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Sunday, February 11, 2007

The "culture of lying" and corruption at Gallaudet

During the Unity for Gallaudet protest, Gallaudet Professor Robert E. Johnson wrote that a "culture of lying" exists in the administration of Gallaudet. See page three of Dr. Johnson's 17-page essay:


We and the World are faced with a situation in which the entire perception of Gallaudet hangs on the simple lies and manufactured images of the richly sophisticated and immensely expensive public relations machine of Gallaudet’s administration. To me, it reflects a culture of lying that is infused into every level of the administrative structure of the University...

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Here is a simple example to show the longstanding culture of lying and corruption that has existed in Gallaudet's administration. For many years, Gallaudet has celebrated "Charter Day" on April 8th as the day that President Lincoln allegedly "signed the charter" of Gallaudet.

These quotes are from Web pages that are currently (as of Sunday, February 11, 2007) posted on


Charter Day
Celebrate the signing of the Gallaudet Charter by Abraham Lincoln on April 8, 1864. The Office of Alumni Relations and the Laurent Clerc Cultural Fund sponsor an annual awards program to recognize recipients for their charitable or scholarly work.


And also:


Charter Day 2007

This year's Charter Day celebrates the 143 years since President Abraham Lincoln signed Gallaudet’s Charter in 1864.


The truth is that the original charter of Gallaudet was signed by President Franklin Pierce on February 16, 1857. Here it is:




CHAP. XLVI.--An Act to incorporate the Columbian Institution for the Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb, and the Blind.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That Byron Sunderland, J. C. McGuire, David A. Hall, and George W. Riggs, of Washington city, William Edes, and Judson Mitchell, of Georgetown, and Amos Kendall and William Stickney, of the county of Washington, and such persons as may hereafter be associated with them, by contributions for the instruction of the Deaf and Dumb, and the Blind, are hereby created a body politic and corporate under the name of the "Columbia Institution for the Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb, and the Blind," to have perpetual succession and be capable to take, hold and enjoy lands, tenements, hereditaments and personal property, to use a common seal, and the same to alter at pleasure: Provided, That no real or personal property shall be held by said corporation, except such as may be necessary to the maintenance and efficient management of said institution.

SEC. 2. And be it further enacted, That the Institution shall be managed as provided for in its present Constitution, and such additional regulations as may from time to time be found necessary ; but as soon as sufficient contributions shall have been paid in to authorize an election according to the provisions of said Constitution, the provisional officers therein named shall give notice of a general meeting to the contributors for the election of officers, and the officers elected at such general meeting shall hold their offices for one year and until their successors shall be elected as in said Constitution provided: Provided, That said Constitution may be altered in the manner therein provided, but not in such manner as to violate the Constitution or any law of the United States or of the District of Columbia.

SEC. 3. And be it further enacted, That it shall be the duty of the Justices of the Peace in the several wards of the cities of Washington and Georgetown and of the county of Washington, to ascertain the names and residences of all Deaf and Dumb and Blind persons within their respective wards and districts; who of them are of a teachable age, and also who of them are in indigent circumstances, and report the same to the President of the Institution hereby incorporated.

SEC. 4. And be it further enacted, That whenever the Secretary of the Interior shall be satisfied by evidence produced by the President of the Institution hereby incorporated, that any Deaf and Dumb or Blind person of teachable age properly belonging to this District, is in indigent circumstances and cannot command the means to secure an education, it shall be his duty to authorize the said person to enter the said Institution for Instruction, and to pay for his maintenance and tuition therein at the rate of one hundred and fifty dollars per annum, for such Deaf and Dumb pupil, and at the rate of one hundred and fifty dollars per annum for such Blind pupil, papable [sic] quarterly out of the Treasury of the United States.

SEC. 5. And be it further enacted, That it shall be lawful for said Institution to receive and instruct Deaf and Dumb and Blind persons from any of the States and Territories of the United States on such terms as may be agreed upon by themselves, their parents, guardians, or trustees, and the proper authorities of said Institution.

SEC. 6. And be it further enacted, That it shall by the duty of the President and directors of said Institution to report to the Secretary of the Interior the condition of said Institution on the first day of July in each year, embracing in said report the number of pupils of each description received and discharged during the preceding year, and the number remaining in the Institution; also the branches of knowledge and industry taught and the progress made therein; also a statement showing the receipts of the Institution and from what sources, and its disbursements and for what objects.

APPROVED, February 16, 1857.

