Friday, November 04, 2005

Tidbits for 11.4.05

Nice To Know ...: My previous entry was mentioned and linked on's Executive Assistant Zuzanna Kobrzynski called Whither Turd Blossom? Of course I was surprised and thrilled. It is nice to know that someone at do read my entries.

Rumor Has Been Confirmed: Gallaudet Board of Trustees Chairman since 1994, Dr. Glenn Anderson, is considering becoming a candidate to be the President of Gallaudet University.

12 Students May Have Been Expelled: It was rumored that among 12 Gallaudet students has been expelled, including the best basketball player, three-time All-CAC First Team Robert Haney.

Kristen Suiter Involved?BisonTV has fourth show popping up on BisonTV, notice something different? Anchorwoman, Kristen Suiter is not there. She may be part of Gallaudet Fiasco. Anyone has details?

Article by Alex Abenchuchan & Trevor Breenan: Here is the detailed article.
by Alexander Abenchuchan and Trevor Brennan

On Saturday evening, the first night after the Gallaudet football team won their final match by an overwhelming score, 51 to nothing, campus spirit and fervor was high. Talk among students was that the goalposts were slated to be replaced next year, so some thought it a great idea to tear down the goalposts, so Gallaudetians could do something that many other universities routinely do. Several attempts later, the goalposts were intact, due largely to the presence of DPS.

Crazed fans refused to accept this as defeat. Pages and emails spread like wildfire Sunday night, prompting students to gather and rip down the goalposts late that night. At 11 p.m. Sunday, a group of students swarmed Hotchkiss Field and rocked the north goalpost. DPS arrived on the scene, clearing the field. At approximately 11:30, students made a second attempt to bring down the goalposts, but this time around, DPS and the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), were present on the field. The police used batons and riot control gear to clear the field and the immediate area. Students were then told to return to their dorms, and while many did, others were more vigilant, staying outside.

The north goalpost was damaged, one of the legs bent. At 12:30 a.m., Monday morning, a fire alarm went off at Krug Hall, and freshmen emerged from the dorm and merged with a group of students already present at Benson Hall Circle. Rumors spread that there would be another attempt to rush Hotchkiss Field at 2 a.m. After yet another failed attempt to break down the north goalpost, fire alarms went off at Clerc and Benson Hall, amassing a very large student presence; an air of tension and fervor became evident. DPS presence was no longer there, as many of them had to attend to the fire alarms. With only Travis Imel, CRE of Ballard North, guarding the north goalpost, students again flocked to the north goalpost, deaf to Imel's calls for them to stop, and wrapped themselves on the goalposts. As more and more students clung to the goalposts, they began to look like toothpicks as they were torn down, lying on the field. Cheering and raucous students jumped around on the field, hugging each other, giving each other high-fives, and eventually returned to Benson Hall Circle.

At about 1 a.m., members of the MPD arrived in an attempt to contain the situation. At 1:39, an ambulance and fire truck arrived on scene, after a student complained of being hit in the head by police and feeling sick. After things began to calm down, DC police started to leave. Students chose that moment to rush the field again, pulling down the south goalpost. As the goalpost fell, things finally began to calm down. Students had achieved what they wanted. For Gallaudet's administrators, however, the night had just begun. President I King Jordan and Provost Jane Fernandes were awakened and rushed to the campus, where they interviewed several students. The aftermath included two uprooted goalposts, five dorm alarms, injured students, stressed-out staff, and a public relations nightmare.

Dr. I King Jordan, after surveying the scene, had this to say: "I was appalled to see that students had pulled down the goal posts. Worse, when I met with the students in the early hours of Monday morning, none of them seemed to think anything was wrong with their behavior. When riotous fans at other colleges and universities behave like this, the football team is quick to criticize the behavior and to distance themselves from it. Here at Gallaudet, many of the football players were actively involved and supportive. It was a very dangerous thing to do that showed a complete lack of respect for the property and well being of others."

A large number of the students who tore down the goalposts were football players, and their victorious season was overlooked by their actions according to the Provost. "I was proud of the football team, their undefeated record – but I'm not proud of what happened [Sunday night]. My view is that [Sunday night] ruined their perfect season; my respect for the team is gone. I'm all for fun and celebration, but this was dangerous and out of control. Students have been killed during activities like the ones that occurred last night," Fernandes said. "This is disrespectful, unacceptable behavior."

