Welcome to Reunify Gallaudet!

Posted on 12 November 2006. Filed under: Uncategorized |

I established this blog in the hope of supporting the healing and reunification of the Gallaudet community by enabling dialogue on sensitive topics raised by the protests. By “Gallaudet community,” I mean both people on campus and also those of us across the country and around the world who feel some link to Gallaudet, whether or not we have ever been there.

I am particularly interested in exploring how we can build bridges between pro-FSSA supporters and pro-Fernandes supporters. I also hope we can explore issues related to racism, and issues related to all shades of audism (toward ASL users; toward SEE users; people who grew up oral; who have CIs; deaf-blind people; etc).

The most important rule in this blog is to please demonstrate RESPECT toward others. Since May 2006, discussion related to the protests and to Fernandes has often become polarized and hostile. So let me please re-emphasize that “The Reunification of Gallaudet” blog is meant to be a safe place for ALL people on ALL sides of the protests to air their views without fear of being attacked. All those who participate are asked to please respect the spirit and intention of this discussion board.

I hope to make more posts in the next weeks or months to come to spark dialogue on a range of relevant issues. But for now, let me open this as wide as possible:

1. Does anyone have any suggestions for topics they think should be explored/discussed in this blog? (If you have an essay of your own exploring a relevant topic, let me know at ashettle (at) patriot.net — I will be happy to consider posting it.)

2. For now, I’m starting this as a blog. But are there other formats that people would like better? Discussion board? Email-based discussion list (such as yahooGroups or GoogleGroups)? Moderated or unmoderated? If moderated, WHO should we recruit to moderate it?

3. To what extent should I moderate comments from blog readers? I want to promote free and open dialogue. On the other hand, if comments become too hostile then I am concerned that people will not feel safe enough to participate in meaningful dialogue. But I’m not yet sure where to draw the line between these two competing needs. Suggestions?

4. Anything else?

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20 Responses to “Welcome to Reunify Gallaudet!”

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Congratulations, Andrea! I just read an interesting article + comments from Inside Higher Education:

http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/11/10/gallaudet

Thanks, “Charleyhorse”!

There is a HUGE, on-going discussion on issues related to academics at Gallaudet University over on DeafDC:

http://www.deafdc.com/blog/shane-feldman/2006-11-09/gallaudets-academic-standards/

Andrea, glad you were able to start a new blog. Hopefully this will work well.

My blog was not moderated for quite some time, until the pro fernandes commenters made it necessary for me to do to protect other commenters. I must admit I was and still am shocked to see so much ugliness from these fans, including threats. I remain hopeful that some day it will be safe to get my blog unmoderated again.

Glad to see you again, at least electronically. I remember you well from your Gallaudet days. I’m now retired (sort of) and living in Montgomery AL.

The Rev. Jay L. Croft

I am glad to see someone who wants to blog of the solution and not keep in the negative Other bloggers have censored comments by pro-Fernandes commentators using the wording that the comments contained threats however no threats or hostilty existed. It was a good excuse to delete the comment.
These bloggers also actually changed statements made by others to make themselves to appear better. This is misleading and not ethical.
I hope you don’t feel the need to erase an opposing point because it hits home and you don’t want to give it exposure. This is exactly what some of your fellow blog creaters are doing.
No one has been a saint during this protest including some blog authors.

Hello. My thanks to Andrea for starting this blog. I really, honestly think that the best way to start this healing process is for the pro-fernandes side to apolozied to everyone eles for the incredible harm that was infilcted upton the Deaf community. Lies, threats to students(some of which are still happening today)and to staff (again still happening today), arrests, puting lives in danger, etc. really has ripped apart this community. I don’t think we will ever be able to heal unless those responsible have the decency to apolozied for thier inhume actions during the protests.

Having said that, I realized that many of those who are in the pro-fernandes side will not (or cannot?) do just that at this moment. My hope is that those who are reading this will some day able to look inside thier hearts and be able to conclude that thier actions were wrong- and that they can be an agent for healing.

Least you think I am a strong pro-protests person- I was a fernandes supporter in the begining. So I think I can claim a bit of neatulity here.

Raphael J. St. Johns C-87,G-00

Raphael, Do you think the protesters are completely without blame during this protest. Through the protest they have also lied, threatened, shut the university down for some three weeks, got completey off the track that they have stated they were on in personally attacking and stalking the administration.
The only way the healing can begin is if both sides claim their own responsibilty in the way they acted and comments they made including myself and other Pro- Fernandes people.
I am sorry that this whole thing had to exoplode the way it did hurting our community for many years to come and we ALL have a piece in creating it.
We ALL need to fix it and live together like adults should!

Sir or madam (I don’t know which-since you have refuse to identify yourself):

Please read Dr. Bob Johnson paper-before you start your comments.

I can tell you- the vast majority of the protesters were civil, peaceful and repeactful. It was the administration who repeatly lied, arrested, and
harmed people. I know for a fact, for example, that the protesters never claimed that the entire university were to be shut down- they did allowed MSSD and KDES to opened- but the administration were the one that kept saying the opposite.

It was the administration who “postponed” Homecoming- I was on campus during that weekend- there really was NO reason not to have it there-except- as one source in the President office told me- to “spike” the protesters.

I have no dubt that here were small incidents of “bad” behavoir on the protesters part (they are human, after all) but they did turn in one of thier own to DPS( the one who broke something, I forgot what exactly he did) -while they were physically attacked by several DPS personnel (on several occsions, I might add- I know- I saw one of the attacks myself).

