FACTS vs. FICTIONS – a Response to JKFernandes' quotes in the Chronicle article

FACTS vs. FICTIONS – JKF please stop talking to the media

A response to JK Fernandes comments in Paul Basken’s article, “A Year After Protests, Gallaudet Sees Progress, but Key Dispute Remains,” which appeared in the Chronicle of Higher Education (Tuesday, October 16, 2007)

FICTION #1:

JKF – “The protesters objected to my vision that Gallaudet needed to become an inclusive deaf university, where all kinds of deaf people are valued and respected,” Ms. Fernandes told The Chronicle in an e-mail message on Monday.

FACT #1:

Wait a minute – before you said it was beause you were not “Deaf enough” now you are saying its because the protestors objected to your vision?

Protestors’ official reasons for objecting to Dr. Fernandes as new President were: the search process was flawed and Dr. Fernandes’ leadership style was not harmonious with the campus climate.

Her continual spreading of myths in the media seems to reinforce why a large majority of Faculty, Staff, Students and Community members opposed her “leadership as provost and future president.”

FICTION #2:

JKF – “The new mission seems to be aimed at creating the opposite kind of university – an exclusive one catering to those who grow up using ASL as their native language.”

FACT #2:
Her use of the terms “inclusive and exclusive” do not fit normal reasoning skills.

Are not the stakeholders of this Institution to be included in the decision-making and consensus building in terms of selecting a new president and also establishing a new mission?

It seems the former administration’s approach was to be EXCLUSIVE in their decision making and failed to INCLUDE stakeholders in selecting their new president and forming their new vision for Gallaudet.

During the march on the Capitol last fall, we saw that the protestors reflected the broadest and best meaning of the word INCLUSION: young/old, gay/straight, deaf/hearing, CI/non-CI, ASL users / SEE users, Deaf-blind/Sighted, a variety of ethnicities, racial backgrounds, and educational experiences, etc.

Yet somehow they continually get labeled as EXCLUSIVE?

FICTION #3:

JKF – the University’s descent into probationary status instead is related to the protests over her appointment as president, Ms. Fernandes said. “The resulting complete disruption to the academic enterprise,” she said, caused the Middle States commission, “as well as other groups, to closely scrutinize all aspects of the university.”

FACT #3:

Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) put Gallaudet U. on probation after finding it out of compliance on eight of the organization’s 14 standards. The MSCHE sited issues with leadership, integrity, and student retention.

Leadership – that means the administration specifically, of which JKF was provost (without shared governance for her appointment for several years, and not the protestors.

It also is about the fact that the Board and administration has TWICE (DPN and UFG) ignored the groundswell of cries from the campus and Deaf community in terms of who they wanted to be President.

Integrity – that relates to administration, deans, and chairs in terms of grade inflation and other ethical decision-making and processes (or lack of in this case).

Student retention – that relates again to how the University was RUN and how student retention was not a priority.

None of these issues fault the protestors themselves.

The citation for probationary status focus on failed leadership / administrative issues.

FICTION #4:

JKF – “Ms. Fernandes said that as provost, she had tried to balance English with American Sign Language, and now watches as the “current leadership embraces the use of ASL in a more monolingual context.” That’s a mistake, Ms. Fernandes warns.

FACT #4:

Most, if not all, of the students’ course work while at Gallaudet has been in English (reading and writing).

Under JK Fernandes stewardship as provost students did NOT need to take a minimum of one ASL course for their core requirements, faculty and staff were NOT expected to use sign language in public areas, and national conferences hosted at Gallaudet were often presented in spoken English with a sign language interpreter present.

How was it that she needed to actually INCREASE English to balance things out???? How can she claim the “current leadership embraces the use of ASL in a more monolingual context” – the current president of Gallaudet speaks and signs simultaneously. The new mission advocates for BI-lingualism –last time I check “bi” – was a prefix for TWO not one.

I have never seen ANY Deaf Institute or ANY institute that exists within a majority culture try to instruct their pupils in ONE language only. Every educator acknowledges that approach would be detrimental to the student.

FICTION #5:

JKF – Deaf students need to learn American Sign Language for their cultural identity, but need to learn English to become “gainfully employed” and otherwise succeed in the outside world, she said.

FACT #5:
Duh! I think we ALL know the value of mastering English in our society. In fact under Dr. Fernandes’ leadership Gallaudet graduates had an abysmal hiring record. Was this because she didn’t properly advocate for English or because she prevented EQUAL respect and use of English and ASL as part of the curriculum?

