Encouraging Suicide at Gallaudet University

29570823_10156415018265854_2774309414350188974_n.jpg

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention:

My name is Jason “JT” Tozier. I am a survivor of “encouraging” towards suicide tendencies by Gallaudet University because of my status as Deaf returnee. I thank you for your honest leadership, and commit to human healing to continue and share awareness about suicide prevention.

I am even more heart-broken that Gallaudet University is hosting Out of the Darkness Campus Walk sponsored by Gallaudet University, Office of Student Affairs and Academic Support and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention on Thursday, April 5th, 2018.

I was subjected to cruel and unusual punishment. I was forced to explain why I was jailed 21 years ago front of my graduate cohort and faculty members every time I enter into classroom setting up for suicidal tendencies. Silence hurts. If I do not explain why, then I would face harsh punishment. Possibly expelled from Gallaudet University.

This is not because of oppression and bullying or even lack of trust; instead, the meeting I was in 2014 was one of the most oppressive meetings in my life, such of them do not acknowledge that they were bystanders because they do not think they were. Therefore, it is not enough to ask an individual whether he was oppressed from oppressors.

Society can reinforce the oppressor’s self-blame in several ways. When shaming and humiliation is discovered on Gallaudet campus, the oppressed is often removed from the truth. People who experienced severe oppression often tell the truth from experience.

The bullying allows even by Gallaudet University who would argue that shaming, bullying, and humiliation has nothing to do with their behavior, I am merely the most convenient target; I became powerless. Which explanation is more comforting to Deaf returnee?

Gallaudet University choose to stay in silence is a reversal of roles and identities. Here’s my story: Don’t know if I have really conveyed how hard it has been for me all these years, how I really struggle in there through lots of depression, sometimes no sleep, I would struggle more, some days I’ve dealt with crossing between honest concern, and learning.

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, I hope you would hear my story. I have more to share. Just like this one, “Stories have to be told or they die, and when they die, we can’t remember who we are or why we’re here.”—Sue Monk Kidd.

I actually died for ten minutes. I’m back from death and ready to share more stories. I guess my sensitivity has become stronger, deeper, and smarter. Gallaudet University was not honest about it. How can we prevent another suicide if Gallaudet University was not honest about it? Is there a Mask of Benevolence there?

191073-131-0D844C57.jpg

-JT

Copyright © 2018 Jason Tozier

This text may be freely copied in its entirely only, including this copyright message.

 

 

Advertisements

Ted Baran: Abuse of Power Isn’t Cool

Dwight Benedict: Stop the Practice of Discrimination, Shaming, and Cruel Punishment

Why I was Rejected A Future Doctoral Degree

icon_pencilandpaper-1024x1024.png

I had experienced plenty of subsequent financial hardships for the last 20 years and the likelihood of getting a higher education was much difficult with receiving threats and harassment and I also experienced adverse consequences including stigmatization and differential treatment by BIT (Behavioral Intervention Team) and the university, not only that but I experienced great deal of depression, anxiety, or fear at best.

My family experienced the unintended consequences as well that it has impacted my family’s ability to support me in my effort to avoid recidivism and successfully reintegrate. As for getting higher education at a university, I was seeking for; I already marked as “high risk” to the campus because of something happened almost 30 years ago.

They became a social disorganization for my future and the biggest reason I seek higher education is the economics, so I can pursue further education to earn my doctoral in the tentative field of Deaf Inmates as Forgotten People” but in the very meeting with the BIT (Dwight Benedict, Carl Pramunk, Ted Baran, Lauri Rush, Dirksen Bauman, and Carol Erting) I was treated like a criminal and got characterized by their own neglect, the stress was so great that it affected my health and my family, they also experience similar stigma what I was going through with greater social isolation even my family are afraid that my safety was at higher risk due to public disclosure at an university very much to make sure I kept out from engaging into an university community activities.

My professional intention is clear: to enter the world of higher teaching and learning and immerse myself in the community of my own—Deaf community where the need is. There is a point that they treat me that I am a criminal to the bone and cannot be rehabilitated even if it was not my fault or I had a rough childhood life. In the end, the university made sure that I am liable for my consequences for my actions no matter what happened to me in my past. Their ignorance and makes the public much harder to see what they profiled me around.

