If university administrators ever thought students were the least of their worries, then they should think again. The student body at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., a school for the deaf and hearing impaired, shut down the institution for three days last week in protest of its new president.
Students say they feel that newly appointed President Jane K. Fernandes will not represent the deaf community well enough and that they were excluded from the presidential search process.
Thus, by exercising their rights as citizens to protest, they congregated and blockaded the main entrance to the school.
Numerous buses and cars attempted
to muscle through, but the students were unyielding and turned the drivers away using sign language.
Gallaudet has 1,800 undergraduate and graduate students. It’s no easy task to unite the overwhelming majority of a campus and carry out a successful protest. Yet that’s what the Gallaudet students did – they actually shut down the campus. There were no classes and no one could get onto campus without admittance from the protestors and student negotiators.
This event is a tremendous display
of student power. It represents a people who were unhappy with the services they believe they have a right to receive, and they did something about it. This power is relevant on any level; yet for students, we have a right to be satisfied with the quality of service from staff and administration that we pay for. We reserve the right to speak when that service is no longer meeting our needs.
Furthermore, maybe this incident will send a message to university administrations around the country, proving that the student body is a significant force to be reckoned with. Power to the students.