Deaf President Now
Richard Evans 12 October 2012 Deaf Community Midterm: DPN Who Will Be President It all started in 1987 at the first deaf school in the United States, Gallaudet University. Former President Dr. Jerry C.
Lee resigned at the end of 1987 and the school needed to find another president to take place. So in February of 1988 the committee announced the finalists for the running for a new president. A majority of the candidates were of hearing and just a couple were of deaf nature. Let us start by discussing, who were the candidates, what initially started the troubles in 1988, and how it was finally resolved.
In 1988 when Gallaudet University needed to find a new president to take over for the open position at stake they had many people send in their resumes to the committee who takes care of that kind of stuff. They later announced the finalists and some were hearing and some were deaf and considering this is a deaf school, wouldn’t one think that a deaf president would fit a lot better than a hearing person? Well the finalists that were announced were the following: Dr. Harvey Corson, who is deaf, Dr. I.
King Jordan, who was also deaf, and Dr. Elisabeth Zinser, who is hearing. The congregation of Gallaudet wanted the presidency to be filled by one of the two deaf candidates and they started writing and sending letters to the board to let them know how they would like to see the direction of the school. Then the school announced who was going to take over the open position and when they said it was the hearing candidate the school was in shock, and that’s when history was forever changed at that school.
March 1, 1988 was the day when the board finally announced their decision and when the University had announced that Zinser had become the new president of the university the students, angered and with feelings of betrayal, marched to the board meeting and they demanded to be told why that was the decision that had been made. The following day is when they finally got to hear why they made the decision and the students of Gallaudet were appalled. Meetings upon meetings took place between the student congregation debating what next step was needed to be taken.
They decided to barricade the way onto the campus the next morning and they rallied and gave speeches to all the students and the protest leaders came to a conclusion on what they wanted. They gave the board 4 ultimatums that must be met or else and they were: 1. Zinser Must resign and a deaf president be selected; 2. Spilman must step down off of the board; 3. The percentage of deaf persons on the board must be a majority; and 4. There must be no reprisals against any of the protesters. And the board said no to all of their demands and the protesters then turned to marching to the Capitol Building in D. C.
The following day the university wasn’t barricaded any longer and the university’s classes took place but the protesters boycotted the classes and went to speeches and rallies instead. The rallies had then gotten so large that it was being covered by national television, programs, and newspapers. Zinser then thought to herself that she needed to begin her presidency early and she started appearing on campus to show that she cares. But she was turned down quickly and then the following day she resigned and the students took march to the capital to get the other 3 demands to be taken and make sure they are done.
The next day was a day break for everyone to relax so that Sunday they would then start up again. Then all 4 demands were met and Dr. I. King Jordan was the first deaf president at Gallaudet University. In 8 days and tons of emotional stress and action packed days the rallies and everything came to an end and everyone was happy. To review all of what had happened just shows with a lot of heart and effort one can succeed in anything and the congregation at Gallaudet had shown the world that the deaf community can stick up and join together and not budge.
This revolution at Gallaudet will always be remembered and marks a big spot in history for the deaf community. Works Cited “Deaf President Now Protest – Gallaudet University. ” Deaf President Now Protest – Gallaudet University. N. p. , n. d. Web. 03 Oct. 2012. <http://www. gallaudet. edu/gallaudet_university/about_gallaudet/dpn_home. html>. “DeafWeb Washington: CSCDHH GA Newsletter – March 1998. ” DeafWeb Washington: CSCDHH GA Newsletter – March 1998. N. p. , n. d. Web. 03 Oct. 2012. <http://www. deafweb. org/ga9803. htm>. Lane, Harlan L. , Robert Hoffmeister, and Benjamin J. Bahan. A Journey into