the audience holding a sign - it was Dr. Zoltan, holding up a sign that said something like Stop Babying Down Education.

Tawny said, some teachers lost their opportunity to get tenure, and their voices have been oppressed. She added, the Provost's responsibility is to work with academic issues.. but in the past 6 years with Fernandes as Provost, the ELI program has been struggling, international students have been frustrated with lack of support, the retention of students has not been good and not improving.

Tawny concluded that all these facts says a lot about Fernandes' work capabilities and the problem is more than just her personality.

A man said, BoT made this decision, let them come and explain this to us. He was told that they would be here next Thursday, but then Jordan stepped in and said that the BoT will NOT come.


How did Jordan know that the Board will not come? The answer is that Jordan was totally in charge of the Board. They were puppets.

Many of those same Board members are STILL on the Board today. It is expected that certain Board members STILL feel a sense of allegiance to Jordan and they are acting on his behalf. Jordan's main objective now must be to hold onto as much control of the Board as he possibly can, in order to prevent a full investigation being made of the misdeeds of his administration.

Dr. Davila has no control over whether Paul Kelly is fired. That decision belongs to the Board. They appointed him (Kelly) as Treasurer of Gallaudet, and only they, the Board, can remove him. Kelly's continued presence on campus can only be interpreted one way:

The Board wants him there to protect Jordan, because they fear that Jordan and Kelly's dirty laundry will be exposed to the public.

Karen Kimmel was one of the main agents of Jordan and Kelly's Management By Intimidation ("MBI") tactics. Faculty members felt that Fernandes and Kimmel were putting "a gun to their heads."

This is not an example of effective or proper handling of a dean's responsibilities. There is no excuse for Kimmel's continued presence on campus. She should have been dismissed long ago.

The November 9, 2006 article in the Washington Post called "A Conflict of Integrity Surfaces"--which is an article about Kimmel's outrageous tactics of intimidation against faculty members--is one of the main things that caught the attention of the Middle States accreditors.

Kimmel is a menace. She must go. There can be no compromise.

All throughout the protest, Carl Pramuk was
acting like a kapo, shadowing protesters around campus, conveying their movements to DPS with his pager, arranging for some to be expelled from campus and given persona non grata status for no valid reasons whatsoever.

As Tina Jo Breindel expressed so eloquently in her
Open Letter to Pramuk and Goldberg of December 1, 2006:


We have indicated that this a lesson in “listening” to our deaf warriors who cared about the very foundation that Gallaudet stood upon all these years.


Carl Pramuk didn't listen. He continued assisting the forces of oppression without remorse. We must now show no mercy to Carl Pramuk. His continued presence on the Gallaudet campus represents a continued threat to Gallaudet's future. He must go. There can be no compromise.

Carl Pramuk's misdeeds at Gallaudet go back many years, as
"Silent Screams" article in People magazine already revealed 13 years ago:

The Protest will continue until Paul Kelly, Karen Kimmel and Carl Pramuk are gone.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

ASL is not "Broken English"! (not even close!)

ASL is not "broken English." It is true that PSE is more like "broken English," because that's what happens in a pidginization process.

In a situation where the pidginization process occurs, there is linguistic contact between people who don't know each other's language, and they just know bits and pieces of the other language.

There is a stark contrast between ASL and PSE. ASL uses all the rich capabilities of three-dimensional space and the rules of grammar characteristic of a visual (signed) language. There is no deficiency there. It is a full-standing and beautiful linguistic phenomenon on its own. Most of its vocabulary is non-English based and evolved on its own, independently of English.

All languages in the world are interrelated and vocabulary words are borrowed from one to the other. When a word is borrowed from one language into another, it becomes re-lexicalized into that new language and no longer belongs to the former language where it came from.

Centuries ago, an educated person who was fluent in Latin might view Spanish, French, or Italian as being "broken Latin"---especially in a situation where almost all educated people used the Latin language as the lingua franca of educated discourse.

In those days, the "vulgar" languages (Spanish, French, Italian, etc.) were full languages in their own right, but they were being underused. The capability was there. There was nothing wrong with the Spanish, French, or Italian languages.

The temptation in those days would be to view Spanish, French and Italian as being deficient, due to their under utilization and the fact that educated people used Latin. But that would be a very wrong view and would be an example of linguistic chauvinism.

