Saturday, November 19, 2005

Mowl Dispels Provost Fernie's Antics

Anthony Mowl, like Donald Tropp, nailed Provost Fernie on couple of points.

I was informed last week that prior to the Town Hall meeting, the professors were encouraged to cancel classes and to attend the Town Hall meeting to discuss about the incidents involving the hotel drama and goalposts.

Guess where they took the meeting at?

Andrew J. Foster Auditorium! Don't know where it is? It used to be Ely Auditorium. That is one small place to host the Town Hall meeting! Needless to say, many were turned away at the door due to the full capacity. It can hold as many as 250 out of 2,000 students. Not to mention the faculty and staff as well.

The meeting did not go as per the idea of "Town Hall meeting" -- it was more of "patronizing everyone else" in the process. A friend confided in me last week.

But am I surprised that Fernie behaved like this?

Really, no.

It is my hope that by the end of IKJ's tenure -- I mean, domain, Fernie shall be left in her obscurity where she can address her "Crisis Management Team" to a group of "yes-sayers" at some no-good school somewhere away from Gallaudet.

Great article, Anthony Mowl!



* * *
Getting Used to the Smell

By Anthony Mowl

Anyone who went to the recent Town Hall meeting will agree with me when they say that an ugly mess has started to spoil. The meeting resulted out of the Homecoming and goalpost fiascos, with students, staff and faculty filling Foster Auditorium to capacity and forcing the overflow to watch the meeting on television.

Over the past two weeks, The Buff and Blue has been aggressively reporting both events that were discussed in the town hall meeting. The cover of the recent issue was a news article of the events of the goalpost incident, and my recent column lashed out at those responsible for the Homecoming embarrassment. Donald Tropp’s editorial was a direct response to Provost Jane Fernandes’ email to the campus community regarding the two events. There were at least two messages sent through those articles. The first is that the overall student body does not condone the actions of a few stupid individuals, and what happened is extremely embarrassing. The second message sent was that there are serious underlying issues that need to be looked at, and maybe there was more to the goalpost than actually meets the eye. Many questions were brought up in what is supposed to be a student forum in The Buff and Blue, questions what students want to see answered.

When I sat down in my seat at the town hall meeting, I finally expected to see productive discussion. After all, teachers were encouraged to cancel classes, and my boss supported my missing work to attend the event. There were several people on stage that opened the meeting with scripted remarks, including the Provost herself, SBG President Mike Higgins, GSA President Carrie Pezzarossi, and several other student leaders. Along with 99 percent of the people who tuned in, I didn’t do a single thing during either incident, but for 25 minutes I sat and listened as each one took their turn lecturing and blasting those involved with the incidents, patronizing everyone in the room as if we didn’t know the actions of a few would reflect the entire Deaf community. After all, wasn’t how those actions reflected us the main reason we turned out for the discussion? Everyone knew that the real issues would be discussed when the floor would be opened, because many students felt strongly enough about the events that they’d ask the hard questions. I only had to be lectured at two more times before Brendan Stern got on stage. His message was simple; while he agrees the actions of those involved were wrong, he believes that the lack of communication at the event escalated a situation that was preventable.

The question was a simple volley on Brendan’s part, a lob that the Provost could have hit down the baseline cleanly. Fernandes knew this question was coming because it was already addressed in The Buff and Blue a week earlier. The administration scripts their every response to serious issues that occur, and luckily the Provost had a few days to think about this one and wasn’t put on the spot. She got out of her seat and walked to the center of the stage ready to deliver her prepared response. At first the Provost said she agreed with what Brendan had said, and she wished DPS and MPD had better training. But she added, communication was NOT the issue and she went on to verbally reprimand Brendan on stage in front of the entire campus community for attempting to sidetrack the discussion and shift our focus away from student behavior to communication issues.

Was it just my eyes or did the Provost really say this? Had the Provost picked up a copy of The Buff and Blue in the last week, or is she illiterate? Did Jane really see the need to sit down the entire campus community, made up almost exclusively of mature adults, for an hour and half lecture as if she were in charge of MSSD again? Halfway through her remarks, I got out of my seat and left the Foster Auditorium in protest, and I wish that every other student who disagreed with the Provost that day had done the same. I refuse to participate in drivel such as the one that was delivered at the Town Hall meeting, and I refused to be treated as if I’m some child running wild in the halls of an institution. What’s done is done. Everyone including myself who sat in that auditorium that day agreed that the entire situation was embarrassing and everyone that auditorium came to hear what the Provost was going to do about it, not what she thought about it. The events of the last few weeks have escalated into a huge situation here at Gallaudet growing worse by the day, and let me just say this much: October 30th was the fault of the students.

The current campus-wide dissent however, I’ll let Jane take credit for.

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