I'll post my own comments right after you read Fernie's letter.
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November 11, 2005
Mr. Donald Tropp, Editor-in-Chief
Buff and Blue
Dear Mr. Tropp:
Thank you for your thoughtful expression of concerns in your recent letter to me. I believe that continuing communication about the recent incidents and their impact on the campus community is very important, that real listening to one another will help us to work together to achieve some positive results from these very serious and troubling incidents.
I understand completely that students were frustrated by DPS officers’ lack of Sign Language and the lack of interpreters during the goalpost incident, and I agree that the University must continue to work on addressing audism, racism, and other forms of oppression both on campus and off campus. These issues are very real and definitely underline our need to continue our efforst to address them, but they are not “the real issues” of this incident as you assert. Instead, the core issue is that frustration and confusion do not justify breaking the law by destroying property and pulling false fire alarms. You agree that there was no excuse for the students’ behavior, but later in your letter, you seem to excuse it base on the lack of communication among DPS staff members and the University’s overall response to the incident. It cannot be both ways. The students were engaging in unlawful and inexcusable behavior. Problems with the response occurred after this fact of breaking the law.
The very same night of the goalpost incident, I interviewed football players who led the students in tearing them down. Each player that I spoke with indicated the motivation was a desire to celebrate the football’s team record. Not one of them at any time hinted that audism was a cause for their actions. At the heart of the football players’ behavior was a desire to applaud themselves then and there, rather than allow a sense of accomplishment to develop among their fans. IF the players had given the fans [who include members of the faculty, staff administration, parents and alumni, by the way] time to think about how to mark the team’s outstanding season, you can be sure that an enjoyable, safe and appropriate celebration would have taken place-not the regrettable one that transpired.
You noted that CREs, DPS, and MPD were not the right groups to respond effectively to Sunday’s events. It seems to me that CREs were the logical first responders to an incident on campus, involving students, and occurring late at night. They are no equivalent to a David Duke since CREs can communicate effectively and-in the best interest of all students, including those directly involved-they tried to bring the situation under control. Only when students did not listen to and respect them, and began to destroy property, did DPS take the next logical action of calling in law enforcement to restore order. I am sure this is not the course of action DPS wanted to take, but given the escalating circumstances despite effective communications from CREs, they felt they had no other choice.
Perhaps, as you say, the University should have been prepared for the possibility of another attempt to tear down the goalpost after Saturday’s failed attempt. On the other hand, shouldn’t students be trusted and given the benefit of doubt that, with some distance from Saturday night’s revelry, they would think better of committing acts of violence on their own campus? IN regard to the Homecoming incident, are we to blame that on the hotel staff’s lack of ability to sign or the guest inability to do so?
I do agree that the University can improve on how we respond to disorderly incidents and attempted crimes. As leader of the Crisis Management Team, I will work with this group to create more effective policies and procedures for responding to such unfortunate incidents. Most important, I, along with other administrators, am committed to creating and implementing specific action plans to address issues of audism, racism, improving communication access for all people on campus, and promoting the goals, behaviors and attitudes of an inclusive deaf university.
I hope you and other students will join this effort as collaborators working with us towards goals I believe we all want: access, respect, inclusion, and a strong Gallaudet University.
Jane K. Fernandes
Talk is cheap, Fernie! DPS has not implemented anything to speed up the use of sign language on its campus, the world's only Liberal Arts University for the Deaf. It is always hilarious to watch Fernie trying to act like she is so busy doing something but know what? She never did a thing. She changed the names of dormitories where the students were killed, changed the security's name tags from Department of Safety and Security (DOSS) to Department of Public Safety (DPS).
Basically, the Administration did not do a thing at all except to repair its image. Each time, they fucked up a situation, they released their PR dogs to cover, bury or clean it up.
Up next is Donald Tropp's letter to Provost!