Not only were the top two administrative figures appalled, but Carl Pramuk, Dean of Student Affairs, also had a hard time believing what had happened. "We don't condone that behavior, nor does the NCAA. Just because this happens in other colleges and universities … doesn't mean we can [tear down goalposts], too. Those kinds of celebrations [can result] in injury and death. It is also a federal offense to pull fire alarms. I can't see justification to support student celebrations that violate federal law, University policy, and NCAA guidelines. The sad part is that instead of focusing on the accomplishments of the team, focus is now on [Sunday night]'s incidents," Pramuk attested. What staff view as an embarrassing night, many students view as one of the best nights of their lives, and a sense of pride is evident among them. "I feel inspired," said freshman Gabriel Green, a linebacker, who was detained by DPS police after being one of the first to rush the goalposts. DPS handcuffed him, with his hands behind him, despite many protests from the crowd to handcuff him in front so he could continue to communicate. Green also commented that no rights were read to him after he was bound.

"I wasn't there, but how Gallaudet fans tore down the goalposts – it felt good to see that, and I'm happy that nobody got hurt. We are 8-0 after all, why not do something crazy?" asked an anonymous running back.

Several football players, who wished not to be identified out of fear of reprisals, also said they felt a sense of pride in their accomplishment of not only going undefeated, but also tearing down the goalposts. Freshman Hinda Kasher missed the whole eventful night due to a trip to New York. She arrived at Gallaudet at 4 a.m. and upon finding out what happened, she regretted missing the evening. "I'm mad that I missed this. I heard it was one of the best experiences of a lifetime. I'm disappointed because I wanted to be a part of Gallaudet history," said Kasher.

Sophomore Jamie Gaona, Jr., did not participate in the tearing down of the goalposts, but watched it unfold instead. He was inspired. "When I first saw the goalpost being torn down, I saw a symbol, because Gallaudet has [a losing record], they have always sucked, but I saw a barrier being broken. This shows that we have gained respect from other colleges, and they can't laugh or say shit about us anymore. The new goalpost will show that we have moved up and are ready for Division III football."

Not all the students shared that opinion. Graduate student Micah Brown found the situation to be embarrassing. "I'm very embarrassed about the goalpost incident. This is not the impression I wanted Gallaudet to have. Those responsible should be expelled from the University," stated Brown.

Many students were angry at DPS. They felt that DPS's reaction was unwarranted, and that excessive force was used. In addition, there was no interpreter provided for communications between students and police. "Not calling the GIS interpreters was an oversight on our part," admits DPS Chief Meloyde Batten-Mickens. "We had no idea what was going on at first on Sunday. All we knew was that Gallaudet property was being destroyed, and we needed to provide safety for the students. It was only later that we were informed of the reasons for students wanting to tear down the goalposts." DPS strongly feels that their response was warranted. "MPD was called in to assist us in controlling the situation. We had no clear idea what was going on initially, and we felt that we might need the assistance," says Captain Ron Tate, on duty Sunday night. "We thought that Saturday night was an isolated incident, and were not expecting another attempt on Sunday," he added. Chief Batten-Mickens promised improvements for future situations: "We plan to improve communication between DPS and the student body in order to prevent something like this from happening again. We would be more then happy to provide security if the students wanted to have a party in the middle of the field to celebrate. I applaud our team and their accomplishment, but that does not mean that they can destroy Gallaudet property," maintains Batten-Mickens.

Late Monday afternoon, an emergency meeting was held involving the CREs, Provost Fernandes, Dean Pramuk, and other top school officials. Following the meeting, the Provost sent out a campus wide email, expressing her disappointment in behavior of students, and promising action. "It is very possible that we will call a town hall meeting concerning what has happened. The students may not enjoy it, the University may not enjoy it, but we want this to be open. In addition, we are looking into expelling or suspending students who pulled fire alarms, and helped to organize the events of Sunday night," said Provost Fernandes. "We asked BisonTV to allow us to watch their tape from Sunday night so that we could get a clearer picture of the situation, and who was involved," adds the Provost. However, BisonTV denied that request. "BisonTV is a neutral party. We do not support any sides. Our tapes are for reporting, not for investigation," said Ian Jones, BisonTV cameraman supervisor. It has also become clear that communication among top officials is a problem; the Provost, when asked by The Buff and Blue, was unaware of Saturday's attempt, as were
the CREs.

Students can expect changes to be made at Gallaudet University. What will happen to the students who were involved in the melee, and what will become of next year's football team remains to be seen.

Two Pictures For Y'All: Enjoy these pictures.



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