The faculty of Gallaudet College, the nation’s only university for the deaf, voted overwhelmingly this week to demand the resignation of the school’s new president, Jane Fernandes. The vote follows the arrests last week of 133 students during a rowdy anti-Fernandes campus demonstration. Fernandes, who is deaf, favors an emphasis on new technologies for the hearing-impaired to enable them to more easily fit into mainstream, hearing society. There are “many ways of being deaf,” said Fernandes, who did not learn sign language until she was 23. Fernandes’ critics consider her an assimilationist who is not sufficiently committed to preserving the unique culture of the deaf.
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