American Sign Language is a real and very beautiful language. There is nothing about ASL that resembles broken English. That mistaken view only occurs when people confuse PSE with ASL. The two are not the same. It was a mistaken view which was spread in the 20th Century in America, during a time when nativism and xenophobia occurred as a reaction to the large influx of immigrants into our country.
In the 1800's, Deaf people in America used ASL, but they didn't call it ASL. They called it "The Natural Language of Signs." They knew it was beautiful and something real in its own right. They even used the term "Language" in describing it. We even have films made between 1910 and 1920 showing people signing who were alive in those days, including Edward Miner Gallaudet himself, using the same type of sign language on camera that was used in the 1800's and that was called the "Natural Language of Signs." So the fact that they were using ASL in the 1800's in beyond dispute. It was a bona fide language back then, just as it is now.

The Conference of Milan of 1880 took place and in the early 1900's oralists took over control of deaf education in America. Hearing teachers of the deaf who had no familiarity with ASL would confuse PSE with ASL.

People looked at PSE and all they could see was broken English. But they were not looking at ASL, i.e., the real "Natural Language of Signs." They were looking at PSE, and so they had the wrong view that all sign language was "broken English." Even many deaf people themselves became confused about the issue.

Centuries ago, some writers who lived in Italy used the phrase the "new, sweet style" to refer to what we call "the Italian language" today. This is similar to the way ASL did not have a name in the 1800's and was called "The Natural Language of Signs."


The beginnings of Italian literature can be traced to the 13th century. The Italian language, one of the
Romance languages, has its origins in Latin as spoken during the later centuries of the Roman Empire. During the late 13th and early 14th centuries a group of poets and other writers began to use the “new, sweet style,” which they called the language they wrote in to distinguish it from Latin. Latin continued to be used by the church, the government, and business.

The three leading figures of the first flowering of Italian literature were Dante Alighieri, Petrarch, and Giovanni Boccaccio. Dante was the first to write in the Italian vernacular, and his symbolic poem, the
Divine Comedy, bridges the gap between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Petrarch was the first great lyric poet to use the Italian language. Boccaccio was the first to write what are now called short stories.


So we see that the Italian language is not "Broken Latin." Similarly, American Sign Language is definitely not "Broken English."

There is no resemblance whatsoever between ASL and broken English. Such a view represents a profound misunderstanding. It's a wrong view which leads to the oppression of deaf people and the development of incorrect and ineffective educational theories.

Now, with a proper view of the nature of ASL, Deaf people, along with hearing allies, can finally promote a better bilingual-bicultural education system. In fact, this was the educational system already being used in the 1800's at Gallaudet and in the residential schools that were being set up all over the United States, however they lacked the terminology and the full linguistic understanding of the situation and they did not call it "bilingual-bicultural," but that's what it was.

The situation is very similar to the situation where students in Italy centuries ago were taught in the "new, sweet style," which was actually the Italian language. Except in that situation, Latin was the parent language of Italian. Italian actually evolved directly from Latin over time, until it developed its own grammar which was distinct from Latin.

In the situation in America, ASL did not evolve from the English language, and ASL is in no way, shape, or form derived from English. ASL and English are actually very different languages, although some borrowing of vocabulary has occurred, which is typical of any language-contact situation.

CLICK HERE to read previous posts of the Gallaudet Protest Legal Issues blog.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Davila steers Gallaudet U. onto steady course

The memo below issued by Gallaudet President Robert Davila today represents extremely good news which shows that Gallaudet will soon be out of the troubled "reaffirmation of accreditation waters"--or actually already is out of those troubled waters and is now navigating a sure and steady course.

One sentence was clarified today by a member of the Davila administration who explained that the accreditors, in their recent exit interview, mentioned that Gallaudet, as an institution, needed to establish more and better contacts with other higher educational professional organizations. That's what Dr. Davila is referring to when he mentioned this, saying that they were concerned about "Gallaudet’s long history of isolation from the American higher education community." The statement is unrelated and has nothing to do with the utterly false claims of cultural bigots who attempt to disparage the cultural status of Gallaudetians and Deaf Americans.

