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May 18, 2004

Ohlone picks deaf dean

From: The Argus - Fremont,CA,USA - May 18, 2004

Administrative officer for the British Columbia School for the Deaf taking over as department head

By Barry Shatzman, CORRESPONDENT

FREMONT -- Ohlone College officials Monday announced the selection of a new Dean of Deaf Studies and Special Services, ending both the search and controversy that came along with it.

During a press conference at the Mission Boulevard campus, Ohlone President Doug Tread-way announced that Joseph McLaughlin will replace outgoing dean Ron Burdett, who will retire at the end of June.

The international search for a new dean ignited a controversy when several deaf students demanded that Burdett's replacement be deaf.

Burdett is the only deaf dean at a U.S. community college.

About half of the 40 applicants for the position were hearing.

School officials had said they could not legally discriminate based on whether a candidate was hearing.

The deaf students formed an organization, Deaf Voice, and a movement they named "Deaf Dean Always." At a rally in March, they waved placards with the slogan "Deaf Dean or Bust."

The controversy died down when Treadway announced students would be part of the final selection process, and both finalists named by the selection committee were deaf.

McLaughlin is currently the administrative officer for the British Columbia School for the Deaf in Burnaby, Canada.

For the past 25 years, he has held academic and administrative positions in deaf studies.

He is also the chairman of Deaf Youth Canada.

After graduating from Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., with a bachelor's degree in psychology, he received a master's degree in education and counseling from the University of British Columbia.

Deaf Voice President John Critzer and Secretary Steve Voll- mar said they were happy with the selection process and final choice.

They also pointed to the organization as something positive that emerged because of the controversy.

"We feel that students have risen to leadership and student morale is higher," Critzer said.

Deaf Voice will continue as an advocacy group for deaf students.

Vollmar said the group will "make sure deaf students' rights aren't taken away," adding that some deaf students aren't aware of the rights they have.

"You have to have some political savvy," Critzer said.

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