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October 11, 2006

Statement by Gallaudet President I King Jordan

From: Gallaudet - Oct 11, 2006

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Mercy Coogan 202-299-6117
October 11, 2006 9:00 p.m.

Statement by Gallaudet President I. King Jordan

“Our paramount consideration has and continues to be the safety of our Gallaudet family. We have shown extraordinary restraint in the face of extreme provocation over the past several weeks. Dissenters who have repeatedly expressed fears for their safety are, in fact, the same people who have been intimidating and harassing anyone who disagrees with them and their demands.

“So far we have avoided confrontation. However, the dissenters keep escalating their outrageous behavior: vandalizing College Hall, taking over Hall Memorial Building keeping students and faculty from classes, labs and mid-term exams. And now they have shut down campus – a campus that is home to college, high school and elementary school students. They have broken many laws.

“Every step of the way, we have attempted to negotiate a peaceful resolution only to have the negotiators and their demands change whenever a solution seemed at hand. Even when we had a signed agreement with the SBG President, they backed out. This afternoon, while claiming to fear the Department of Public Safety (DPS) officers, they marched on the DPS building and issued an ultimatum that either the head of security leave campus or that all campus security must leave.

“Although the last thing we want is to have any one of our Gallaudet family arrested, the dissenters have lawyers advising them about how to respond to police who might arrest them. I urge the faculty, students and staff who have acted unlawfully and with complete disregard for their colleagues and their commitment to the University’s educational mission to stop and think about the serious consequences of what they are doing. Go back to your classes and go about your business, even if that business is lawful dissent. We will address the legitimate issues that are raised.

“Civility, integrity, and truth are victims today, held hostage as much as our beloved campus is. I have been asked why I haven’t used police to end the stand off. It is because I care about the safety of all of our students more than the protestors care about anything but getting their way. This illegal and unlawful behavior must stop. The faculty members who are instigating and manipulating the students have simply gone too far in pursuit of their own agendas. If there is a confrontation, the dissenters will have caused it. They must take full responsibility for the consequences of their actions, including possible suspension and arrest.”

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