As Dr. Johnson said “students are students”. It fails on the administration, as the “adults” in this sitaution to have acted in a more civil way- that they did not do. Instead, they ( to the people who really took the time to examine this issue closely) look like the child in this situation, i.e. throwing an “administrative temper tantrum”( from Dr. Johnson paper-regarding the opening of one of the gates).

As such- they really, honestly need to apolozied to the students, satff, faculty, alumini, and parents of the students.

This is really the only way to start the healing process. Otherwise, it will only be a “band aid” approach to this crisis.

Raphael J. St. Johns

PS- My memory is that they did not “shut the university down for some three weeks” -only three days. If I am wrong, please correct me. I have been searching (for tha past 30 minates) all of the news articles, papers, etc. NO where does it states 3 weeks.

It was not a place for higher learning for at least three weeks. For all intents and purposes it was shut down. My memory tells me it was the students that blocked gates, damaged buildings as well as breaking in them and occupying them.These are not peaceful and respectful acts. They were , however, illegal. These students are ADULTS. They knew exactly what they were doing and got exactly what they wanted. PUBLICITY. The personal attacks made at IKJ and JKF were not civil.
My point is, unless everyone takes some responsibilty for the chaos that went on, Gallaudet will continue its downward spin.
Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy. It’s your choice, you will never have both all the time.

Clearly there is still a great deal of anger surrounding the protests. The tension that has arisen between some of the participants here highlights some of the feelings carried by FSSA and Fernandes supporters.

This is, in fact, part of why I set up this blog: to see if we could find a way to mediate disputes among each other, build bridges, and move beyond polarized sentiment.

I have been working for 30 of the last 34 hours and my night class is about to start, so I can’t do an in depth response at the moment. (To answer the obvious question: I had 2.5 hrs of sleep last night!)

But I wanted to at least take a moment to acknowledge the dispute that has arisen here. And I’d like to throw an open question to anyone reading this: how can we all respond in a positive way when emotional disagreements arise so we can move toward reunification WITHOUT NECESSARILY AGREEING?

I’ll be doing some thinking myself (after I sleep!) and will try to turn those thoughts either into a post here or into a blog, depending how fleshed out they become.

One more general note before bed:

As you can tell from the number of hrs I’ve worked 🙂 I tend to be really busy. That means I won’t always be around to step in and deal with, or mediate, disputes when they arise here.

I would like to make a general appeal to all readers to consider ways in which you can do your part in helping people resolve disagreements in a peaceful, respectful manner.

I want people to be free to express opinions, including controversial ones. At the same time, too many angered debates could mire us in more polarized sentiments and defeat the purpose of this blog, which is to promote healing and reunification. I hope we can all work together to find a way to balance these sometimes competing needs.

Because none of us can do this task alone. We’re in this together. So let’s move forward–together.

Agian-since you have not identify yourself- Sir or madam:

I think its a bit arrogent of you to say that I can be either correct or happy..but since you brought it up:

I am very happy and correct on this issue.

The healing process will not be done-unless the adm. really steps up to the plate and apolozied for all terrible things that was said and done by them. Please read all the papers that were written during the protest by Johnson and all.

I was there for much of the protest. I can tell you that classes were being held everyday-except for those 3 days.

And i can go on and on refuting each of your statements with facts.

But let me say this: I was a HUGH Fernandes supporter in the begining. My story is well known-so I will not repeat here.

If I saw any reason to support her even at this time- I would still support her. But the facts are facts. And I am really sorry to say- calling students names that are replusive is not a good way to dialoge (“anarchist”?).

Please sir or madam- please check the records, ask around, do resaerch-like I did.

Raphael J. St. Johns C-87, G-00

A few random thoughts and comments before I go to work:

1. A point of general clarification: I wish to specifically defend the right of individuals to choose whether to post anonymously or publicly. Some people still do not feel safe revealing their true feelings about the protests, regardless of which side they supported, because they fear being attacked for those views. In addition, some people simply wish to draw a clear line between their working world and their personal life. They may wish to be anonymous simply because they don’t want colleagues or clients to see their posts in association with them.

The purpose of this blog is to encourage free expression for the purpose of exploring not only our differences but also our common interests and goals. Please respect other people’s right to choose for themselves whether they reveal their name or even their gender. It is customary in discussion blogs to simply use the name a person has chosen for him/herself until and unless they provide some other name.

2. I would like to make a general reminder again for everyone to try to demonstrate respect toward all opinions. Please don’t attack each other. No, not even if you feel you were attacked first, or that you were “right” and they clearly “wrong”. Stop the cycle of repeating retalitory attacks before it starts.

3. I would also like to encourage people to spend time LISTENING as well as defending. Instead of attacking others for their beliefs, or instead of spending energy defending your own position, how about POLITELY asking questions? Find out from the others in this group WHY they believe as they do. You might be surprised at the answers you receive.

I hope the discussion in this blog can be viewed as a place where we can learn from others–not just one more place to defend our own views. Don’t we already have dozens of discussion threads in other deaf blogs where we can do that?

[…] Before you submit your essay, you may want to read my very first, “welcome” post and also the “About Reunify Gally” page to make sure you understand the general purpose of this blog. […]

your blog is so nice, thx

You have a nice blog. Keep up the good work.

Thanks!

Britney

any updates on this?

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Personally, I never use more than a single link in the comment

Great post – just got started in blogging recently.


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