The memo can be seen as being a wonderful first birthday present for FSSA, the Faculty, Staff, Student, Alumni Coalition, which was created on May 2, 2006 and whose members did so much to bring about the conditions which are allowing all these wonderful changes and improvements to be made.

What was once a sinking rowboat in 1856 that was rescued by Amos Kendall, and then in an amazingly short span of 1857 to 1864 was transformed by Edward and Sophia Gallaudet into a bona fide sailing vessel of higher education, will soon be sailing by for review again with all hands on deck, glistening under the bright yellow sun of enlightenment, engines running at full power, with civilians on shore marveling at the sight of the mighty ship passing before them.....


Office of the President

WASHINGTON, DC 20002-3695

May 2, 2007

Dear Alumni:

A visiting team from the Middle State Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) came to Gallaudet yesterday and today to discuss our supplemental information report submitted to the commission on April 3. The report responded to concerns of the MSCHE regarding the University’s re-accreditation, including: effectiveness of shared governance, a climate that fosters respect among all people, mission review, implementation of a comprehensive institutional strategic plan, development of a comprehensive enrollment management plan, and academic rigor.

While on campus, the team met with me, representatives of the Board of Trustees, the University Faculty Senate, the President’s Management Team, Academic Affairs Unit Administrators, the Committee on Bilingualism, and the six working teams of my President’s Agenda for a Better Gallaudet University. The team also held open meetings for students, faculty, and staff to share input and ask questions. I sincerely thank everyone who devoted their time and effort to this visit by the MSCHE. I was especially impressed with the dialogue between our students and the members of the team. Your commitment during this challenging time was recognized by the team during its exit report to the community. During the exit report, the MSCHE team commended us for the preparation of the supplemental information report and progress we have made toward addressing the concerns raised by MSCHE since its last visit in January. It was noted that from this report and from their meetings with various campus constituencies that Gallaudet is moving in the right direction, and that many people spoke highly of an improving climate with much better communication. The team also mentioned that a great deal of healing has taken place, and commented that this could not have happened without much hard work.

However, the team expressed its concern over what it sees as Gallaudet’s long history of isolation from the American higher education community. It was also disappointed in what it called a lack of documented evidence of accountability—particularly in a time when the federal government has increasingly high expectations for institutions of higher learning. The team added that Gallaudet has not produced compelling evidence that the University is in full compliance with commission standards, but at the same time, it said that this is understandable, recognizing that the past six months have been a tumultuous time for the University.

The team mentioned something that struck me in a profound way. It said that Gallaudet is on a long and difficult journey, and it is this comment that I want to emphasize to you. We can take advantage of this “journey” by working together to make Gallaudet emerge stronger and more vibrant than ever. The strength of Gallaudet University is based on a foundation that is almost 150 years old, solidified by the unity of the deaf community. It is a treasure, a center of learning, research, culture, and empowerment that, unfortunately, many deaf people around the world can only dream of attending. Now, as always, Gallaudet is defined by the strength and determination of its people. This is a fact that the MSCHE team recognizes. Pointing to the considerable talents of the Gallaudet community, the team said it feels that the University is capable of demonstrating full compliance with the Middle States’ standards. As an alumnus who used a Gallaudet education to attain opportunities, I emphatically agree. My expectations for my alma mater are very high, and I’m sure yours are, as well.

We are now facing a timeline that is very tight and which will require engagement from all areas of the campus. The MSCHE team is proposing a two-year timeline beginning on the calendar date that non-compliance was determined. In our case, the two-year timeline started in November 2006, following the campus closing during the protest. We must sustain the high degree of volunteerism and involvement that now characterizes campus life for faculty, staff, teachers, and students. I urge everyone to join me on this journey and help Gallaudet meet this challenge.

Bob Davila

CLICK HERE to read previous posts of the Gallaudet Protest Legal Issues blog.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

The dramatic and historic events of May 1, 2006

Exactly one year ago today at approximately 2:30 pm, May 1, 2006, an assembly was held in the Swindells Auditorium on the Gallaudet University campus.

THIS VIDEO taken by Gallaudet student Tommy Korn, shows the historic event.

Here is a transcript of the audio track:

BOARD CHAIR CELIA MAY BALDWIN (voice of interpreter): The Board came to a unanimous decision. We presented an offer to this individual. The entire Board is in support of that offer. The offer *was* accepted this morning. And so it is with great pleasure that I announce to you the ninth president of this university will be.... Doctor... Jane... Fernandes...

