How Galluadet University’s students fought for deaf rights and won

EQUITY | In March 1988, Galluadet University students participated in protests to demand a deaf president and other reforms at the school after learning the Board of Trustees appointed a new president who was not deaf. Many believe the campaign, ‘Deaf President Now’, was a catalyzer for the passing of the Americans With Disabilities Act. (Citylab, 4/13)

The story of Deaf President Now has been well documented. Gallaudet was founded in 1864, and for over a century its presidents were white and male and could hear. In 1988, the board of trustees, led by Chairperson Jane Spilman, selected three finalists. Two—I. King Jordan, Gallaudet’s current dean of arts and sciences, and Harvey Corson—were deaf. A third, Elisabeth Zinser, was not. Zinser had significant leadership experience in higher education, but no command of sign language or any real understanding of deaf culture. When she was appointed on March 6th of that year, students marched to the Mayflower Hotel, where the board was holding a press conference, then to the United States Capitol to rally. Student leaders, with ample support from local citizens, chained the gates to the campus shut and issued demands: no reprisals, the resignation of Spilman, the resignation of Zinser, a new board of trustees with a majority deaf population, and a new deaf president.

EDUCATION | A change in how the Loudoun County, VA school system interprets graduation policy has forced many immigrant students to leave school. (LoudounNow, 4/10)

TRANSPORTATION | This morning, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser will sign legislation that will ensure $178 million per year in funding to Metro. (WTOP, 4/13)

WORKFORCEWaiting Tables or Harvesting Food, Why Fair Labor Is Still About Civil Rights (YES!Magazine, 4/10)

PHILANTHROPY | A new report found that one of the biggest barriers to the work of nonprofits and social enterprises are funders. (Chronicle, 4/12 – Subscription needed)

HEALTH | Opinion: We scorned addicts when they were black. It is different now that they are white. (WaPo, 4/12)

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