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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]


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