When I was accepted to enroll into a graduate school and received full scholarship, I cried of joy. I cried because there is a hope that I would get better. I was so enthusiastic to meet professors and students at a university. During the new graduate student orientation week, I was made to think about doing my thesis. I wanted to write about Deaf inmates as the forgotten people.

The university has offered to threat my fair education. I never got any open and frank polite communication, but it is no secret that the university is very one-sided and they eluded my dignity from becoming a normal human being again. I was sitting on my couch and felt great length of pain in my heart and my eyes were about to weep—then my mind tell me to stay strong and keep my head up.

Arrow.png

There is one of my favorite stories, Odysseus, a warrior leader who got lost while sailing home. In every landing, he experienced many unthinkable incidents. Upon his arrival at home, he was alone and the home is not the same place where he left some 20 years ago. He had to fight to win back his wife and the home. It was the toughest Odysseus had ever had. In my struggle for 20+ years of searching for help, I am Odysseus in my own name, my survival is my home, and Deafhood is my odyssey.

Here are the scholarship recommendations with two letter samples:

To the Scholarship Committee,

I am writing on behalf of one of my more impressive students, Jason Tozier. I first met Jason in 2007. He has been a student in some of my more demanding classes. He did great work in my Hate Crimes class (Soc 430), in which students have to conduct original research projects. His paper, “Negative Perceptions of Deaf Individuals in Relation to Knowledge of American Sign Language,” was an excellent piece of scholarship and gave me a taste of Jason’s commitment to the rights of deaf people. He also was an active participant in my Criminology class (Soc 418), where he was part of a discussion group on ID theft and wrote a wonderful paper on the subject. Additionally, Jason was a student in my Contemporary Theory class (Soc 302), in which students have to digest some rather dense material, review texts and diagram theories. In each of these classes, Jason brought his unique perspective to the class and everyone, including myself, as benefitted.

I have also gotten to know Jason in his role as an activist. He has helped me to understand the issues that deaf people face on a much deeper level. This includes the debate within the deaf community over the use of cochlear implants. In 2010, Jason (along with Carl Schroeder) presented to the Oregon Coalition Against Hate Crimes, of which I have been the chair since 2002. Their presentation helped the coalition to better understand how hate crimes affect people with disabilities. That presentation led to a meeting with Oregon Attorney General John Kroger to advocate for the inclusion of “disability” in Oregon’s bias crime statutes. In 2011, Kroger presented such a bill to the Oregon legislature. That bill was passed and the new expanded hate crime law went into effect on January 1, 2012. This was a direct result of Jason Tozier’s commitment to this issue.

Jason Tozier is a rare find. He mixes passion and intellect in a search for real world solutions. I believe he would do important work and Gallaudet and I would like to see him get every opportunity to attend. I am proud to recommend him for any scholarships or awards that would be appropriate.

Dear Scholarship Committee:

I first met Jason Tozier in my 2011 Methodology of the Oppressed course, and I am honored to have this opportunity to recommend him for support in his bright future at Gallaudet.  From the very first day I met Jason, I was extremely impressed with his intelligence, academic ability, passion, independence, motivation, and most significantly his fortitude through situations that have at times been challenging.  Furthermore, Jason is an extremely positive, personable, and humorous individual.

In class, Jason immediately impressed me with his ability to not just quickly comprehend the material, but also synthesize it with other academic theories, as well personal experiences. Typically, I am impressed with students who can synthesize complex academic theories at the Graduate level.  Jason’s thirst for knowledge and passion for reading complex texts gives him this ability naturally; without the training most advanced students require being capable of this level of comprehension.  To make this trait even more powerful and effective, Jason grounds his academic intellect in his personal experiences, which at times would make the average person give up.  He conveys this connection passionately and gracefully in the classroom, as well as his everyday interactions.  He is a critical thinker, grounded in the passion of his knowledge, and extremely capable as a scholar and future educator. 

Jason Tozier is not only academically capable, but also a very genuine and authentic person. I am confident that any investment made in his future that will aid him in continuing his studies and professional endeavors will be more than worth the time, faith, and investment.  He will surely bring pride and honor to you fine program given his natural talent, intellect, and life experiences.  Please do not hesitate to contact me if I may provide further information in Jason s support.  Thank you.

