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January 16, 2007

Report Blames Gallaudet U. Students, Officials, and Police for Confrontation Last Fall

From: Chronicle of Higher Education - USA - Jan 16, 2007

Campus police officers, administrators, and students at Gallaudet University share the blame for a confrontation last fall at the university for the deaf that led to the arrest of 133 students and to accusations of police brutality, according to an external report described by the Associated Press. The report was compiled by a group led by Eric H. Holder Jr., a former U.S. deputy attorney general who is now a private lawyer.

Among other findings, the report said the students bore some blame for staging a campus takeover as part of their efforts to overturn the appointment of a new president at Gallaudet. But the report also said that the police officers involved in the confrontation were inadequately trained to deal with deaf students. A lack of communication between them only exacerbated the turmoil, the report said, urging that sign-language interpreters accompany police officers at Gallaudet and that more deaf officers be hired to the police force.

Two weeks after the confrontation, the university’s Board of Trustees rescinded its appointment of Jane K. Fernandes to serve as president. The action, which followed months of protests by students, faculty members, and alumni, ended the campus confrontation, but Gallaudet has since said it plans to punish some of the students who took part in the campus takeover.

© 2007 by The Chronicle of Higher Education