Also, what’s up with regulating ASL to be solely an aid for cultural identity and not having an academic purpose or benefit?

Dr. JKF – have you studied bilingualism – i know u know several languages but do u really understand bilingualism as an accepted and bonafide educational approach?

FICTION #6:

JKF – The accreditors therefore are correct to ask Gallaudet whether it will find enough deaf students who will want to be educated in an environment dominated by sign language, she said.

“Obviously this relates to the future demographic pool of deaf students in which currently 80 percent attend public schools, and 20 percent attend separate residential schools. Each year increasing numbers of deaf infants receive cochlear implants,” Ms. Fernandes added. “Many of these children will grow up without needing ASL and without exposure to it.”

FACT #6:

If true-biz the future children receiving cochlear implants and/or attending mainstream schools will not need ASL (and this has not yet been consistently proven) – then why would they go to Gallaudet University at all – regardless of whether or not Gallaudet is English only, ASL only, or bi-bi. If their hearing, lipreading and speaking abilities are going to make them almost “hearing,” why wouldn’t they want to go to a “hearing” college?

If JKFernandes is really concerned about drawing in new and more students – the first and foremost thing on her mind should be IMPROVING THE QUALITY AND STANDARDS of the education Gallaudet University provides. This is really what will ensure the future growth and success of Gallaudet University. This will hopefully be a positive outcome of the MSCHE probation. Some good should come out of this turmoil.

peace

p

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14 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Katherine
    Oct 19, 2007 @ 18:40:34

    Thank you so much, Patti! This is a well deserved post that needs to be heard.

    I can’t believe the length JKF and IKJ have taken to damage our precious language, ASL, and Gallaudet University as a fine Institution.

  2. Carl Schroeder
    Oct 19, 2007 @ 21:15:29

    I think JKF needs to realize that we protest her “ME, ME and ME” stance. Her vision, her purpose, her intention, her thought, her ideas….they all are illusory. ASL is for real, and it needs its language conterpart English, not communication or cochlear implants!

  3. Katherine
    Oct 20, 2007 @ 00:42:33

    Media needs to be exposed to this blog, Patti!
    Enough of the likes of JKF and IKJ monopolizing the attention of media. This is a well deserved post that needs to be heard by everyone.

    It saddens me the length J.K Fernandes have been taking that does more harm than good for the well being of the Deaf community.

  4. A longtime NAD Member
    Oct 20, 2007 @ 06:06:37

    Excellent, excellent, excellent!

    This is what the deaf world needs to see and understand why JKF should never return to Gallaudet ever again.

    Why can’t NAD (and GUAA) help Gallaudet under this circumstance to make sure JKF is forever ousted from Gallaudet University?

  5. A longtime NAD Member
    Oct 20, 2007 @ 06:08:11

    No, I should have said “banned from Gallaudet University.”

    Yes, one more…your comments need to be shared with the media. For starters, can you submit to Washington Post and the New York Times?

  6. pdurr
    Oct 20, 2007 @ 06:16:04

    thanks all for ur comments

    hey Katherine – i too am saddened – big time

    originally my view of the protest was about students’ rights and shared governance – i didnt know JKF at all – the more i see of her as she allows herself to be quoted in the media – the more i realize how RIGHT people were to protest her leadership. Sadly both JKF and IKJ have really made Gallaudet the sacrifical lamb for their own visability and legacy. It is backfiring continuously

    i hope and pray (literally i do) that they will see the light and how their “representation” is harming Gally

    peace

    p

  7. pdurr
    Oct 20, 2007 @ 06:23:22

    long time NAD member

    oh pls dont get me started on the NAD – smile

    i have been watching them and praying also that they would wake up and become an ADVOCACY group in the spirit of which Veditz lead them many years ago

    i dont see it – it pops and wavers

    im still hopeful though – wish they would call a video town meeting – set up a caucus group etc

    re: washington post – i can send them the posting (and the chronicle – ill clean it up a bit so its not so informal or tongue in cheek) but it just gets dumped into the email with thousands of other submissions – i really think u need a connection or clout to get an editorial published there – JKF AND IKJ – have such connections. I do not. if anyone has connections at the post – feel free to copy and send

    u can see 2 responses i had sent to the washington post – each immediately after JKF and IKJ’s editorials had run last year

    http://blog.deafread.com/pote/2007/10/12/past-postings-in-asl-community-journal/

    this is why i begged JKF not to tak to the media any more – i really have better use of my time than trying to draw attention to “the error of their ways” for the record

    peace

    p

  8. ASL Risen
    Oct 20, 2007 @ 07:32:42

    yep about WAPO is the most popular media which my local newspaper did copied from WAPO all the times! Duh! I know that my local newspaper, St. Louis is not the only one city. There are many cities and small towns local news did copied and published from WAPO!