ASL/Deaf Studies department was supposed to heal Deaf people from their wounds—yet, seemingly uncomfortable with actually leading Deaf returning citizen where they might not otherwise want to sponsor. The department were trying to find a balance of policies that will please both professors and the administration who hoped for so much from them and those who hated the minute I walk into the building which indicates both a streak of educational ignorance and a practical Gallaudet’s value of compromise.

It would be very symbolic when you join your precious faculty.

In the meeting with Dwight was one of the most hateful and bigoted I ever experienced, by setting boundaries on appropriate behavior, discouraging Deaf returned citizens, for example, from standing up for their beliefs, Dwight Benedict chose to justify the Administration’s decision to keep them from expressing the full range of their talents and sensibilities. Not only do Deaf returning citizens suffer, but also the Deaf community as a whole becomes more vulnerable.

Dwight Benedict has a propensity for turning the Deaf community upside down. He seems to explore the extremes and opts for hate speech and bigotry as a new-coming-into-a-true-power group when he claims Deaf returning citizens to be unstable for Deaf community. When Deaf returning citizens were able to express every part of their own beings with enthusiasm, Gallaudet University tapped the power of having me marked on black list in every department and thereby coerced into silence.

Deaf returning citizens have led lives of compulsion and necessity within an unforgiving. If not hostile, hate bigots in the environment where Deaf returning citizens are marginalized forever speculated. The oppression on Deaf returning citizens became evident that they were seen and treated as “animals”. Whatever directive it might be, it was wrong to rough them up under any circumstance whatsoever.

Hate speech on them were uncivil and unnecessary. Carl Pramunk asking the Buff and Blue to write about me in a threatening mode would be in full circulation to witness such an escalated level of hate and state of official denial on campus.

As an alumnus, I was mortified. I refuse to accept any behavior and indifference at Gallaudet University. This is a sad situation, which affects deeply all the Deaf returning citizens. They do not need to be visited, looked at, observed, examined, and even sprayed on. They are not animals! Gallaudet University is not a laboratory for hate-motivated behaviors. It is the community of Deaf intellectuals being constantly misinterpreted by the university administration that subscribes to Dwight’s philosophy of oppressing Deaf returning citizens.

Again, they are not animals!

As an archetype, Dwight embodies my life as a dissenter and by depriving my success from reaching a state of intellectual empowerment; Dwight becomes a bureaucratic oppressor at Gallaudet University. Hate crime is the most invisible mode anywhere even Gallaudet University.

To be continued…….

-JT

Copyright @ 2017 Jason Tozier

This text may be freely copied in its entirely only, including this copyright message.

References:

http://greekmythology.wikia.com/wiki/Odysseus

 

 

Scholarship Has Nothing to do with Past Mishaps

1814EF82-0EB9-445D-961D-83A781B07E5E.JPG

I must admit that I was shocked to know that I was awarded. I was very happy that I had been awarded a scholarship for my graduate studies at Gallaudet University. It shows that the scholarship committee had looked at my intellectual potential and ideas, and they wanted me in. My award had nothing to do with my past mishaps, and higher learning always means forgiving and changing. Gandhi: Be the change you wish to see in the world.

It takes one scholar to recognize another one. Winston Churchill said: never, never be satisfied or you will not improve. I do look to build more stories, be they told with wealth and wisdom. Carl Schroeder, a Deaf scholar once told me that I belong to the future of all the Deaf—many generations to come.

Shakespeare in Sonnet 60: Like as the waves makes toward the pebbled shore, so do our minutes hasten to their end; Each changing place within that which goes before, in sequent toil all forwards do contend. The key word in this above passage is “toil”—hard and continuous work. To strive to make yourself understood.

