American Sign Language I
24 February 2013
“Deaf President Now” Essay
The Deaf President Now movement in 1988 has been characterized as one of the most significant moments in the history of Deaf people. From March 7-13, 1988, Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. was the site of a historic protest against the appointment of yet another hearing university president. It was early in 1983 when the 4th university president, Dr. Edward C. Merrill, Jr, was stepping down that he himself promoted the idea of a deaf president. The idea didn’t truly catch on until a few years later when a group of faculty and students formed the President's Council on Deafness (PCD), which was an advocacy group who felt that many of the deaf students needs were unable to be met with so many of the university’s administration being hearing. This group, along with many others, both within the university and without, worked tirelessly to make their wishes known to the Board of Trustees who were in charge of the selection process in 1987-1988. Although two of the three finalists for the position were deaf, ultimately the Board decided to go with the one finalist that was hearing, Dr. Elisabeth Zinser.
In today’s world, the fact that a student protest was held is not so surprising. Even then, mainstream America was used to seeing student’s protesting just about anything and everything. The universities and colleges of this country are known to be a place where students can learn about the world and free speech and how to use it in modern society. Some of the most significant civil rights protests of the 20th century may have started off-campus but they caught their momentum on campuses all across America. Most recently, President Obama’s 2008 campaign was significant in that it utilized social media and really spoke to the under-30 population utilizing college-aged idealists to push his message and work the campaign. What made the DPN protest significant was it was the first time...
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