  9. RLM
    Oct 20, 2007 @ 09:54:02

    Patricia Durr,

    PLEASE send a letter of rebuttal to the Chronicles of Higher Education editor(s) what you recently compose your blog posting.

    We really need someone like you writing to this same national publication to show contradictions of JFK with her public statements! 🙂 Thanks!

    Robert L. Mason (RLM)

  10. Deb Ann
    Oct 21, 2007 @ 08:08:38

    We NEED to get rid of her!

  11. Trackback: FACTS vs. FICTIONS - a Response to JKFernandes’ quotes in the … | hostsq
  12. Jean Boutcher
    Oct 22, 2007 @ 09:50:36

    Patti,

    I hope you will consider submitting your essay not only to the editor of the Chronicles of Higher Education but also to the editor of The Washington Post. The public must know the
    truth about Jane Kelleher Fernandes.

  13. pdurr
    Oct 22, 2007 @ 19:40:02

    hi all

    i have tidied up the posting above a bit and sent it in to the author of the article in the Chronicles as well as sent it to the Chronicles on-line editorial submission area

    checked washington post and it must be much shorter and would need alot of re-working to fit their audience who might not be familiar with the chronicle’s article

    under the gun right now so i cant re-write something for the WaPo – and i really think u need connections so if anyone has time – pls send them a response

    peace

    pdurr
    ——————

    Dear Mr. Basken

    Thank you for writing about Gallaudet University in your article “A Year
    After Protests, Gallaudet Sees Progress, but Key Dispute Remains,” which
    appeared in the Chronicle of Higher Education (Tuesday, October 16, 2007)

    Gallaudet’s probationary status is a very serious one and a prestigious
    publication like the Chronicle’s I’m sure would want to get the facts right.

    As a professor at a fellow Deaf college, I am concerned about some of the
    misinformation that appears in your article via the quotes by Dr. Jane
    Fernandes. If at all possible – could you direct the below to the attention
    for editorials, rebuttals or corrections in the Chronicle?
    ———————-
    A response to quotes in “A Year After Protests, Gallaudet Sees Progress, but
    Key Dispute Remains,” which appeared in the Chronicle of Higher Education
    (Tuesday, October 16, 2007) by ousted Gallaudet President, Dr. Jane
    Fernandes who will resume teaching at Gallaudet University this spring.

    FICTION #1:

    JKF – “The protesters objected to my vision that Gallaudet needed to
    become an inclusive deaf university, where all kinds of deaf people are
    valued and respected,” Ms. Fernandes told The Chronicle in an e-mail message
    on Monday.

    FACT #1:

    Originally Dr. Fernandes was proclaiming to the media that the protestors
    objected to her appointment because she was “not Deaf enough” now she has
    claims it was because they contested her vision for Gallaudet?

    Protestors’ official reasons for objecting to Dr. Fernandes as new President
    were: the search process was flawed and Dr. Fernandes’ leadership style was
    not harmonious with the campus climate.

    Her continual spreading of myths in the media seems to reinforce why a large
    majority of Faculty, Staff, Students and Community members opposed her
    “leadership as provost and future president.”

    FICTION #2:

    JKF – “The new mission seems to be aimed at creating the opposite kind
    of university – an exclusive one catering to those who grow up using ASL as
    their native language.”

    FACT #2:
    Fernandes’ use of the terms “inclusive and exclusive” do not fit normal
    reasoning skills.

    Are not the stakeholders of this Institution to be included in the
    decision-making and consensus building in terms of selecting a new president
    and also establishing a new mission?

    It seems the former administration’s approach was to be EXCLUSIVE in their
    decision making and failed to INCLUDE stakeholders in selecting their new
    president and forming their new vision for Gallaudet.

    During the march on the Capitol last fall, we saw that the protestors
    reflected the broadest and best meaning of the word INCLUSION: young/old,
    gay/straight, deaf/hearing, CI/non-CI, ASL users / SEE users,
    Deaf-blind/Sighted, a variety of ethnicities, racial backgrounds, and
    educational experiences, etc.

    Yet somehow they continually get labeled as EXCLUSIVE? The former
    administration at Gallaudet has tried to paint a picture of the protestors
    as clannish and luddites when in fact a great deal of the success of the
    protest is due to the speed in which the Deaf community tapped into
    technological advances to reach out to the international community on the
    issue of shared governance and diversity.

