Concern About Rep. Tom Cole as Gallaudet Commencement Speaker

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Dear Gallaudet Community:

While I also am aware about members of our community are gravely concerned about Rep. Okla.—Mr. Tom Cole as the Commencement speaker. That is the very important line and yet, Gallaudet University chose to ignore and disrespect graduating students’ safety. It is reported that there are plenty of Deaf graduating students who are still hurting either formal and informal settings. The future of Gallaudet depends on graduating students. President Roberta “Bobbi” Cordano was in charge.

Deaf graduating students are our number one priority. They had lost faith in Gallaudet’s ability to lead the university, and where is exactly the respect from Deaf graduating students? Where is the leadership change of this magnitude that has been deeply felt across Gallaudet campus? It also affects alumni and alumnus, too because they were once students and understood the governing board to remain committed to the success of Deaf students, to the face of Gallaudet University.

The selection of Mr. Tom Cole, R-Oklahoma, is a poorly choice. It does not even meet the values of Gallaudet University. Is it losing its ground to understand the magnitude problem of hate crime and hate speech? When Mr. Tom Cole said that he was not very concerned with the appointment of Steve Bannon in the White House, and that was something to be concerned of. The biggest question on the meaning of higher learning—not higher learning, as we know at Gallaudet University, but our own learning.

That raises a concern that Gallaudet University went ahead and put their self-interest ahead of the Deaf graduating students, and engaging in conduct that affects Gallaudet University’s reputation, and had been misled the Deaf graduating students to a false hope.

We need to remind ourselves that Deaf graduating students comes first before the selection of Mr. Tom Cole, had led lives of necessity with an unforgiving, if not hostile, political and hearing social hierarchy in the environment is a big social problem and does not meet the values of Gallaudet University.

Whatever directive it might be, it was wrong of Gallaudet University to ignore Deaf graduating students under any circumstance whatsoever. What is the professionalism with these people, entrusted with private money, that they did not respect their feelings?

“One of the most difficult issues for the victims of hate crimes is wondering how widespread the bigotry is. How many of the other people on the block want them to leave the neighborhood? How many other students on campus resent their presence?”—Jack Levin and Jack McDevitt, Hate Crimes Revisited: America’s War on Those Who are Different 

It is clearly showing poor performance and be done with it, in a dizzying tumble of words about Deaf graduating students’ objection that has left the Gallaudet University community uncovered, something such as a leadership is missing—the bottom line is that Deaf graduating students had to listen with a knot with fear in their stomach. Generally the Gallaudet administration was highly hostile toward Deaf soon to be graduates, and pain on the campus is not even funny. It is painful!

While the selection of Mr. Tom Cole, R-Oklahoma who failed miserly to stop the white supremacy in the White House, the hate crimes had been highly recorded than ever, and the numbers of hate crime incidents does not lie, and those Deaf graduating students who protested the selection of Mr. Cole was so important to the university it represented academic freedom, and it is now becoming a central theme in the history of Gallaudet University graduation inviting a congressman who did not support the idea and did not vote YES in 2009 for H.R. 1913: Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act:

The passage of the Hate Crimes Prevention Act (H.R. 1913) would expand the federal hate crimes law to include crimes that are based on sexual orientation, gender, or physical or mental disability.”

No wonder why Gallaudet University fails to be hate-free campus. What if one of those Deaf graduating students end up as a survivor of federal hate crime that is often forgotten, marginalized, under-reported and swept under the rug? It starts with community accountability at Gallaudet University. The stories of invisible hate crimes are once again reverberating throughout Gallaudet campus.

Did Gallaudet University fail to recognize the problem of hate crime and ignore the implementation efforts to support students, stimulate learning and awareness, and promote inclusion and intercultural knowledge and experience about diversity and cultural differences and how to be fully knowledge about the magnitude social problem of hate crime in America?

When Mr. Tom Cole as inviting Commencement speaker failed to acknowledge the painful stories of Deaf people who would feel painful and violated and support the idea not to prosecute attackers for federal hate crime starts with his leadership and that affects Gallaudet University’s reputation:

“Media attention may also have educated a growing number of people about the occurrence and character of hate crimes.”—Jack Levin and Jack McDevitt, Hate Crimes Revisited: America’s War on Those Who are Different 

It is necessary for Gallaudet University; It is necessary for Gallaudet community; It is necessary for the quality of Deaf graduating students;

-JT

Copyright © 2019 Jason Tozier

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

References:

https://www.thenewamerican.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=38&Itemid=828&nameid=C001053

http://www.ontheissues.org/House/Tom_Cole.htm

 

 

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#GallaudetSolidarity: White Fragility?

#GallaudetSolidarity was a powerful event showing that Gallaudet University have serious problem.