Carol Erting, then Dean of Graduate Programs writes me e-mail:

Dear Jason,

Members of the BIT found the additional information you sent to us, and we forwarded to them, very helpful. On the basis of those additional materials and our conversations with them, a small number of them (perhaps two) would like to meet with you, the circumstances and that led to your lack of disclosure on the graduate application form. Rather than asking you to put this information in writing, they would like to have the opportunity to meet with you to allow you to explain in person. Ms. Karen Evans from the Dean of Student Affairs office will be contacting you to arrange for a meeting. If you have a question, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Couple of hours later, Dirksen writes me e-mail at 5:07 PM,

“Jason, I hope you are doing well. I wanted to clarify that the members of the BIT that you would meet with do not include Ted Baran. I do very much encourage you to follow up on this request and to see this as a positive development. Thank you, Dirksen.” Funny thing…there was never two people, there were SIX. Dirksen lied to me—good job!

Then Feb 27, 2014—I agreed to the meeting at 11 AM as I was arriving on the campus getting ready for the meeting, I walked into the building and informed Karen Evans, the ghostwriter and receptionist for Dwight Benedict that my existence had arrived, I remember waiting for 15 minutes, Ted Baran was walking into the office, he was walking like an asshole by the highest human standards, after discussing with Dirksen, like I wrote in another post, I believe Baran’s accusation of me is a calumny of his duty. Ted will always abuse his power to fulfill selfish personal desires and goals.

Dirksen was walking into the office with long coat and sat next to me on the couch, assuring everything will be fine until I informed him that Ted recently walked into the office and Dirksen pretended to be confused. Good actor. “I thought Ted was not supposed to be in the meeting as you wrote me an e-mail few weeks ago assuring me that Ted would not be there.”

Then Dwight walked into the building and quickly recognized me sitting there with Dirksen on the other side, Dwight’s facial expression was more than a hateful expression. He was so ready to “bulldoze” me with administrative power he enjoys very much as a Deaf white man with privileges. Then Dirksen signed to him, “I thought Ted was not supposed to be in the meeting because Ted made it clear that he will not join the meeting himself two weeks ago” then Dwight became very upset, “Do you want to postpone this meeting for other time?” in a very aggressive tone. He repeated this twice. That was a very nice way of a professional behavior coming from the director of Behavioral Intervention Team. Kind of funny, is it not?

I told Dirksen, “I can handle that. I had been around worst people other than him.” and we went ahead with the plan and entered into the meeting. The only regrettable thing is that I did not bring a lawyer and that was one of my mistakes (I am sure that Ted was laughing right now while reading this post) —two minutes later after the meeting had started, they introduced who they are. Dwight was the first person to start the meeting, he was signing way too fast front of my eyes—his aggressive and egoistical tone showed the true colors. I asked him, “Can you slow down? You were too fast. Geez. Take it easy.” then Dwight signs at much slower pace. What a jerk.

That Dirksen’s words to me, “Individuals who undergo therapy have a much greater chance of changing their live and redeeming themselves in society. This is also recognized on behalf of the BIT.” and a “positive development”. Not only that Dirksen liked to me, but also lied about Ted showing up. Even worse that I was being used and exploited. There were times when there were things worth fighting for but helping the Deans build a bigger endowment on an erratic priority is not worth touting for. Looking at Deaf returning citizens especially at Gallaudet University, I see the same pattern. Gallaudet University lied to me and lied about me. It has informed me that there was no leadership crisis; it has informed me that there was no campus brutality.

All of these lies were lies. There has been no leadership at Gallaudet University with a lame duck president at this time that happened to be Alan Hurwitz. There were some students who had the right to seek higher education at Gallaudet University that do not welcome lies about them, they have instead done everything they can to help Gallaudet community and fight against the oppressors.

The heat continues to turn up at Gallaudet University. The liars need to hold accountable for their self-touting arrogance and indifference. Carl Pramunk said that he would make sure that Buff and Blue would write about me. Ted Baran has zero knowledge about the successful stories about Deaf returning citizens. Like I said in my previous blog post, Ted wanted me to announce my status every time I enter into an academic classroom or I face punishment just like that. Every time! This is bullshit! This calls for cruel punishment as in 8th Amendment in the United States Constitution. Ted was smiling at me and said, “Why not?” and of course, I said, “I refuse to do that. My debt is enough.”

Ted was encouraging for students to begin harassing hatred that inflict or intend to inflict my emotional or physical harm in classrooms or anywhere on the campus. Is it not enough hostility? I was shocked that the “professional development” by professionals like Dwight, Carol, Dirksen, Ted, Carl, and Lauri, completely blind by hateful spews.

