21 October 2006

Another Beacon of Truth! The FSSA Protest in Disgrace!

Here is Mr. David King's interview with the Buff and Blue about his experience of the FSSA. Read on to see some painful truth:

Buff & Blue: Why did you leave the FSSA?

David King: I stepped down from FSSA because it hijacked its original goal and original agreement with the students of color. We agreed in FSSA to protest the flawed process and not attacking the person of Jane Fernandes. We even agreed that if the process was to be reopened and she is selected by fair process, we are going to accept her as the president. The issue of her incompetence to lead is out of question based on our agreement. I also asked if BOT feels that reopening the whole process is waste of resource and decided to appoint Mr. Ron Stern as the President, what should we do? At first white students almost jumped into jubilee and we have to remind them why the students of color will feel used. However by the end of day, we concluded that we will reject any appointment unless any of 3 finalists emerged from a new process. However in FSSA today, it holds too many reasons for the protest and most reasons can be sorted out through dialogue and negotiation. People injected their personal agendas into FSSA as we are seeing now. Some are seeking to score personal vengeances against the administration or Dr. Jane Fernandes, so in that case I refuse be used. Another problem is that FSSA lacks leadership. SBG is not leading the FSSA, so it is like a ship where everyone is a captain.

Buff & Blue: How do you think the protest's methods are wrong? Can you please elaborate on this?

David King: Because there are too many issues in the protest that it eventually lost its direction. For instance, they are protesting Management By Intimidation, administration policies, low admission enrollment, low number of graduating students, graduation with low grades by students of color, audism, racism, non-recognition of ASL and d/Deaf culture, poor or low academic standard, low number of successful employed graduates, lack of accountability and transparency, even some are protesting allegedly that “she threatened me.” If these reasons for protesting are authentic, then we are in a wrong protest, because none of us can fully guarantee either Dr. Stephen Weiner or Mr. Ron Stern’s administration will halt these problems instantly. Hence, these numerous valid problems in the University which can only be resolved through proper dialogue and negotiation are allowed to censor or shadow original reason which I think is non-negotiable. Since FSSA chooses to focus and champion on negotiable issues as reason for protesting, I think that we should equally adopt negotiable approaches in resolving these identified problems and concerns.

Regarding the methods, we need to take a look at protest in May 2006. We did some lockdowns, but the university’s business operation was not impaired. We were more civil and more diplomatic than we are today. At the beginning of the academic year 2006/2007, SBG/FSSA provided a presentation that eloquently stated protest will (i) be void of violence and harassment, and (ii) not interrupts with norms and academic activities of the university. However what we have seen last week protest is contradict to FSSA/SBG’s creed.

The students of color asked that process to be reopened even before finalist was selected and announced, was our way of holding the BOT responsible for their action, and pray for explanations for their decision why they think it was okay for PSC to select Mr. Ron Stern without PhD and college administration over a black man with PhD and more qualifications? We demand explanation, and whereas BOT cannot justify their action, they will be left with no choice than to reopen the search process, whether it directly affects Dr. Jane Fernandes or not, it will be BOT/Fernandes’ business. In this way we would have shown that we don’t attack her person; we would have shown that we have nothing to do with her competence or incompetence; we would have shown that the protest is not rooted on the outcome of the selection, or because “she threatened me.” Unfortunately the protesters did not realize that there is difference between demanding reopen of presidential search process and demanding Dr. Jane Fernandes to resign. By demanding search process to be reopened we placed responsibility upon BOT and hold them accountable, while demanding Dr. Fernandes’s resignation, we are placing an optional choice upon an individual. Much as the latter matters, Dr. Fernandes’ fundamental right to make an optional choice for which she strongly believes in cannot be overemphasized. If we respect her right to make a choice, then her choice not to resign become non-negotiable. The only option left is for her employer to terminate her appointment or cancel the offer, and such action bears handsome prices to pay.

Buff & Blue: Did you feel intimidated by the FSSA members?