[Thirty-fourth Congress, 3rd session]


You can see an image of the original charter at this Web site:

Here is what really happened. In 1864, President Lincoln signed a law that approved of Gallaudet (The Columbia Institution) granting college degrees. Actually, it was not necessary for the Federal government to grant its approval, but Edward Miner Gallaudet wanted to get the blessings of the Government to do this.

Here is the law that President Lincoln signed:

CHAP. LII.--An Act to authorize the Columbia Institution for the Deaf and Dumb and the Blind to confer Degrees.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the board of directors of the Columbia Institution for the instruction of the deaf and dumb and the blind be, and they are hereby, authorized and empowered to grant and confirm such degrees in the liberal arts and sciences to such pupils of the institution, or others, who, by their proficiency in learning or other meritorious distinction they shall think entitled to them, as are usually granted and conferred in colleges ; and to grant to such graduates diplomas or certificates, sealed and signed in such manner as said board of directors may determine, to authenticate and perpetuate the memory of such graduation.

APPROVED, April 8, 1864.


Here's a pdf file of the 1864 law from US Statutes:

When this law was passed, Edward Miner Gallaudet then established a "college department" that was within the existing school. It's OK to say that this new department represents the "birth" of Gallaudet University in 1864, but it's a lie to claim President Lincoln signed the charter of Gallaudet.

Here is a letter that Edward Gallaudet wrote to President Lincoln which shows that the college was simply a new department created within the existing school:

When this new college department was created, nothing happened to Gallaudet's (Columbia's) charter. It remained unaffected. The original charter did not specify the age of the students who are allowed to attend Columbia, and the original charter does not specify what level of school Columbia was. It did not say Columbia was a school for "grades 1 to 12" or anything like that. Columbia was simply an "Institution for Instruction" for deaf students of "teachable age." That was the loophole that enabled Edward Gallaudet to establish the college department under the authority of the pre-existing charter.

This document from 1873 shows how Gallaudet's charter was modified by new laws. The college department was already nine years old in 1873. Take a close look at the margins:

There is nothing in the margins of this 1873 document related to the law signed by Abraham Lincoln in 1864. That's because the 1864 law had absolutely *nothing to do* with Gallaudet's charter.

This is conclusive proof that President Lincoln did NOT sign Gallaudet's charter.

Jane Fernandes was one of the people that kept this lie going in her op-ed in The Des Moines Register on August 25, 2006:


In May, I was named the ninth president of Gallaudet University, the only four-year liberal arts university in the world for students who are deaf, hard of hearing or deaf-blind. Gallaudet is in Washington, D.C., about a mile from the U.S. Capitol. Its charter was signed in 1864 by President Abraham Lincoln.

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Fernandes also lied about the age she became deaf. This page from the Summer 1983 Gallaudet Today shows that she became deaf at age four:

However, Fernandes told the media that she was born deaf:

What's worse is the Fernandes went through the whole charade of leading the "New Directions" meetings, when actually she and Jordan had a hidden agenda. They created the *appearance* of shared governance, when actually they were using the meetings as deceptive tactic to push through their hidden agenda of ending Gallaudet's historic mission of being an ASL university.

Currently, many of the administrators that participated in this culture of lying and corruption are still working in the administration of Gallaudet, chief among them Paul Kelly and Mercy Coogan.

We trust Dr. Davila will handle this sooner or later. He can't solve all of Gallaudet's problems all at once by waving a magic wand, but clearly the whole world knows that Paul Kelly cannot stay at Gallaudet. We are looking at the calendar and counting the number of days he continues to insult our intelligence by not leaving on his own.

If Paul Kelly thinks he should stay at Gallaudet, then we challenge him to find the piece of paper that President Abraham Lincoln signed. Did President Lincoln "sign the charter of Gallaudet?" Show it to us, Paul. Where is the "charter that was signed by President Lincoln"?

Where is it?

And while you are looking for that, tell us what happened to the very expensive tractor that vanished when the Northwest Campus was sold.

Paul, where is tractor?


CLICK HERE to view the archives of the Gallaudet Protest Legal Issues blog


Blogger Gallaudet Protest Legal Issues said...

I'll tell you who cares. It's decent people like the heroes who took over HMB who risked their lives in the pursuit of truth and justice at Gallaudet.

February 11, 2007 at 9:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Opps! I taught my college ASL class that Lincoln signed the Gallaudet Charter! Does it matter?

Credibility is important. And the standing with Middle States Association matters to those who care about Gallaudet.

A Mid-west ASL Instructor

February 12, 2007 at 3:27 PM  

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