Scattered applause. Loud jeers and boos

Celia May Baldwin turns her head, inviting individuals off stage to walk onto the stage, while Ryan Commerson walks down the center aisle of the auditorium toward the front so that deaf audience members can see his signs.

The interpreter interprets Celia May Baldwin's comments made to people (Board members) off stage.

BALDWIN: Please join me in giving her a warm welcome, to President-Elect Jane Fernandes...


BALDWIN: ... [unintelligible] to the stage.

Upon reaching the the area near the front, Ryan Commerson manages to make a very brief announcement, saying that all those people who disagreed with the decision should leave the auditorium. Only about 5 or 6 people rise to give a standing ovation, per Jordan's hand-wave signal to his supporters. Others rise to prepare to walk out. Several students are shown walking out, apparently in disgust.

Just as Ryan Commerson arrived in place in front of the podium, Irving King Jordan, Jr was seen signaling campus police officer Patrick Rader who was in the back of the auditorium. Jordan walks calmly down the steps of of the stage toward Ryan Commerson, while Patrick Rader rushes down the aisle and apprehends Ryan Commerson, manhandles him, and forces him out to the lobby.

[End Tommy Korn video]

THIS VIDEO uploaded to by Elisa Abenchuchan on May 1, 2006 shows Gallaudet alumna and former Student Body President Tawny Holmes making the first speech of the then-unnamed protest. By this time, at approximately 3:00 to 3:15 pm, Tawny Holmes motivated the crowd by chanting in sign: "Better president now! Better president now! Better president now!...."

THIS POST by Elisa Abenchuchan gives a dramatic account of how the events of the day unfolded...

THIS POST by Elisa was written and posted later that evening.

THIS POST by Elisa was posted in the morning of May 2, 2006.

THIS POST by Elisa was posted in the mid-afternoon of May 2, 2006.


For the convenience of media personnel wanting a printout to take out to the field, please CLICK HERE to download and printout a PDF version of this press release, including the four historic posts from Elisa's Xanga blog. ( does not offer a print feature.)

[Small edits: Sept. 21, 2018]

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Davila Administration Violated Privacy Law
Note: After this press release (this post below) came out, Dr. Davila mentioned to the community on a video blog that the Board of Trustees appointed Paul Kelly as Treasurer of Gallaudet. Therefore (though Dr. Davila left this to implication) only the Board can terminate Paul Kelly's employment.

The Davila administration violated the rights of a former Gallaudet employee Tuesday by releasing confidential information obtained from his or her personnel records. The information was released by Gallaudet administrator Slemo Warigon, who distributed the information on the Internet via a listserv which is nominally owned by him.

Slemo Warigon works under the supervision of Gallaudet Vice President Paul Kelly. The information Warigon released could not have been obtained without either Paul Kelly's tacit or explicit cooperation.

Here is the text of an e-mail that contains confidential information that was released by Paul Kelly and Slemo Warigon on Tuesday. "Woodward Bernstein" is a pseudonym that was created on Sunday, April 22, 2007. (The name of the former Gallaudet employee is being withheld in this press release):

Date: Tue, 24 Apr 2007 15:55:21 -0700 (PDT)
From: Woodward Bernstein
To: Gallynet Discussion Group
Subject: [GallyNet-L] The Real [Name withheld in this press release] Story


1. [Name withheld in this press release] was a librarian at MSSD.

2. When [he/she] was a librarian, there was a restructuring of Pre-College National Mission Programs to more effectively fulfill its national mission to raise the achievement of deaf and hard of hearing students throughout the nation and to satisfy government concerns.

3. In the restructuring, [Name withheld in this press release] was laid off as a librarian. The reason [he/she] was laid off as a librarian was because the number of librarians at MSSD vis-a-vis the number of enrolled students was too high. And the enrollment of students was getting smaller each year.

4.[Name withheld in this press release] was laid off as a librarian but given the chance to have another job and continue working.

