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March 25, 2003

Deaf community votes 'no confidence' in board

From: Bennington Banner, VT - Mar 25, 2003

BRATTLEBORO (AP) -- Representatives of the deaf say they don't have confidence in the board that governs the Austine School for the Deaf.

They say they have been locked out of the search process for a new president and they've requested that the Vermont Center for the Deaf & Hard of Hearing have a board composed of a deaf majority.

The Vermont Center for the Deaf is an umbrella organization that has served as the governing agency of the Austine School for the Deaf since 1997.

Patrick Schrader resigned as president of the center in January.

"I came today because most of us didn't know anything about the search process to pick a new president," said Michele Miller-Rausch, a middle and high school teacher at Austine.

"We know," said Stephanie Jo Kent, a former interpreter for Austine, "that deaf culture is a collective culture. Deaf people work to build consensus."

She noted that the search process, under way since February, has already been tainted because it has been private.

"Even if the plan you set up involves deaf people, it's already been undermined," she said.

Ryland White, a graduate faculty member at the School for International Training, said a board with a majority of deaf community members would enjoy a number of benefits.

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