David King: To better answer this question, I think we should ask who FSSA members are. How do we know that one is member of FSSA or not? This might sound complicate. What I think is that FSSA identifies all protesters as members as long as the person attends their rallies, walks out of classroom and acts under direction of FSSA. Having said who FSSA members are, I tried so hard not to feel intimidated, though I received so many intimidating messages from the protesters and their tactics includes, discovering my academic performance and financial situation with Gallaudet University to listserv, discussing my personal and private family life on listserv, blogs and vlogs. In fact since I stepped down from FSSA, I have been labeled so many names such as rapist, racist, sexist, bigot, moron, mole, and pig, sold-out and so on. The most frightening is that an angry student facing me calls me a traitor. Other example of intimidation actions occurred when FSSA member took a quick picture of The Concerned Students meeting without our consent and fled away. Again when a group of concerned students was seeking to meet with SBG president in SBG office, I was asked by one of a FSSA member to check the HMB Atrium and Dr. Donlada Ammons confronted by the doorway querying me “what are you here.” I pointed her to the guy who asked me to check the Atrium, Dr. Ammons told me vexingly that I cannot enter and must leave now, she they turned to the man and queried, “know who he is?’, then continued, “That is David King, he is the troublemaker.” I really felt hurt and awful inside that such statement would come from a professor toward a student in middle of crowds. Whatsoever Dr. Ammons means by “he is the troublemaker”, only she can explain. But that is an intimidation of century I can think of. The concerned students who witnessed this hostile feel intimidated too. Up till this interview, I have not received any statement from Dr. Ammons apologizing for her action. I keep thinking about her and her statement about me, the damage she did to my innocent reputation. I just cannot believe Dr. Ammons, white and an international deaf figure would stoop too low to accuse a black boy and student who have never for once done any thing to her but merely were disagreeing with the protest she is involved.

Buff & Blue: Do you think the FSSA oppressed others' right to an education?

David King: Whether the FSSA masterminded the lockdown of HMB and later entire campus or not, bottom line is that the protesters absolutely oppressed the right of others to an education. I heard the protesters saying that they are willing to put their education on hold and I strongly agree with their choice but they don’t have right to hold education of others hostage or at ransom. You may want to ask how old are those who are willing to put their education on hold that long? The 18ies and 20ies might have more times but not the 30ies. Alumni, faculty and staff who aid effect the hostage of education have nothing to loss, as they have their degrees and jobs to keep inflow of paychecks, with or without Gallaudet University. By lockdown the university they are shutting down the gate of learning, the gate of education, the gate of career prosperity and the gate of academic freedom. Also the protesters oppressed pre-school, elementary and high school students whose institute is sited on campus as well.

As we all are told, the lockdown of university was done by football team. FSSA denied being part of HMB lockdown. But FSSA and SBG are still to make any formal statement in good faith condemning any action taken by an individual or group of individuals that impede learning and academic activities. Faculty’s three hours meeting on Monday, October 16, 2006 ended up without a statement condemning the lockdown of the university that denied them the right to dutifully teach their students who paid the university or even painful of campus mass arresting of students. All they care about was to pass more votes of no confidence. I guess when next there is a Faculty Senate meeting; we should be expecting votes of no confidence (laughing).

By large, the actions of BOT, administration, faculty, staff students and alumni don’t suggest to be indemnifying the university and our learning environment.

Buff & Blue: Will you be suing the FSSA with a lawsuit?

David King: FSSA washed its hands off the lockdown. Though many laws were broken including the No Child Left Behind law, the Concerned Students of Gallaudet University considered it necessary to walk the talk by being civil to protesters and engage them in reasonable discussion. Lawsuit is adding salt to the wound and which is not advisable. We hope that all parties involved will try to meet at round table so we can start healing procedure in the university.
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At 8:26 AM, Anonymous InsideGally said...

I am SO glad and proud of David for speaking out. He has brought to light what we have all known that the protesters have been using race and audism as a camouflage for another agenda. They could care less about addressing racism and audism and, worse, they have used those two very serious issues for personal ends. They want their way and we have to deal with their tantrum. Thank you, David!

At 11:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

you have me backing you up. I feel for you and many others who are at Gallaudet to get an education. Myself for one has ben threatened or slandered for my position in deafeducation regardless of my status as a deaf of deaf. i applaud you for your courage in standing up for what you believe in.

i sure hope the situation at gallaudet would calm down very soon.

an admirer

At 12:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am in awe of David King... in a few paragraphs, he has summed up everything that I think is wrong with the protest too. What a shame that his common sense and cool head was not given more of a leadership role in the protest. The protest has gotten way too emotional and far away from the facts.

At 12:13 PM, Anonymous jbo said...

The irony is that these protesters want the very person who is at the lead on the diversity plan to step down. If JK resigns who will complete her work on the detailed diversity plan to address racism, audism, sexism, homophobia, etc at Gally? Stern, Weiner, Rosen? I think not.

At 10:00 PM, Blogger Carley D. Carbin said...

I am glad that David King have realized what was in FSSA's agenda. What is bothering me is that people do not believe David King. Yet, they called him different names which was unnecessary. That have raised me a question about FSSA's faculty and staff's professionalism.


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