5. Based on [his/her] skills and the needs of Pre-College National Mission Programs, [Name withheld in this press release] was matched with a position in the new structure as a Senior Information Specialist. Pre-College had a need give priority to disseminating information about best practices in deaf education nationwide. [Name withheld in this press release]'s skills and experience were a perfect match for this position. If [he/she] had accepted the position, [he/she] would have been an asset to the program and a strong advocate for deaf and hard of hearing students. What's more, there would have been no change in [his/her] pay. However, [Name withheld in this press release] did not like this change apparently. Whatever the reason:

6. [Name withheld in this press release] voluntarily elected to retire on a disability with a bit more than 27 years of service. You cannot retire on disability unless you make a request to do so. [He/she] made a formal request to the university that [he/she] be allowed to retire on disabilty [sic]. It was granted to [him/her]. People on disability retirement receive 65% of their regular pay -- which is more than people receive in a regular retirement in the FERS retirement system.


Mr. Askia Johnson, who is an official who works for the District of Columbia Department of Employment Services, explained that the legal issue involved is one known as a "tort invasion of privacy." Employees who have their privacy rights violated in the District of Columbia would bring a civil suit against the employer and claim damages.

One official contacted who works for the Federal Trade Commission expressed astonishment that an employee's personal medical information would be posted on the Internet in such a manner by an employer, and he commented that he had never heard of such an egregious violation of an employee's rights occurring before. The Federal Trade Commission is involved in monitoring issues of privacy rights and the Internet and they are empowered by federal law to take action on behalf of classes, or groups of citizens.

Complaints against Paul Kelly and Gallaudet University may be filed on the Web site of the Federal Trade Commission at this link:$.startup?Z_ORG_CODE=PU01

An example form which has Gallaudet's information listed can be viewed or printed out at this link:

Slemo Warigon holds CISA certification with the Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA). As a certified member of ISACA, he is obliged to follow the following Code of Ethics:

From the

Code of Professional Ethics
ISACA® sets forth this Code of Professional Ethics to guide the professional and personal conduct of members of the association and/or its certification holders.

Members and ISACA certification holders shall:

1. Support the implementation of, and encourage compliance with, appropriate standards, procedures and controls for information systems.
2. Perform their duties with objectivity, due diligence and professional care, in accordance with professional standards and best practices.
3. Serve in the interest of stakeholders in a lawful and honest manner, while maintaining high standards of conduct and character, and not engage in acts discreditable to the profession.
4. Maintain the privacy and confidentiality of information obtained in the course of their duties unless disclosure is required by legal authority. Such information shall not be used for personal benefit or released to inappropriate parties.
5. Maintain competency in their respective fields and agree to undertake only those activities, which they can reasonably expect to complete with professional competence.
6. Inform appropriate parties of the results of work performed; revealing all significant facts known to them.
7. Support the professional education of stakeholders in enhancing their understanding of information systems security and control.

Failure to comply with this Code of Professional Ethics can result in an investigation into a member's, and/or certification holder's conduct and, ultimately, in disciplinary measures.


Complaints against Slemo Warigon may be filed with the CISA Certification Board. There are no specific forms to be filled out. Complainants should simply write a letter that explains why Mr. Warigon violated the ISACA Code of Ethics and include printouts or photocopies of any related documents.

Send the letter of complaint to:

CISA Certification Board
ISACA--Information Systems Audit and Control Association
3701 Algonquin Road, Suite 1010
Rolling Meadows, IL 60008

Paul Kelly holds a law degree from George Washington University, but a search of the Web sites of the Maryland Bar and the DC Bar turns up no listings. Readers of the press release are encouraged to notify us if it is known that he, Kelly, is licensed to practice law in any state and we will send out instructions later on how to file a complaint against him with the state bar in question.

Paul Kelly was listed in a 2000-2001 Gallaudet directory as having a BS degree from the University of Lowell:

However, that BS degree from the University of Lowell listed under Kelly's name mysteriously disappeared from subsequent Gallaudet University Community directories:

CLICK HERE to read previous posts of the Gallaudet Protest Legal Issues blog.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Child killed in hit and run accident near Gallaudet

WJLA-TV, ABC 7 News, Metropolitan Washington DC area, April 24, 2007:


(CO-HOST:) A mother witnesses a heart-wrenching crime. Her six-year-old daughter is killed before her eyes.

(CO-HOST:) This morning DC police are looking for a hit-and-run driver who struck this young girl. Alisa Parenti live in Northeast DC with the latest on the investigation. Alisa?