The 8th Amendment in United States Constitution, “cruel punishment” and worst of all, Dwight signs, “OK, I am going to make an executive decision that I will make you suffer and follow the rules or else to order me (JT) to report to Ted every [fucking] day and not be allowed to be in gym, dorms, even study groups should I be part of, library that I am forbidden to check out books and study there as a graduate student, and not to grab any food from cafeteria.” I was beyond shocked how mean-spirited and illegal Dwight can be.

There is a Gallaudet “bible” called Manual of Operations where you have the right to obtain this from the office of President. Actually, Paul Kelly hides it. The bible is all about running Gallaudet, ranging from personnel to financing to communication policy. Within the guide from the bible, the student unit fee was distributed to an organization and programs and one of them are Buff and Blue and Carl failed to follow the principle. By threatening to write about me in Buff and Blue, Carl has been coping out. Simply stated, Carl could not articulate and facilitate Buff and Blue through the Administration. The Peter Principle informs Gallaudet students including Deaf returning citizens that Dwight was so advanced to its highest level of competence and remained at this level at which Dwight became incompetent. Now the Administration no longer reliable students’ voice!

Dwight can do is self-touting—an intimate part of ego. I remember Dirksen was sitting next to me on left side in the meeting; I was looking at Dirksen in disbelief along with Dwight agreeing with Carl’s decision when they were supposed to be on my side. I protested against Dwight’s oppressive and hateful approaches, the meeting was adjourned to be done, then we all shook hands. I did not feel very good by shaking Ted’s hands, his hands were too soft and wimp. Ted’s eyes were born from Satan’s forces. That was where I got fooled badly by their lies. The Gallaudet of Evil. I felt powerless. I lost trust in Dirksen and Carol where they betrayed me beyond my human dignity. Every student has a protected status; I face with heavy discrimination as a student already.

My mind was spinning—and realized that I was the subject of an intellectual vulnerable in Gallaudet society. I needed the opportunity with my own space to reclaim and revitalize my human rights to protect my life and allow me to survive and flourish in higher education, so I could advance my future.

To be continued…..

7FE45BD2-877D-4638-9C7B-A5D2486258A9 2.JPG

-JT

Copyright @ 2017 Jason Tozier

This text may be freely copied in its entirely only, including this copyright message.

The Display on the Scaffold

unnamed-1.jpg

Visiting Gallaudet University for the first time. 2010. I was so sure it was my name calling for my career. I was really happy.

After spending 20+ years trying to change my life around, my late mentor Carl Schroeder and I were eating lunch at his house in rural Oregon and once asked me if I was afraid of “change for success”—I said, “Yes” then he said to me, “Do not be afraid. Gallaudet will help you and determined to get healed.” He also said to me “Humiliation will always be present. It is how you handle it makes all the difference.”

Ted Baran, Department of Public Safety Director abused his calumny of his duty by using power. He did not want my letter to get to the public. There were six people involved in the picture to make sure I get punished under the worst harsh conditions possible. I became the target of being pariah on the campus. The same six people, who were supposed to keep it confidential, did not keep their word. It has spread over the campus including my former department, ASL and Deaf Studies. What about The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FEPRA)? Not only that, but Dirksen even shared confidential information with his buddy, Robert Weinstock.

Dwight Benedict, Dean of Student Affairs and Academic Support were the biggest bully of all people. Dwight is the director for Behavioral Intervention Team (BIT) while Ted is the vice president of BIT. They became very successful by blackballing me. I am now in what I would call an intellectual exile. In the meeting, Dwight calls Ted, “a good man.”

One day, Dirksen Bauman, the Chair of ASL/Deaf Studies Department, wrote me e-mail and assured me that Ted will not be in the meeting. I got fooled badly. Carl assured me to trust Dirksen before his death.

Dirksen writes me e-mail on Feb 9, 2012 at 9:54 AM, “JT—I am pleased to see that you will be joining us next year. We are looking forward to having you in the program!” Then I was encouraged to apply for a scholarship and got in touch with Dirksen on Thursday, May 16, 2013 at 1:55 PM. “A friend of mine told me about graduate scholarship fund, so I would like to submit some letters and apply for scholarship please. Thanks!”

