Blogging the Gallaudet Protest
The protests at Gallaudet University have spilled over into the blogosphere. Most of the blogs support the students, faculty and alumni who object to the appointment of Jane K. Fernandes as president of the school for the deaf. But there is a range of opinion. The online chat forum alldeaf, for example, has threads debating the issues behind the protest. Here is a sampling of the blogs.
POV: Y-three supports the protests and wants Fernandes to resign. But its blogger-in-chief, Gallaudet alum Tayler Mayer, says he is "a strong believer in freedom of speech." So he developed DeafRead.com, a blog aggregator for issues concerning the deaf community, where all views on the protest are published -- even those from Gallaudet's official blog.
FYI: Y-three is the official blog of TaylerInfomedia, a Web development company started by Mayer, who provides technical assistance to other blogs representing the deaf community.
Sample post: "With Fernandes' prevalent arrogance, would you consider a hearing candidate for Gallaudet University's 9th President, replacing Fernandes?"
POV: Gallaudet grad Ricky D. Taylor, who says he is "arguably the most controversial deaf blogger in America," participates in protest activities and makes no attempt to hide his frustration with Fernandes' appointment.
FYI: Since the protests began, RidorLive.com's traffic has nearly quadrupled, says Taylor. The blog's name is actually an acronym of his name: Ricky D. Taylor.
Sample post: "Then there was a vote which Fernandes suggested the students [in her first-year seminar] to vote, the vote was to eject her as the instructor. If she cannot control 15 students, what makes you think she can control 1,800 students at Gallaudet?"
POV: Entrenched with the protesters in their "tent-city" at the school's front gate, '06 grad Elisa Abuchuchan blogs about events as they happen. She says, "I personally support the protest but I try to present more factual information rather than my opinions."
FYI: Abuchuchan, a '06 graduate, has been blogging since the protests began on May 1. On some days, she posts 10 updates or more.
Sample post: "David Simmons and Christine Roschaert [on a hunger strike] talked to the crowd. They explained that they were starving for real, quality education. They are starving for linguistic equality, the university needs to recognize ASL as an official language, not sim-com. English classes and foreign language classes are required, but no ASL classes are required. They are starving for social justice. They are starving for a real president. Jordan and Fernandes’s goal is to divide and conquer, twisting things to the media. They are starving for the presidential search process to be reopened. They want a transparent process that includes the faculty, the staff, students, and alumni."
POV: The Web site of Gallaudet professor Earl Parks is dedicated to "debunking myths about Gallaudet's ninth president" Jane K. Fernandes. It also examines issues behind the protests.
FYI: 9th Prez also contains information on Gallaudet's presidential appointment process, Fernandes' track record and her vision for the future of the university.
Sample post: "Much of what has been written and offered up on many of the Web sites and blog sites that have sprung up in response to the series of events associated with the presidential transition at Gallaudet University has often been confusing, emotional, erroneous, fictional, and sometimes mean and hateful."
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