ALISA PARENTI: Well Doug and Alison, police who live nearby [sic] say they need a stop sign where Orleans dead ends here and Sixth Street--some kind of way to slow traffic, so that the cars that are coming on Sixth will stop. Now in this case, the child did not cross on the crosswalk, but still, everyone is grieving the loss.


CHRISTINA SPENCER: [Crying] Baby is gone and somebody had to do a hit and run.

PARENTI (voice over): Christina Spencer watched from her front porch as her six-year-old daughter Chrysta was struck and killed by an SUV. The child was trying to cross Sixth Street in Northeast to get to an after-school program at Mt. Olive Baptist Church. The driver of the vehicle that hit the girl did not stop.

EASTER SPENCER: My grand baby [unclear audio: will now rest in peace] and whoever this evil person is--I would live for this coward to come forth and turn himself in.

PARENTI: Mayor Adrian Fenty and Police Chief Cathy Lanier visited the family at their home near the intersection of Sixth and Orleans, the site of the accident. The hit and run comes as authorities have stepped up efforts to stop pedestrian deaths. Last night dozens of mourners gathered to pray, light candles and remember Chrysta Spencer.

CHRISTINA SPENCER: [Crying] If you did it, just come forward, please? That's my baby. You took her life!


PARENTI: [Siren heard in background] Police are looking for a large, green sports utility vehicle, with tinted windows and possibly Maryland license plates. They say that that vehicle likely has damage to the front end. Reporting live in Northeast, Alisa Parenti, ABC 7 News.

[End video]



FOX 5 News, April 24, 2007

CO-HOST: Police are still looking for the person who ran down and killed little Chrysta Spencer. This happened at the intersection of Sixth and Orleans last night, but this afternoon, changes have already been made to that intersection, in an effort to keep this tragedy from happening again. Fox 5's Karen Gray-Houston has more on our top story from the scene.

KAREN GRAY HOUSTON (reporter): An angry outcry from this community has brought emergency measures. The city has put up temporary stop signs in the middle of the street. They are promising speed bumps and a "Do Not Enter" sign on that one-way street.


HOUSON: The stop signs in the middle of the street are temporary, until permanent signs go up within ten feet of the intersection--not soon enough for the mother of little Crysta Spencer, struck down by a driver who didn't even bother to stop.

CHRISTINA SPENCER: [Crying] He took my baby's life, and can't nobody ever replace that. She wasn't bothering nobody. She was a good girl. She was a sweet girl. She had lots of love for everybody. Everybody had love for her.

HOUSTON: This section of Sixth Street near Orleans Place is a popular short cut to New York Avenue. Relatives and neighbors say speeding neighbors just fly by.

JACKIE CARSON: It's traffic coming from both ends, up down, out this [cross] street. A lot of people turn--this is one way.

HOUSTON: As family members mourn, Ward 6 Councilman Tommy Wells demanded immediate action.

TOMMY WELLS: I'm surprised this doesn't happen more in the District. We need to calm the traffic down and have people slow down in the District. And there's a lot of children that live up and down this street.

HOUSTON: Stop signs have been a long time coming for this dangerous intersection. Now that they're here, they're already starting to slow down the traffic. The people who live in the neighborhood are hoping they'll prevent another tragedy. In Northeast, Karen Gray Houston, Fox 5 News.

CO-HOST: Karen tells us that Mayor Fenty came to the neighborhood this morning and didn't see the stop signs that he and Councilman Wells demanded. He made a call. The signs were up by 10 a.m.

[End video]



First-Grader Killed While Crossing Street in NE

By Allison Klein and Martin Weil
Washington Post Staff WritersTuesday, April 24, 2007; Page B04

A 6-year-old girl who was crossing a Northeast Washington street yesterday was struck by a hit-and-run driver and killed before her mother's eyes, police and witnesses said.

Crysta Spencer was heading to an after-school program at the Mount Olive Baptist Church about 4:30 p.m. when she crossed Sixth Street NE near Orleans Place, authorities said. Police said she was not in a crosswalk.

The death comes as authorities in the District and its suburbs have focused increasing attention on preventing pedestrian fatalities.

"My baby is gone," said Crysta's mother, Christina Spencer. It happened, she said, "because somebody had to do a hit and run."

