Monday, October 16, 2006

1988 DPN's Letter

The DPN leaders from 1988 were mostly silent during the 2 week long protests. Bridgetta Bourne-Firl flew to DC last May. Greg Hlibok lives nearby and was seen around, but he did not publicly speak out. Jerry Covell was also mum somewhere in the Midwest as well as Tim Rarus up at CSD. These were my government classmates. In January 1988, at beginning of spring semester, our teacher, Mary Malzkuhn, who taught our Public Policy class, discussed the presidential selection process, the BoT, etc. She predicted that they would appoint yet another hearing individual with no background in deafness, but with administrative and financial background. We all discussed on how we can do to change that. January slipped in February, and the topic became more serious. It reached a near-boiling point in early March when I had to leave Gallaudet due to health issues. By then, Tim, Bridgetta, Jerry, and Greg were handpicked to lead/represent the student body. Greg and Tim just won the Student Body Government campaign as President and Vice President, Jerry for his great knowledge in Public Policy and research, and Bridgetta for her people skills, and possibly to draw the female body. I left wondering if these 4 would accomplish what they spoke of doing. Two weeks later, they announced Dr Elizabeth Zinser's appointment and things boiled over. DPN was born.

To think I missed all that! I witnessed the beginning and missed the ending. The rest is history. However, I was bewildered that the foursome were silent. Until Tim Rarus showed up last Friday, now termed as "Black Friday." I went, "Whew! Finally." These students needed inspiration and support, and these 4 were in position to give them! If they did it, so could they! I realize DPN of '88 could not compared to this new protest in its magnitude, but our original 4 leaders stood up and demanded to be HEARD! And led a campus into a protest. That is the inspiration. The current students needed them.

Tim's arrest completed a cycle. He was instrumental in getting IKJ appointed as president and also instrumental in him losing his legacy. How appropriate. IKJ got his just dessert. Tim lost nothing but IKJ lost a lot. Talk about "poetic justice." His arrest also brought forth the 3 others. They came back into the limelight. They wrote an open letter to IKJ and signed together.

I get the impression that IKJ would be a happier man if he is not reminded of these 4 leaders' roles in his becoming Gallaudet's president. They are 4 thorns in his side. IKJ insisted that the protest from 1988 was about civil rights and this protest is all about disliking Jane which does not justify the protest. He tries to justify his role and decisions in relation to current protests by making the 1988 protest a different circumstance/atmosphere and unrelated to the current protest. Good try, but no cigar. They are not so different. They are many parallels. Both protests are about students being not heard. The 1988 protest was about civil rights, indeed, but this protest is about paternalism. Both protests are about BoT who failed to hear and to acknowledge. BoT continue to display attitudes of planationism, paternalism and egocentricism. These were true in 1988 and still true now. Simply put, Both BoT and IKJ have one-track mentality and tunnel vision.

To quote Tim Rarus, "IKJ is not the same man from 20 years ago." He spoke true. He has become corrupt with power and ego. Over the past 18 years, we witnessed a man change from a "for people" person to "for me" person. He handpicked Jane Fernandes and handpicked BoT to shepherd them like a cattle dog to appoint Jane Fernandes. That much is quite clear.

The problem? We can't prove it.