It has been really difficult day for me because a year ago today, I was clinically dead for ten minutes on the campus of the world’s famous university for Deaf people, Gallaudet University. In the same room where Dwight Benedict was in, he was walking down the aisle with a smirk because he had the hatred towards me—it was really difficult for me to think that way. How can I forget that? It is impossible to forget something like this.
My story must be seen, written, and examined. I grow tired and sick of people telling me to live in PAST. People do not know my life stories what exactly happened. It has been always HEARSAY. People choose to ignore my stories. Especially when a lot of people do not know the facts cannot comprehend what they were listening or do not care what the facts are and make up their own stories.
Do you think it was professional of Dwight to smirk when someone else is dead? Many of faculty members witnessed in that room what Dwight did and would vouch for me whenever I need support. He is still walking around campus with power and the same smirk he carries.
When you see the statue of Laurent Clerc on Gallaudet campus, this is one of the most iconic symbols of America—a beacon of hope and acceptance for Deaf people everywhere. So how did coming to Gallaudet University become a crime? Deaf returning citizens are bad news! Make them suffer! Give them the death stare!
If we look at the history of Dwight Benedict’s bullying tactics for the last 37 years, being “Deaf returning citizen” usually just means being “unwanted” and more often than not, that has to do with ignorance and hatred. There are plenty of widespread insecurities at Gallaudet University. As an intellectual community, we the Deaf now seem to exist in permanent fear of the oblivion in the top university leadership, worrying about whether we can survive Dwight’s leadership.
At the same time, at Gallaudet University, we the Deaf appear uncomfortable with the hatred of Dwight’s leadership. The same leadership, so often the means to our advancement, now finds itself under a cloud of power that it falls under a wrong agenda. Disenchanted with Dwight’s past history yet fearful of our future, why are Deaf people—especially people of color and marginalized group struck in Dwight’s leadership where a mood of fear, hatred and low expectations influence our discussion and discourses on many fronts—where our higher education continues to be seen as the problem rather than the challenge.
I worked extremely hard to change my life around and I made an ultimate goal to be a professor. I even made name tags as a personal identification when I arrived in DC and put it around my neck to remind myself. I was so determined more than anything.
This irrational insight against the grain of oppressed Deaf people on the campus, which teaches that hatred and bullying by Dwight does not lack human compassion. Deaf people in their struggle for social justice—are ignored because Dwight gets away with it. There have been many stories from Kendall Green about Dwight’s 37 years of oppressive leadership. A great many of damages were done, and many Deaf people were hurt.
My constitutional rights has been violated of due process and amounts to Cruel and Unusual Punishment, Eighth Amendment under United States Constitution and Dwight made it very difficult for me to receive higher education and set me up for harassment, public humiliation and bullying long after I served my time.
In February 27, 2014 meeting I was in, the most oppressive meeting ever I experienced in my entire life, he loved the idea very much where his buddy, Ted Baran, Director for DPS whom Dwight calls Ted in the meeting, “Ted is a good man” front of four other people brought up that I must be required to notify my graduate cohort, and walk around the entire Gallaudet campus and must tell everyone why I was jailed for with ugly labeling on my forehead. I was shocked. I already experienced humiliation and harassment at times when I would be at Gallaudet. No doubt, Dwight Benedict opened my old wounds. Dwight and Ted acted as Judge, Jury, and Executioner. The bald faced truth is that they should held accountable.
Even though it has happened 30 years ago, still, I am set up for extreme public shaming and harassment. I had been a good returning citizen more than 20 years and paid no more than $100,000 in counseling and worked very hard to change my life around and graduated with three degrees all with honors even though I had been experiencing thousands and thousands of times being humiliated in my life. I’ve dealt with hearing counselors who do not understand my journey as Deaf person. I realized it was total lie and waste of money and time. Until I found Deaf-centered counseling, I cried and….
