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February 7, 2007

Gallaudet Won’t Punish Arrested Protesters

From: New York Times - New York,NY,USA - Feb 7, 2007

Published: February 7, 2007

Gallaudet University said yesterday that it would not take disciplinary action against students arrested in protests that forced the ouster of its chosen president last October.

“No student who was arrested will receive additional punishment in any way or form,” said Robert R. Davila, the university’s interim president, in a video message posted yesterday on the university’s Web site.

But those students might face job-related consequences if they work at the Clerc Center, where Gallaudet helps develop teaching strategies for deaf children, said Mercy H. Coogan, a university spokeswoman.

Mr. Davila’s announcement also does not preclude the possibility of university-related sanctions against students who might have been involved in the protests and were not arrested, Ms. Coogan said.

Gallaudet trustees named Mr. Davila interim president in December after revoking their selection of Jane K. Fernandes as president. The appointment of Ms. Fernandes last spring set off months of protests from students and alumni who complained that she lacked leadership ability and did not support the primacy of American Sign Language at Gallaudet and in deaf culture.

Upon his appointment, Mr. Davila promised immediate efforts at reconciling the 1,900-student campus. Yesterday, in a videotaped meeting with Gallaudet alumni leaders in Salt Lake City, Mr. Davila said the students arrested “have already had an experience that they will always remember, and that’s enough.”

© 2007 The New York Times Company