    FICTION #3:

    JKF – the University’s descent into probationary status instead is
    related to the protests over her appointment as president, Ms. Fernandes
    said. “The resulting complete disruption to the academic enterprise,” she
    said, caused the Middle States commission, “as well as other groups, to
    closely scrutinize all aspects of the university.”

    FACT #3:

    Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) put Gallaudet U. on
    probation after finding it out of compliance on eight of the organization’s
    14 standards. The MSCHE sited issues with leadership, integrity, and student
    retention.

    Leadership – that means the administration specifically, of which JKF was
    provost (without shared governance for her appointment for several years)
    and not the protestors.

    It also is about the fact that the Board and administration has TWICE (Deaf
    President Now ’88 protest and Unity For Gallaudet protest ’06) ignored the
    groundswell of cries from the campus and Deaf community-at-large in terms of
    who they wanted to be President.

    Integrity – that relates to administration, deans, and chairs in terms of
    grade inflation and other ethical decision-making and processes (or lack of
    in this case).

    Student retention – that relates again to how the University was RUN and how
    student retention was not a priority.

    None of these issues fault the protestors themselves.

    The citation for probationary status focus on failed leadership /
    administrative issues.

    FICTION #4:

    JKF – “Ms. Fernandes said that as provost, she had tried to balance
    English with American Sign Language, and now watches as the ‘current
    leadership embraces the use of ASL in a more monolingual context.’ That’s a
    mistake, Ms. Fernandes warns.”

    FACT #4:

    Most, if not all, of the students’ course work while at Gallaudet has been
    in English (reading and writing).

    Under JK Fernandes stewardship as provost students did NOT have to take any
    ASL courses for their core requirements, faculty and staff were NOT expected
    to use sign language in public areas, and national conferences hosted at
    Gallaudet were often presented in spoken English with a sign language
    interpreter present.

    How was it that she needed to actually INCREASE English to balance things
    out???? How can she claim the “current leadership embraces the use of ASL in
    a more monolingual context” – the current president of Gallaudet speaks and
    signs simultaneously. The new mission advocates for Bilingualism. BI being
    a prefix for TWO languages.

    I have never seen ANY Deaf Institute or ANY institute that exists within a
    majority culture try to instruct their pupils in ONE language only. Every
    educator acknowledges that approach would be detrimental to the student.

    FICTION #5:

    JKF – Deaf students need to learn American Sign Language for their
    cultural identity, but need to learn English to become “gainfully employed”
    and otherwise succeed in the outside world, she said.

    FACT #5:
    I think we ALL know the value of mastering English in our society. In fact
    under Dr. Fernandes’ leadership, Gallaudet graduates had an abysmal hiring
    record. Was this because she didn’t properly advocate for English or because
    she prevented EQUAL respect and use of English and ASL as part of the
    curriculum?

    Also, what’s up with regulating ASL to be solely an aid for cultural
    identity and not having an academic purpose or benefit?

    FICTION #6:

    JKF – The accreditors therefore are correct to ask Gallaudet whether it
    will find enough deaf students who will want to be educated in an
    environment dominated by sign language, she said.

    “Obviously this relates to the future demographic pool of deaf students
    in which currently 80 percent attend public schools, and 20 percent attend
    separate residential schools. Each year increasing numbers of deaf infants
    receive cochlear implants,” Ms. Fernandes added. “Many of these children
    will grow up without needing ASL and without exposure to it.”

    FACT #6:

    If the future children receiving cochlear implants and/or attending
    mainstream schools will not need ASL (and this has not yet been consistently
    proven) – then why would they go to Gallaudet University at all – regardless
    of whether or not Gallaudet is English only, ASL only, or bi-bi. If their
    hearing, lipreading and speaking abilities are going to make them almost
    “hearing,” why wouldn’t they want to go to a “hearing” college?

    If JKFernandes is really concerned about drawing in new and more students –
    the first and foremost thing on her mind should be IMPROVING THE QUALITY AND
    STANDARDS of the education Gallaudet University provides. This is really
    what will ensure the future growth and success of Gallaudet University. This
    will hopefully be a positive outcome of the MSCHE probation. Some good
    should come out of this turmoil.

    Peace,

    Patti Durr
    Durr is an Associate Professor of Deaf Studies and Social Science at the
    National Technical Institute for the Deaf, a college of the Rochester
    Institute of Technology in Rochester, NY.

  14. DE
    Oct 28, 2007 @ 06:57:43

    Wow. What a rebuttal. I adore you, Patti!

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