The newly elected president of Gallaudet University is being protested by some of the faculty and students because she’s “not deaf enough” according to this report.
Last week, Jane K. Fernandes was named to succeed I. King Jordan as president of Gallaudet University. She isn’t scheduled to take over until January, but already the school’s faculty has called a meeting for Monday afternoon to consider for a no-confidence vote against her and students have carried out a weeklong protest.
Fernandes, 47, says she is caught in a cultural debate.
She was born deaf but grew up speaking, and she didn’t learn American Sign Language until she was 23. She now characterizes herself as a “fluent signer” who can understand and be understood by everyone on campus.
“There’s a kind of perfect deaf person,” said Fernandes, who described that as someone who is born deaf to deaf parents, who learns ASL at home, attends deaf schools, marries a deaf person and has deaf children. “People like that will remain the core of the university.”
I am always amazed at the irony and self-blindness in minority groups that insist on being accepted by mainstream society (which does not, by definition, share a certain characteristic with that minority) who then exclude others because they don’t share that same characteristic. The people at Gallaudet don’t want their deafness to be considered at all in their interactions with anyone else, but someone not sufficiently pure, in their eyes, is viewed as undesireable. They should practice what they demand others follow.