Did I deserve “scarlet letter” for the rest of my life? Am I allowed to become a productive member of society? I am really sick of people telling me to live in the past and live with the stigma. Horrible lies about me, making me look really bad and I lost almost everything. It’s really hard for me. I cry. I cry. I cry. I suffer more. I suffer more. I suffer more.
Dr. Pernessa Steele, author of “Stand Up to Stigma: How We Reject Fear and Shame” writes: “Stigma” is a simple two-syllable word, yet it carries the weight of negative and often unfair beliefs that we hold about those who are different from us. Stigmas lock people into stereotyped boxes and deny us all the right to be our authentic and whole selves.
I already had been ostracized from Gallaudet community. Dwight made sure to do more harm than good, with my commitment to turn my life around. I lost my scholarship, I lost my dream job, I lost networking opportunities, I lost pretty much everything and I became the scapegoat on the campus. That is exactly the cruel and unusual punishment. That was the sign of death.
When I woke up on the floor that day, I cried. I still remember being carried out of the room on the emergency stretcher and saw people hand waving at me and I put both of my thumbs letting them know that I’m still strong. Then I was rushed into emergency surgery and carried to an intensive care unit (ICU). The television on right side was turned on—and the presidential election results were still pending.
The worst part was….I was still in extreme shock wondering how I survived from massive heart attack. The election results—did not finalize until 3 AM and became even more heart-broken that Trump was elected. The rises of hate crimes begun. Then I finally fell asleep for only three hours until the nurses woke me up and said, “Time for injections”—my first reaction when I woke up hoping it was only a dream. Only I find it was not a dream. I stayed in the hospital for ten long days. Longest stay in my life.
Do you all remember how you felt when you woke up on November 9th of 2016 morning?
Many people who walked around from Gallaudet University have caught up and suffered in the idea that Dwight thinks he is always right, and that the way Dwight acts is best. But he was wrong in Gallaudet University. What happened with the due process? Why I was not informed with required due process?
Due process means that Gallaudet University cannot give me a serious punishment, like suspension or expulsion, without first having followed fair procedures to determine if I am “bad news”. Fair procedure would include: telling me exactly what I was “bad news”, telling me exactly what the punishment will be, and giving me a chance to tell my side of the story before punishing me. If Gallaudet chooses to punish me, it must punish all others the same. I was never given a chance to do due process. I felt numb.
When I woke up from death, some people who are loyal to Dwight, told me to shut up and stay in silence. Right now Dwight is walking around freely with a smirk and will not apologize for his actions what he had done. It was the most incompetent decision Gallaudet University chooses to keep Dwight in his office. I was targeted by Dwight’s openly discriminatory policies and the discriminatory policies will be always remembered for abuse of power and corruption on the wrong side of professionalism.
For the last 365 days since my death, I wonder if I actually die, the truth would not be seen.
On November 8, 2016, in SAC 1011, the event, “Deaf in Prison Screening & Discussion” sponsored by Gallaudet ASL & Deaf Studies, the very same department I was part of which was very ironic, and the reason they sponsored this because Dirksen Bauman wanted to do this to cover his ass. Complete bullshit. I asked a question for the audience that will be always remembered for long time, “Why Gallaudet University promote FEAR targeting Deaf returning citizens?” and Dwight was in the same room standing in the back giving me a death stare and that was where I had massive heart attack. Dwight was walking down the aisle—slowly and a smirk. Cool, huh?
My death experience has made me stronger than ever. I recently learned that there has been some “talk” around Gallaudet campus that Dwight might retire early—well, there is no way he would walk away with it. My death does not give him full satisfaction and sit in the sun with a smirk. Will Dwight ever experience death for ten minutes and wake up and realize that he is asshole? It was all about personal attack against me as a motivation to new heights of fervor. Master Yoda said: “Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”
Copyright © 2017 Jason Tozier
This text may be freely copied in its entirely only, including this copyright message.
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:
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…..
Copyright @ 2017 Jason Tozier
This text may be freely copied in its entirely only, including this copyright message.
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?
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.
Copyright @ 2017 Jason Tozier
This text may be freely copied in its entirely only, including this copyright message.