The same day at 8:56 PM, Dirksen responded: “Hello JT. Please do let me know of your need. Thank you.”

A minute later, I quickly replied, “Hi Dirksen, where can I send the letter to you?” Four minutes later, Dirksen typed, “Me please.” After I got the letter accepting my application, I wrote him thanking him for his consideration. He said, “You’re welcome” and wrote to people I love the most to let them know about it. My mother and father were delighted to see that! I was feeling good…maybe it was one of the best feelings I ever experienced. It was very rare to see that inside my life. I was really happy.

Then one day, Dirksen asked me to meet up with him in a meeting along with Gene Mirus, a coordinator that time where he looked for me during Graduate Student Orientation and asked me to go with him. Dirksen asked me to withdraw from Gallaudet until further notice. I asked him if my scholarship would be affected. He said, “No” through ASL in a clear message. Boy, I was wrong and it was never safe.

I decided to write e-mail to Dirksen, making sure he kept his word. He writes me e-mail on April 1, 2014 at 7:33 PM, the day of April’s Fool Day. “Hello Jason, I am sure you will be hearing from the Dean soon. Thank you, Dirksen” and I got fooled very badly. It was pretty mean-spirited thing to do. My scholarship was stolen once from my hard and continuous work. The most damaging thing coming from Dirksen on January 20, 2014 at 3:50 PM writing from his office where he often sleeps a lot:

“We thank you for taking the time to meet with Dr. Erting and me last Friday. As we explained, we are working with the Behavior Intervention Team (BIT), with the goal of arriving at a consensus regarding to your admission to the University. We have been meeting and deliberating on this matter and had very positive and constructive meetings. We appreciate your patience; we are fully aware that this is not an easy process for you. We hope that you continue to demonstrate the resolve and determination that you have to this date…Thank you, Dirksen.”

Six people were: Carol Erting, Dean of Graduate Program and Professional Studies, Lauri Rush, Director of Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), Carl Pramuk, Associate Director of Student Conduct, Dirsken, Ted, and Dwight. Six people: Four of them are hearing that are sound-oriented. Audism at best.

Dwight said in the meeting that he understood that I have been walking under the “black cloud”. That was very dehumanizing and offensive. Plantation mentality. Policing me around. Character assassination. Dwight made sure that I appear in a ‘black book’ of shame. The image on the below right side: Remember the book, The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne?

unnamed.jpg

Ted required me to inform people every time I enter into classroom as a student, giving presentation, or anywhere, telling them that I was jailed and tell them the reason every time. Dwight really liked the idea. That calls for suicide on my watch. Dirksen did not object. Carol did not object. Lauri did not object. Carl did not object. They all liked the idea of pushing more for “Scarlet Letter” on my forehead. A public shaming. Evil, revenge, and identity.

I was beyond dismayed. Of course, I objected. What do you expect? Ted said, “Why not?” and realized how much hatred he spewed on front of my face. Top of all, Dwight’s secretary, Karen Evans wrote an e-mail to me in 2014, “Be assured that the meeting will be productive” meaning—positive. Again, I got fooled badly.

My biggest mistake that I did not represent a lawyer with me that day in 2014. I got burned twice. This experience on that day has left me feeling vulnerable and unsure of the safety as a student at Gallaudet University I proudly called my own. Not only that experience makes me question if this is indeed bullying in the meeting. Questionable leadership.

My freedoms were restricted, and I cannot be sure it won’t happen again, and that it won’t happen for any Deaf returned citizens, the next time they apply for Gallaudet University for higher learning. Gallaudet University now feels cold, unwelcoming, and in the beginning stages of a Gallaudet secret bullying ground that is isolating enough from the truth in an unprecedented fashion.

High levels of hate and injustice have been felt in vulnerable stage as a student at Gallaudet University even the rest of Deaf community. Dwight and Ted made it happen with attributes that can be “profiled”—no one is safe from this type of unlawful campus policies.

-JT

Copyright @ 2017 Jason Tozier

This text may be freely copied in its entirely only, including this copyright message.