Allegory of Deaf Returnees: The Opposite of Hate

 

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After watching ACLU video about the treatment of imprisoned Deaf and Deaf returnees in Georgia, I understood the pain myself. We must understand that the law requires humane treatment of Deaf prisoners. When I was jailed almost 25 years ago, I was placed what was called pod known as C-2. It housed around 50, 60 inmates. Only 15 beds were offered, so the majority of inmates slept on the floor. I was 21 years old that time. Now I am 43 years old.

The first 15 minutes of living in jail system, I got in huge fight with three big inmates who were calling me names and placing death threats, and broke my hand. I was given aspirin for it. Nothing else. I had to be forced and learned how to toughen it up.

I remember I asked for ASL interpreter, written down on note, and it was rightfully violated—as I remember one of the jail staff, knew that I was Deaf, and became the target of harassing through shame and shaming even attempts at shaming more. It was nothing but a shame revival as a force.

Once I was thrown into a solitary confinement known as “hole” for 72 hours just for protecting a Deaf inmate. I stood strong while I was in there. How did it happen? Inmates from C-2 were given one hour to play table pool, and this Deaf inmate was standing on red line where people were not supposed to stand there.

He could not understand what jail staff were talking to him and forced him to lip-read, then I walked up to him and explained to him in ASL, then one of the jail staff, happened to be the same officer who were targeting me, roughed me up against the wall to mind my own business. Other inmates did not like that what they saw and they were on my side. Then I was thrown into hole.

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Then later, I became very sick for nine days and asked to see nurse also I also asked for ASL interpreter, of course, denied as usual. The nurse gave me aspirin and water. My temp was 104 degrees. The treatment of Deaf prisoners exists.

While I was very sick, I had to survive myself. All I had to drink Kool-Aid and could not able to eat much for the last nine days, even though there were few inmates who came up to me and gave up their Kool-Aid out of respect and they knew that I was damn sick as fuck.

Finally, I felt better after nine long brutal days, then about few weeks before my release, I fought for my rights to get captions on TV, it took me many months to fight and won. That morning, there were two men from jail staff came in and installed captions there, I was standing there smiling and other inmates looked at me, “Right on!” and later, I was chosen to be a trustee in C-2 cleaning, serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and messenger for inmates before my release.

I had very difficult time getting access to TTY—only that I must wait until after 5 PM, but my lawyer’s office closes at 5 PM. They said to me, “Fuck off” and deal with it. When I use TTY, a jail staffer would stand next to me and read what I type. Seriously. Word for word.

Then the hardest part: the brutal treatment of Deaf returnee in society. Eight years on probation, like I wrote in other post, around 97% of time, I was denied for ASL interpreter, only if it is emergency meetings, or polygraph tests.

I was forced to write down on notes, and lip-read—if I do not comply or cooperate with probation officials, I was warned with eight years in prison is on thin ice for me if I do not comply. Writing about my experience became at stroke of a pen that we all know that pen is mightier than sword.

As a Deaf returnee in the making, I had been the biggest target of an online bullying campaign that they wanted to derail me badly, crashing my livelihood, and mental stability by the personal attacks. Shame is not healthy, it is a targeted emotion, which makes Deaf returnees challenging. Is the society on the full scale of anger? Encouraging culture of fear would solve solution? We need to understand the core of shaming.

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Right before deadly heart attack at Gallaudet University on November 8, 2016: the most important question in the history of Gallaudet, I asked in the front audience will be always forever remembered. Room 1011. The question, “Why did Gallaudet University encourage fear targeting Deaf returnees?” then I was dead for ten minutes. They do not want the public to know the truth. I am a living testimony of personal shame and humiliation. Will the living of testimony of support happen? The history of Gallaudet is famous for bullying, shaming, and ostracized.

Flash. Flash. Flash. Then I came back to life. I challenge scholars themselves to be educated about how to define shaming itself, and particularly about whether to emphasize my experience of shame in my own journey. The treatment of Deaf returnees exists. Bashing does not work. Love is what is most important right now. Hate is not.

Yes, Gallaudet University will be always a hate-crime, hate-speech, and hate-literature campus. How can we improve the treatment of Deaf returnees at Gallaudet University? Department of ASL/Deaf Studies comes in many forms, and it is surprising how much of shaming practices from the department bringing an army of trolls causing real psychological damage. Where is the opening examination of shaming?

-JT

Copyright © 2018 Jason Tozier

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

 

 

 

DPN 30th: Unseen Hero

30 years ago, Deaf President Now (DPN) has changed the faces of Gallaudet University forever. The stories and pictures must be seen for an unseen hero that had inspired many students. Being radical is a good thing to advocate a social change for Deaf-centered Gallaudet University.