Spencer said she was watching from the stoop of the family home on Sixth Street as her daughter tried to cross. The street is a few blocks south of Gallaudet University and is lined with rowhouses. Cars were parked against the curb.

After striking her daughter, Spencer said, the motorist kept going.

"If you did it, please come forward," she said, addressing herself to the driver. "You took her life, and you can't replace that."

"Just be a man," the mother's brother said to the driver, whose gender was not immediately clear. "Respect your responsibilities and turn yourself in."

Crysta Spencer was in the first grade at J.O. Wilson Elementary School. She would have been 7 on May 7, relatives said.

They said she loved the book and television character "Dora the Explorer" and liked to sing and dance.

"I was going to give her the biggest birthday party she ever had," said Rita Christopher, her godmother.

D.C. Council member Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6) called for a stop sign to be placed on Sixth Street at Orleans Place by this morning.

"There's a lot of kids that play up and down the street here," Wells said. "We've got to find a way to slow folks down. It's dangerous."

Police said last night that they believed the 6-year-old was struck by a large, green sport-utility vehicle with tinted windows, possibly with Maryland tags. Police suspect that the vehicle has front-end damage.



CLICK HERE to read previous posts of the Gallaudet Protest Legal Issues blog.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Wash Post graph proves IKJ, JK and PK failed

The following graph which was published in the Washington Post proves that former Gallaudet President Irving K. Jordan, former Provost Jane K. Fernandes, and Vice President Paul Kelly totally failed in their administration of the university.

The graph shows that the enrollment of Gallaudet in 1994 was 1,602 students. Fernandes was hired as Vice President of Pre-College programs (later re-named the "Clerc Center") exactly at this time, in August before the beginning of the 1995-96 academic school year. The graph shows how enrollment at Gallaudet plummeted downwards from 1,602 to 1,206 in the time period that coincided with Fernandes' presence on campus.

All throughout his 18 years as President, Jordan was ignoring the institutional health of the residential schools, which have traditionally acted as feeder schools for Gallaudet.

The Deaf President Now campaign in 1988 was a result of the Deaf Renaissance occurring as the result of William Stokoe convincing the world of academia that ASL was a bona fide language. Deaf people all over the country affirmed their strong connection to Deaf culture, and the validity of Deaf culture and ASL became universally recognized.

Jordan saw that the whole country, including the academic world, granted recognition to ASL and Deaf culture, so he had no choice and had to at least pay lip service in fake support. Actually however, Jordan began acting passive aggressively against both the concept of Deaf culture and the concept of ASL as a birthright of Deaf children.

Finally, by the time Jordan published his anti-Deaf culture and anti-ASL propaganda piece in the Washington Post in January 2007, he revealed his true self. He attempted to use the term "absolutist" in a distorted and devious way, as a loaded term, to create a false political frame that would destroy the entire Deaf culture movement and put the future success of Gallaudet University in jeopardy.

Irving King Jordan is no friend of Gallaudet. He spent the entire 18 years of his administration attempting to steer Gallaudet away from its historic mission of serving ASL deaf students. He spent the entire 18 years of his administration in a state of passive-aggressive opposition to the existence of the residential schools for the deaf.

If he had succeeded in placing Fernandes as his successor, Fernandes would have continued Jordan's plan to reverse Gallaudet's historic mission. She herself revealed her intentions openly when she declared that she wanted to create a "new order of deaf people," which is just the same kind of loaded language and false political framing that Jordan used.

Fernandes' term "new order" implies that Deaf culture is invalid and undesirable. This is completely false. The truth is that Deaf culture itself has been the social mechanism over the last two hundred-plus years whereby deaf people have joined together in productive and creative efforts to enhance their lives. This includes fostering and encouraging the use of ASL.

The desirability and the validity of ASL represents the collective wisdom of generations of deaf people. It is the social means that allows deaf people to unite and fight for self-determination and positive change.

Academics is the core of Deaf culture and it is dishonest in the extreme for Jordan and Fernandes attempt to make a false separation between the two. There is no such thing as focusing on education "instead" of Deaf culture. That's impossible. For deaf people who use ASL, the two cannot be separated.

When we focus on Deaf culture at Gallaudet, we are focusing on education, too. When we focus on education at Gallaudet, we are focusing on Deaf culture. The two concepts are joined together.